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How much compensation can i claim for a Boat Accident?

By Mark Ainsdale. Last Updated 1st April 2021. Welcome to our guide on boat accident claims. Boating and marine accidents can vary in severity and each is unique in the circumstances surrounding the accident and resulting injuries etc, and the impact a boating accident can have on people’s lives can be very different.

Boat accident

Boat accident

Each year, statistics show that as many as 47,000 people are involved in some sort of boating or marine accident in Europe each year. Resulting injuries can be fairly mild to very serious or even fatal.

Crew and passengers are all at possible risk of being involved in some sort of boating accident. Crew are generally advised to go through ‘accident at work’ procedures if they need to make any boat injury compensation claims so that their claim is completely relevant and adapted to give them the best possible outcome. Passengers can make a personal injury boat accident claim against those liable for their own personal situation.

At Legal Expert, our personal injury solicitors have years of experience in making boat accident compensation claims and can help you to claim personal injury compensation for yourself or a loved one if you’ve suffered an injury and get you the compensation award you deserve after any accidents on boats.

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A Guide to Boat Accident Claims

If you or someone you love has sustained an injury caused by a boating accident that wasn’t yours or their fault, then our panel of solicitors at Legal Expert can help you. We look into all the various avenues of making a claim that is relevant to your case and if we believe that you have a legitimate claim then we can represent you on a No Win No Fee basis.

For us to successfully represent you, unlike traditional road traffic accident claims, your accident or loved one’s accident or fatality needs to have happened in surrounding UK waters also including rivers, waterways, lakes and inshore waters. If you decide to contact us, we can give professional advice on the next steps you should take if you wish to file a boating accident lawsuit.

Boat accident compensation claims can be very complex and often a long process. Our guide will help to answer some of the questions you may have, and if after reading our guide you’d like further advice, please feel free to contact us.

Common Accidents on Yachts and Small Boats

There are many potential accidents that can occur whilst on a yacht or small boat including canal boats which can lead to injury and unfortunately even death. Accidents that tend to be the most common on boats are:

  • Capsizing – This is when a boat turns on its side or upside down and can be caused by a variety of reasons. Capsizing often results in people falling overboard and also being trapped and possibly drowning.
  • Falling overboard – Again, this could happen due to a variety of different reasons but can gave severe consequences.
  • Collisions due to poor attention or inexperience.

Accidents on small boats can happen within a split second and can have terrible consequences. Everyone on board should wear a life jacket at all times and be aware of current surroundings and other waterways users.

Common Accidents on Larger Boats

All of the above are potential accidents waiting to happen if care is not taken. However, on larger vessels there are also other more common accidents that can and do occur, such as:

  • Slip, trips and falls – With increased volume of people and items on the boat or ship, these types of hazards are very common and can cause a variety of injuries such as bruising, fractures and brakes.
  • Falling objects – Often the larger boats and ships whether a passenger boat or commercial boat, will have stacking areas such as for shop / restaurant goods or freight.
  • Illness – With a larger volume of people on a boat / ship, the chances of illnesses such as sickness bugs or food poisoning for example, are greatly increased.

Boat / ship owners need to have relevant health and safety procedures that are adequate in place in order to take every possible precaution to prevent any types of accidents happening to their crew members and passengers. Adequate training also needs to be given in order to ensure the policies are followed correctly. If any problems occur, it could pave the way for boat accident claims.

Common Causes of Boat Insurance Claims and Accidents

There are many possible causes of boat insurance claims and accidents such as poor weather conditions that couldn’t be avoided, sea / water conditions, or third party people causing the accident.

Although many accidents that can occur whilst on a boat, be it a small sailing boat, or a larger vessel such as a cruise ship, can happen regardless of following and taking health and safety precautions, some accidents can be caused by basic reckless behaviour. Boat accident no insurance claims are fairly common due to this fact.

Equipment failures are a common cause of boating accidents. Granted, equipment failures can still happen even when they have been checked regularly, however, most equipment failures are due to insufficient and irregular checks where potential problems could have been addressed and corrected.

More commonly on smaller boats, yachts and canal boats, alcohol consumption can lead to the operator being incompetent to operate and safely sail much the same as it can affect a person’s ability to drive a vehicle safely. Even though the operator may not be considered ‘drunk’, alcohol consumption of considerable volume will put the operator and other people at considerable risk.

Ignoring hazards and sailing in bad weather is another common cause of boating accidents.
Reckless behaviour such as ignoring safety rules and regulations, speeding, and general unawareness or concern for their own and other people’s safety can lead to many potential accidents resulting in serious injury or even death.

If any of the above are contributing factors or the sole cause of a boating accident causing injury or death, insurance policies will be void. For any boat insurance claims advice, please contact us at Legal Expert and we can help with your boat accident no insurance claim enquiries.

What should you do if you are involved in a boating accident?

Firstly, if you, or a loved one, are involved in a boating accident, the accident should be reported straight away. Although it isn’t a legal requirement to report ‘pleasure vessel’ accidents, it is encouraged. Any accidents in UK waters should be reported to the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB).

Have any injuries checked and treated by a medical professional. Apart from the fact that this is important for your health, a medical report will be written up which will document your injuries and treatment recommendations that can be used as evidence.

Look to get witness contact details, and ask if they agree with you that the accident was not your fault and if they’d be willing to make statement to back up your claim.

Take any photos if you possibly can of where and even how the accident took place if you are able. Or ask to have a copy of any CCTV that may have recorded the accident taking place or of the time leading up to the accident. This can be really helpful in proving who is liable in a boating accident. Also be sure to take photos of any injuries sustained as a direct result of your accident as this gives visual proof of your pain and suffering.

Keep records of any extra expenses incurred due to the accident and your injuries such as transport to hospital receipts, prescription costs, or counselling costs etc.

Contact Legal Expert for help and advice on what steps to take next to ensure you make successful boat accident claims for compensation.

Who is Liable in a Boating Accident?

Proving who is liable in a boating accident isn’t necessarily always straight forward. The boat owner is liable for any health and safety aspects of the boat, equipment checks, training of staff if a larger vessel and the general running of it. However, it can become complicated, for example, if health and safety policies and adequate training schedules are in place, but the operator of the boat does something in breach of regulations that causes an accident despite being sufficiently trained etc. then it can be tricky in proving liability.

Legal Expert have years of experience in dealing with such cases and will use their experience and expertise to establish who is liable to get the best chance of having a successful claim, as until proof of liability is established, a compensation claim will not be successful.

I work on a boat, can I make a claim for compensation?

Crew members on a boat have as much right as passengers to make boat accident compensation claims if they have been injured due to an accident that wasn’t their fault. However, it is usually advised to make a compensation claim through the ‘accident at work’ avenue as this route will be more relevant to their circumstances and so more likely give a successful result in gaining the maximum compensation award that they are entitled to. Contact us at Legal Expert for more advice on claiming compensation for a boating accident as a crew member.

What can you claim for in a personal injury boat accident claim?

There are a number of items that you should be sure to include when making boat accident compensation claims, such as:

  • General Damages – These cover things such as the pain and suffering you have and are suffering as direct result of the accident, the impact it has had on your life and any ongoing concerns that you are faced with as a result of your injury.
  • Medical Expenses – Any extra costs incurred as a direct result of your accident and injury should be included. This may include prescription fees or counselling costs etc.
  • Care Claim – Anyone who has had to take time out of their own life to help take care of you due to the extent of your injuries, can also make a claim alongside yours to claim back any lost income and also to claim for any emotional distress they have suffered due to your accident.
  • Travel Expenses – As well as covering any extra travel costs that are of direct consequence of your accident such as travelling to hospital appointments for example will be covered. But also, if your vehicle has had to undergo any adaptions to cater for your injuries, these will also be covered.
  • Loss of earnings – Any income lost or expected future income loss can be included in your claim.
  • Funeral Costs – If it is a loved one that had a boating accident and lost their life, you can claim for their funeral costs.
  • Bereavement Award – Again, if a loved one has lost their life due to a boating accident, you can receive compensation via boat accident claims for the emotional pain and suffering of loved ones they leave behind.

How much can I claim for a boat accident?

Unfortunately due to the huge variety of possible boating accidents and potential outcomes, we cannot give a definitive answer to this question as one person’s claim can be hugely different to another’s, even if the circumstances are similar.

However, we have drawn up a table of average compensation payout amounts for common injuries that can be associated with boating accidents.

Reason for CompensationAverage Payout AmountComments
Mental anguish£4,380For suffering due to fearing death and expecting end of life is imminent.
Pain and suffering£1,000 - £200,000The amount that gets awarded will reflect the amount of pain and suffering endured by the claimant.
Minor head injury£2,070 - £11,980Temporary damage to the head that doesn't result in any damage to the brain.
Moderate head injury£14,380 - £205,580Some permanent brain damage that has a lasting effect on motor function skills and personality.
Severe head injury / Very severe brain damage£264,650 - £379,100Permanent brain damage that severely limits quality of life and life expectancy. The amount awarded will depend on how severe the damage is such as if there’s any communication or understanding of their surroundings and how physically limited they are.
Spinal Injury Quadriplegic (Paralysis)£304,630 - £379,100Spinal cord injury that is very severe with permanent disability and ongoing pain.
Spinal Injury Paraplegic (Paralysis)£205,580 - £266,740Spinal cord injury, still severe but less so than above.
Severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)£56,180 - £94,470This relates to the impact the accident has had on the claimants mental well being and unable to cope and function with day to day activities like they could before the accident.
Minor back injury£2,300 - £11,730Temporary damage and short term pain.
Moderate back injury£26,050 - £36,390Damage to the back that causes long term pain.
Severe back injury£85,470 - £151,070Permanent damage to the back causing disability with ongoing pain and suffering.
Severe Leg Injuries£36,790 - £51,460Severe and complex fractures and breaks or any injury to bone and tissue that requires ongoing extensive treatment. Arthritis developing at a later stage is a real possibility and permanent scarring is evident.
Moderate to Minor Leg Injuries£11,110 - £36,790Less complex or simple breaks, fractures or soft tissue damage to the leg where full eventual recovery is expected.
Loss of earnings£10,000 - £400,000Any income lost or any future income lost will be included.

Don’t be alarmed if your injury is not listed, these are just a few of the injuries that could possibly be sustained in a boating accident. Give us a call at Legal Expert for more help and advice.

No Win No Fee Boat Accident Compensation Claims

Our panel of solicitors at Legal Expert work on a No Win No Fee basis. What this essentially means is that we do not ask you for payment of our fee if we do not win your case for you. This way, we feel, allows everyone access to claiming for the compensation they deserve regardless of their current financial situation.

We understand that legal costs can mount up especially if the claiming process takes some time to reach the end, and without any guarantee of a win, no matter how strong a case is, if we were to charge as we go and expect payment regardless of the outcome, this could leave our clients open to potential financial ruin. We care about our clients and would hate to see that happen. Therefore we are No Win No Fee solicitors so that there is no gamble for our clients, and also, it often gives our clients extra assurance that we’ll do our best for them as after all, if we don’t win, we don’t get paid.

So what happens if we (and we will endeavour to) win? Again, there is no pull on your current finances, we simply take a small percentage of your compensation award when you receive your payout.

With Legal Expert and our No Win No Fee policy, there is no gamble of your finances and only again to be had.

How Legal Expert can help you make a boat accident compensation claim

If you or a loved one has sustained an injury due to a boating accident that wasn’t your fault and would like us at Legal Expert to help you to claim compensation for your pain and suffering, just give us a call for free about any boat accident claims on 0800 073 8804.

A member of our professional team will answer your call and can book you in for a free consultancy session. During this session, you can ask as many questions as you wish regarding making your compensation claim and what it involves and anything else you may want to know about the claiming process or even about us as a personal injury claims firm.

We will also use this session to ask initial questions about your accident and injury and gather some facts from you surrounding your case. If we believe you have an eligible case for making a compensation claim, with your consent, we can start the proceedings of making your claim on your behalf. We may also offer you a free local medical if we feel it could help to strengthen your case, but of course, this would be discussed beforehand.

It really is as simple as that to get the ball rolling! We will then work hard behind the scenes to get you the compensation award that you deserve.

Why choose us for your accident claim?

Legal Expert is a team of friendly, professional and very experienced team of solicitors and we have specialised in the personal injury claims industry for a number of years. We have a fantastic track record for successful compensation claims, often securing the maximum payout amount possible for our clients.

We work really hard behind the scenes gathering information and evidence to build a strong case on your behalf and although we will keep you informed every step of the way, we won’t be bothersome to you in any way as we believe that you need time to concentrate on your recovery and not have to worry about your claim, we do that for you!

We are very open and honest and will happily answer any concerns you may have as best we can so that you can relax and not worry unnecessarily.

We really do want the best for our clients and try to work as quickly and as efficiently as we can in order to get the best possible compensation award we can for you.

Useful Links

Reporting a marine accident guide

This site tells you all you need to know about reporting a boating or marine accident such as who to report to, what to report and who should make the report etc.

Marine Accident Investigation Branch

This is the site for the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) and explains all about who they are and what they do.

Cruise ship accident claims guide

This is another guide written by Legal Expert to give information on claiming compensation if you have been involved in an accident causing injury on a cruise ship.

Boat Accident Claims FAQs

Who is liable for a boating accident?

The driver or owner of the boat has to accept liability in the event of an accident.

What is the first thing you should do after a boating accident?

Make sure you or anyone else in jeopardy receives medical attention and to help anyone who may have fallen into the water.

How do you recover from a boat accident?

Ensure you get medical treatment, then speak with the coast guard and gather evidence for a potential claim.

How long can I make a claim after an accident?

You can claim up for to three years after the accident takes place.

Will homeowners insurance cover a boating accident?

This usually only applies to small boats, such as canoes.

Will boat insurance cover a blown engine?

This applies under certain situations, but you should check with the insurance company when you first agree to the policy.

What circumstances require you to report a boating accident?

Scenarios include extensive damage costing four figures, losing a vessel or the death of any passenger.

What should you do immediately if a boat motor catches fire?

You must shut off the fuel supply as soon as possible and aim the fire extinguisher at the fire itself.

Thank you for reading our guide on boat accident claims.

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