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How To Claim For A Boat Accident | No Win No Fee Lawyers

By Jo Greenwood. Last Updated 14th June 2024. If you’ve suffered an injury in a boat accident, you naturally may be looking for a lawyer to help you make a personal injury claim. If so, you’ve come to the right place.

Regardless of whether you’ve had an accident on a cruise boat, a yacht or a sailing boat, we can help. Our No Win No Fee solicitors are well-versed in the personal injury claims process and have successfully helped thousands of clients.

To get a free case check today, you can speak with us now by:

Boat accident

How to claim compensation for an accident on a boat

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Can I Claim Compensation For A Boat Accident?

If you have suffered an injury in an accident on a boat, you may be eligible to make a personal injury claim. However, you would need to ensure that your case meets the following criteria:

  1.  A relevant third party must have owed you a duty of care.
  2. This duty of care was breached.
  3. Due to this, you suffered an injury.

All boat operators owe a duty of care to take all the necessary and reasonable steps to ensure your safety whilst you are aboard that boat as a passenger. For example, they could perform regular risk assessments to enforce their duty of care. If you can prove that you suffered a physical or psychological injury due to a boat operator breaching their duty of care, you may be eligible to make a claim for compensation.

If you meet the above criteria, you must also ensure you start your claim within the relevant limitation period. The Limitation Act 1980 states that you will generally have three years to start your personal injury claim from the date of the boat accident. However, there may be some exceptions to this time limit.

To learn what the exceptions to this 3-year time limit are, you can contact our advisors. They can also inform you whether they think you are eligible to make a personal injury claim.

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.

Examples Of An Accident On A Cruise Boat

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.

What To Do If Involved In A Boat Accident

The first thing to do after a boating accident is to report the accident to the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB). While not a legal requirement to report accidents involving pleasure vessels, it is encouraged.

We have also compiled this list of evidence you could collect to support your claim:

  • Seek medical attention for your injuries. While your health is the primary concern, the medical records produced by this treatment, such as copies of x-rays or blood tests, will be very useful in showing the extent of your injuries.
  • Take photographs of your injuries, the boats involved in the accident or the cause of the accident if you are able.
  • Following a ferry accident, or an accident with another type of commercial watercraft, it is likely there were CCTV cameras on board. If such footage is available to you, you can request a copy of this.
  • Anyone who saw the accident take place, either as another passenger or someone ashore, could provide a witness statement. Be sure to take down their contact information.

Gathering evidence is something one of our highly experienced boat accident lawyers could help you with. In addition to helping you compile a thorough body of supporting evidence, a boating accident lawyer will ensure your claim is brought within the relevant time limit.

To find out if you are eligible to work with one of our highly experienced personal injury solicitors, call our advisory team for a free assessment today.

I Had An Accident Working On A Boat – Can I Claim?

Every employer owes a duty of care to their employees, as stated under the Health and Safety at Work etc.Act 1974. Per their duty of care, they must take reasonable and practicable steps to ensure the safety of their employees whilst they are in the workplace and performing work-related duties. Some examples of ways your employer could enforce their duty of care include:

  •       Providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) where appropriate.
  •       Ensuring their staff have received efficient training.
  •       Performing regular risk assessments and maintenance checks.

If you suffer injuries in a boat accident whilst working on said boat due to your employer breaching their duty of care, you may be eligible to make an accident at work claim.

You can contact our advisors today if you have been involved in an accident on a boat to see if you could be eligible to make a personal injury claim. They can also offer you free advice and answer your questions.

Compensation Payouts In Boat Accident Claims

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.

If you make a successful boat accident compensation claim in the UK, you could be awarded compensation that covers both your suffering and your financial losses. Compensation awarded under the general damages head of claim is to cover the pain and suffering caused by the boat accident. For any financial losses linked to your suffering, you could be awarded special damages.

When working out a value for the general damages head of claim those responsible for doing so would revert to any medical evidence you have along with possibly a publication from the Judicial College known as the JCG. This publication lists many injuries and illnesses that are aligned with compensation guideline brackets. Some of which we have included in the table you can see below. Please note that the very top entry has not been taken from the JCG, and although the other brackets have they are merely guidelines.

Injury Average Payout Amount Comments
Multiple Severe Injuries And Special Damages Up to £1,000,000+ Multiple severe injuries alongside financial losses, such as the cost of a mobility aid or lost earnings.
Head/Brain injuries (Moderate) (i) £150,110 to £219,070 With moderate to severe intellectual impairment. Would impact personality, and speech, as well as other senses, and would likely have no prospect of employment and a significant risk of epilepsy.
Leg Injuries (Serious) (iii) £39,200 to £54,830 Serious comminuted or compound fractures or joint injuries that result in instability, prolonged treatment and likely that arthritis will ensue.
Knee injuries (Severe) (ii) £52,120 to £69,730 Leg fractures that extend into the knee and have severe consequences in terms of disability and risk of athroplasty.
Shoulder injuries (Severe) £19,200 to £48,030 Often associated with neck injuries with severe damage to the brachial plexus. Would lead to significant disability.
Arm injuries (Less Severe) £19,200 to £39,170 While there have been significant disabilities, there will have been significant recovery or one is expected.
Arm injuries (d) £6,610 to £19,200 Simple forearm fractures.
Elbow injuries (Less Severe) £15,650 to £32,010 Elbow function is impaired but does not result in a significant disability or require major surgery.
Ankle injuries (Moderate) £13,740 to £26,590 Ligamentous tears, fractures and the like that make it difficult to walk on uneven ground and walk/stand for long periods.
Foot injuries (Moderate) £13,740 to £24,990 A permanent deformity due to displaced metatarsal fractures.

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.

Special Damages

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

  • 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.

Can I Claim On A No Win No Fee Basis?

If you were injured in a boating accident caused by someone else breaching their duty of care, you might be wondering how a solicitor could help you if you have an eligible claim. Our expert personal injury solicitors could help you through a number of areas of your claim, including gathering evidence and explaining legal jargon.

Our team also work on a No Win No Fee basis by offering their clients a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). Under a CFA, you generally aren’t required to pay any upfront or ongoing fees to your solicitor for their work on your boat accident claim. Plus, if your compensation claim fails, your solicitor won’t take a fee for their services.

If your claim succeeds, then your solicitor will take a success fee. This fee is a small percentage of your compensation, though the percentage is limited by law.  The legal cap helps to make sure that you get to keep a larger share of what you receive.

Contact Us

If you’d like to find out about how a solicitor could help you claim boat accident compensation, contact our team of advisors today. If they find your claim to be valid, they may connect you with one of our expert solicitors. To get started:

Learn More About Personal Injury Claims

If you’d like to learn more about personal injury claims, check out the resources below:

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    • Patrick Mallon

      Patrick is a Grade A solicitor having qualified in 2005. He's an an expert in accident at work and public liability claims and is currently our head of the EL/PL department. Get in touch today for free to see how we can help you.

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