Did Titanic survivors get compensation?

That’s a great question. The Titanic has always fascinated me and I’ve read several books and articles on the subject but not much was said about compensation. I found this on Wikipedia:

“In brief, the passengers and their dependents sued White Star in the US and Britain.

In Britain, the court used four claims as a test case. White Star lost in a lower court, lost in the Court of Appeals and paid up. The amounts involved were small, but they determined White Star’s liability. Other claims in Britain must have been settled out of court but I’ve never seen documentation of them.

The story of the British claims is among the articles on ET.

In the US, the claims dragged on for years. American law was very soft on ship owners. In brief, to get a decent amount, the claimants had to prove that Captain Smith was negligent and that White Star (read Bruce Ismay) knew of his negligence and connived at it. White Star fought very hard and even the Supreme Court got involved. In the end, the case was settled out of court and approved by a judge. White Star paid out about 25% of the final amount claimed, without an admission of liability. Further claims were barred. The judge signed the decree on 28 July 1916.

The exact details of the US settlement are rather vague. According to Walter Lord, the amounts paid out were biased in favour of the poorer claimants. See The Night Lives On, page 210. I have a court record from 1917 that describes the record of the settlement as “meager” and “very imperfect”.

The details of the original claims survive in US archives. They show huge variations in the attitudes taken by the claimants. Some claimed for trivial amounts for odd bits of property, worth a few dollars. Some of the women claimed for the loss of their husbands but others only claimed for property. A student of human nature could have an interesting time looking at the claims.”

Did the survivors of the Titanic get any financial compensation?


* The victims’ families got a small amount.
* Not sure if the survivors got much if anything.
* Basically both the British and US courts of inquiry ruled that the accident was a unfortunate natural disaster, an act of god and that the measures and actions taken by White Star Lines were appropriate for the time and conditions.
* They also warned that in the future, there would be a higher standard held.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s