If you or a member of your family have been injured at sea on board a cruise ship or yacht, or while scuba diving, we can help. Our No Win, No Fee solicitors can help you with your claim for compensation. Simply call us on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online.


Our specialist accident at sea claims team can provide expert advice on claiming compensation whether you were working on board a ship or simply on holiday.

If you were travelling on a ship, or any other form of seafarer, and suffered injury or illness you may be able to make a claim. The incident could have taken place on board, or while you were embarking or disembarking. Our specialist lawyers will be able to assist you in recovering the compensation you’re entitled to.

Accident at sea claims - what can be claimed?

Knowing whether you may have a viable compensation claim can be difficult, so it’s important to seek expert legal advice as soon as possible.

In certain circumstances you may be protected by the Athens Convention relating to the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea 1974.

You may be able to claim compensation if you:

  • Contracted an illness while on a cruise - for example, Legionnaire’s disease caused by poorly maintained water systems. This lung condition, a bacterial disease, can occur when health and safety practices aren’t followed
  • Suffered food poisoning - for example, norovirus, E. coli or salmonella due to poor hygiene practices
  • Had bed bugs in your cabin - causing discomfort and distress, damage to property and even scarring
  • Had concerns that the ship’s doctor was negligent in treating you - for example, misdiagnosing a health problem or failing to spot a serious injury or condition that later worsened
  • Fell overboard due to a lapse in the proper safety measures
  • Suffered an injury while embarking or disembarking - for example, tripped due to a slippery surface or missing handrail, or had a collision with luggage or other obstacles that should have been removed

For most of the above situations, your personal injury lawyer will need to prove that the injury or illness was caused at least in part by the negligence of the carrier, crew, agents or holiday company.

However, if an injury has occurred through a defect on the ship, or as a result of a collision, explosion, shipwreck or capsize, you won’t need to prove fault on the part of the ship's operators.

Slater and Gordon’s expert lawyers will advise you as to whether your claim can proceed. You can also take advantage of our extensive experience in accident at sea claims that occur in different countries. Our specialists can offer advice on where your case would best be brought - for example, in the UK, where the accident occurred, where the ship operator is based or where you purchased the cruise.

To find out whether you have a valid compensation claim and the next steps to take, simply call our accident at sea claims specialists on freephone 0800 916 9046 or use our online contact form.

What happens if I was not a passenger, but a crew member?

If you weren’t a passenger on board a vessel but were working at the time, you could still be able to make an accident at sea claim. Please take a look at the Accidents at Work Abroad section of our website for guidance and useful information.

Time limits for accident at sea claims

Our advice to anyone injured at sea is to remember that strict time limits apply when making personal injury claims. Don’t be caught out, seek immediate legal advice as soon as possible after the injury takes place or you develop an illness.

The time limits for claiming vary depending on a number of circumstances. Claims under the Athens Convention expire within two years of the date of disembarkation.

For the best possible chance of success in your accident at sea claim, consult with one of our expert lawyers immediately. They’ll provide you with advice you can trust and put your mind at ease. Contact us online or call Slater and Gordon Lawyers on freephone 0800 916 9046. This number is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for your convenience.

What’s required to make an accident at sea claim?

If you suffer an accident at sea, we advise if possible that you take the following steps to help us help you:

  • Report the accident to a member of the ship’s crew and obtain a copy of the report made
  • Take photographs of the accident location and any defect which you consider led to your accident
  • Take photographs of any work undertaken to remedy the defect identified following your accident, if any work is done
  • Take the names and addresses of any witnesses to your accident and ask them to confirm that they would be happy for our personal injury lawyers to contact them if necessary.

No Win, No Fee claims for accidents at sea

The majority (98%) of personal injury claims we deal with at Slater and Gordon Lawyers are funded through No Win, No Fee agreement, also referred to as a Conditional Fee Agreements. This means unless you win your case, there’s nothing to pay. If your case is successful, the other party will pay your solicitors’ costs as well as your compensation. However, a payment known as a ‘success fee’ may be payable by you. This fee is usually calculated as a proportion of the compensation you receive. Your solicitor will discuss this proportion with you before you sign a Conditional Fee Agreement so that you know exactly what to expect.

For many people, No Win, No Fee agreements offer greater peace of mind as they mean you can pursue your claim for compensation in confidence and without being left out of pocket.

Call our No Win, No Fee solicitors on freephone 0800 916 9046 or start your compensation claim online.

Our aim is to make claiming compensation as simple and stress-free as possible. Slater and Gordon is known for providing legal advice in clear, honest terms, without unnecessary legal jargon. We’re also personal injury specialists with an outstanding reputation in this area of the law.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers can provide legal representation and rehabilitation support immediately, regardless of where you are in the UK. We have offices and personal injury specialists nationwide, and many of our lawyers are members of the Law Society Personal Injury Panel, the Pan-European Organisation of Personal Injury Lawyers (PEOPIL) and the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).