Case study: ankle injury suffered on cruise ship

We received a claim from a Gloucestershire forestry worker who wanted to pursue a passenger injury compensation claim after he was harmed in an accident while on a cruise around the Mediterranean.

He told us how when the cruise set off the weather was fabulous and how him and his wife were thoroughly looking forward to a relaxing 14 days in the sun, pampering themselves in the spa, eating the finest foods and enjoying the onboard entertainment shows.

A few days into the trip the weather turned; the wind got up and the sea became very choppy, causing the relatively small cruise ship to roll furiously around the Med. This change in the weather had not been expected by the ship's crew and they prepared to slightly alter their schedule and dock as soon as possible, 12 hours behind schedule.

Failure in duty of care towards passengers

They made for the nearest port of call, which happened to be Palma, and aimed to get the disgruntled, restless and sea-sick passengers onto dry land without further delay. But the passengers were impatient and a sudden outbreak of illness amongst crew members meant that there were less staff on hand than usual to help passengers disembark.

There was a lot of pushing and shoving and when it came to our client, the limited crew members were concentrating on helping children and the elderly off and he was told to jump the small distance between the ship and the dock. He was being pushed by the eager crowd mounting up behind him and he had little choice but to get off the ship with haste. He tried to jump and as he went forwards he was shoved suddenly from behind, forcing him to lose his balance and fall awkwardly onto his ankle, hitting his face on the metal railing on his descent.

The cruise ship's medic was called to see to the man's passenger injuries. He was told that he had suffered quite a severe ligamentous tear to his ankle and that he should expect to find getting around difficult for a fair few months. He also suffered a black eye and some temporary interference to his vision, which meant that sight-seeing was definitely off the agenda.

Investigation into failings

When the man returned to the UK he contacted our advisors to get some free legal advice about his rights to make a claim. We consulted with our panel of solicitors and informed the man that he should have a good case against the tour operator through which he booked the cruise and that we would be glad to represent him.

He went ahead and made a claim for the pain and inconvenience to his holiday his injuries had caused; the earnings that he lost when he returned home, seeing as his ankle injury left him able to walk properly on uneven ground; and the medical treatment that he received abroad which was not covered by his EHIC (European Health Insurance Card).

It was not necessary for the case to go to court as it was clear in the eyes of the law that disembarking from the ship should have been organised far better and, as a result of the crew's negligence to perform this exercise calmly and safely, our client's injuries were sustained.

He was awarded a sum of £11,750 as a combination of both general and special damages. 


Think you have a claim? Get in touch with us today on 0800 10 757 95 or read more here.