31 May 2023
  • A boat trip to the Farne Islands

Case Study: £40,000 Compensation for Client After Boat Trip Nightmare

When Sarah* stepped on to a boat tour, they didn’t expect their life to change forever.

Suffering life-altering spinal injuries that continue to plague them to this day, Sarah didn’t know where to turn after feeling that something must be done about the incident and accountability needed to be accepted.

After being encouraged by people they knew to contact the dedicated Public Liability team at Winns, they took the stress and hassle out of the situation and helped Sarah secure £40,000 in compensation.

What happened?

Sarah booked a trip to Farne Island, involving use of a rigid hulled inflatable boat. With a skipper provided by the company to operate it, Sarah and their family set off with the weather windy and wet, and the sea proving choppy. On their return journey on the ‘fast blast’ ride, the skipper conducted high speed figure of eight actions with the vessel, increasing the bumpiness and turbulence of the ride for the perceived entertainment of passengers.

As the boat went faster, one such action saw Sarah thrown into the air before landing with force on the benched seat, resulting in life-changing injuries.

They said: “[The skipper] started going even faster and then the rib came out of the sea to a big height. The last time this happened I came down on the wooden seat and felt this excruciating pain through my spine.

“[The skipper] stopped the boat and came straight to me asking if I could feel my legs. We were about five minutes back to shore and there was this deadly silence for me as I was dealing with this horrible pain.

“He did help us back off the boat but he seemed more concerned about the divers he had waiting to board for the next trip. There was no accident book to sign.”

The aftermath

Barely able to move, Sarah ended their holiday early to get home, still in tremendous pain. After calling 111 and being blue lighted to hospital, the medical professionals were immediately concerned.

“They were worried that one of the bones I’d fractured would dislodge and hit my spinal cord, which would leave me paralysed.

“Thankfully the scans showed they wouldn’t dislodge but they did show two fractured bones.

“I remember thinking in the week after the accident that something needed to be done, someone needed to be held to account.

“I’m on Facebook and people said you should get in touch with Winns, who could help.”

How did Winns help?

One of our public liability specialists George Edwards took on the claim, arranging a medical assessment and report, as Sarah, a full-time carer, found themself off their feet for three months because of the injuries sustained.

George’s legal expertise and diligence allowed Sarah to focus on returning to a level of normality as quickly as possible.

Sarah said: “For the first three months, I was off my feet. I’m a full-time carer and my son has autism, so I couldn’t go swimming or play football with him as I normally would, or even do the shopping so that was a real struggle.

“George was very comforting, telling me not to worry about things. I was really supported by Winns and George reassured me all the way because I couldn’t have done this sort of thing myself.

“It made me feel secure to know that someone else was there to help me on the way so I could concentrate on getting better rather than having that worry of doing something I’ve never done before.”

The result

Despite repeated denials of liability from the third party, Winns effectively proved their liability for the accident, utilising the expert assistance of a barrister specialising in maritime and shipping law. The defendant opted not to go to court to deny liability, instead settling out of court for £40,000.

This compensation helps support Sarah for loss of earnings, care, pain, suffering, loss and amenity (PSLA), future care needs and future loss of earnings as they struggle with the pain of their injury on a near daily basis.

Considering a claim for compensation after an accident that wasn’t your fault? Contact the team at Winns for a no-obligation chat about your circumstances. We’re ready to help.

Call now


*Name changed to protect our client’s identity.

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