Recently, there was a news story detailing a death and four injuries caused by a cruise ship incident. In this case, the death and injuries were caused by a rogue wave. In this case, the cruise line likely has no liability. However, there are other cases where a cruise line may be legally responsible for an injury a passenger has suffered.
Passengers can suffer a range of injuries on a cruise ship. The law that governs the rights of passengers on cruise ships is complex and varies depending on the location of the ship, the location of the passenger, and the circumstances that led to the injury.
Maritime Law and Cruise Line Negligence
Maritime law covers a wide range of legal issues, including liability for maritime accidents. Cruise line negligence refers to a failure on the part of a cruise line to meet its legal duty of care to passengers and crew members. When this negligence results in injury or harm, the cruise line may be held liable. Negligence can include inadequate safety measures, improper maintenance of the ship, or failure to properly train crew members. In cases of cruise line negligence, injured parties may be entitled to compensation under maritime law.
Some of the potential injuries and accidents which could be a result of negligence include:
- Broken bones because of slipping on an unsafe flight of stairs
- Knife or gunshot wounds caused by a rogue crew member
- Food poisoning injuries
These are only a few of the possible injuries which a victim may suffer on a cruise ship. Victims should be aware that only when a cruise line has acted in a manner which is considered negligent can a victim recover compensation for the financial losses due to an injury.
Legal Implications of Passenger Injuries
CruiseMapper has documented 3,861 accidents and incidents on nearly 600 passenger ships. Some of these were accidents, while others were injuries sustained because of criminal acts aboard the ship.
Cruise line passenger injuries can have implications for both the injured passenger and the cruise line. In the case of passenger injury, the cruise line may be held liable under maritime law for any harm caused by its failure to fulfill its legal duty of. Cruise lines owe a duty of care to passengers which includes:
- Providing a safe and secure environment
- Ensuring the cruise ship is well maintained and in good condition
- Ensuring the crew members have undergone a background check and thorough training
If an injured passenger files a lawsuit, they may be entitled to compensation for their damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The legal process for pursuing compensation in these cases can be complicated and may involve the application of international maritime law. When filing a claim, a victim should be working with an attorney who understands maritime law since the laws of the jurisdiction in which the incident occurred, and the jurisdiction in which the cruise line is based may also play a role in the victim’s ability to obtain a fair settlement.
In some cases, cruise lines may try to limit their liability by including provisions in their ticket contracts that restrict the ability of passengers to pursue legal action. It is important for passengers to carefully review these agreements and seek legal advice if they have any concerns about their rights or obligations.
When To Seek Professional Help After an Injury Aboard A Cruise Ship
Taking a cruise is not an everyday occurrence. Victims are spending a significant amount of money to enjoy a cruise with a loved one or family members. When someone’s dream vacation is interrupted or ruined because they suffered an injury, there are no easy answers to the questions which victims may have.
Cruise ship accident victims may need legal help if any of the following apply:
- Suffered a serious injury — if a victim has suffered a serious injury such as a broken bone, head injury, or a life-threatening condition, it is important to seek immediate medical attention and then consider seeking legal help to protect their rights.
- Disputed compensation — if the cruise line has not adequately compensated a victim for their financial losses, or a victim needs to understand the amount of compensation they might be entitled to receive, it may be helpful to consult a maritime lawyer before filing a claim with the cruise line.
- Evidence of negligence — an attorney can help obtain the necessary proof that the cruise line was negligent due to improper maintenance, failure to provide adequate safety equipment, or engaged in poor hiring practices.
Remember, the sooner a victim seeks legal help, the better the chances of securing full and fair compensation for the financial damages they suffered because of the injuries suffered in a cruise ship accident caused by negligence or because of the deliberate actions of a crew member.
Steps For Recovering Damages After A Cruise Ship Injury
After suffering an injury on a cruise ship, the steps a victim takes can help protect their legal rights. Every cruise accident injury victim should take the following steps:
- Seek medical attention — seeking medical attention immediately following an accident can help document injuries as well as ensure victims get the treatment needed for a complete recovery from their injuries.
- Report the accident — the crew or medical staff of a cruise ship should be informed of the accident which resulted in an injury. Victims should ensure they receive a full copy of the incident report as this may be necessary when filing a claim.
- Document the accident — witness statements, photographs of the location of the accident, and photographs of the victim’s injuries can all be helpful when pursuing a claim against a cruise line.
- Consult a lawyer — an attorney who has experience with cruise ship accidents can help a victim understand their legal rights and options.
As with all personal injury claims, maritime laws govern how long a victim has to file a claim. Generally, 46 U.S. Code § 30106 states the victim has up to three years from the date of the incident. However, ticket language may also restrict the victim’s ability to file a claim and advise them of when the cruise line must be notified of an injury. An attorney can provide additional information to the victim regarding these important deadlines.
Contact a Skilled Maritime Accident Attorney
Cruise ship operators owe a duty of care to their passengers, meaning they must take reasonable steps to ensure their safety and well-being. If a passenger is injured due to the negligence or fault of the ship’s operator, the passenger may be entitled to compensation for their losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Cruise line accident victims should maintain a copy of the incident report as well as their ticket and any documentation which was provided when purchasing their ticket. This can help their attorney understand what restrictions may apply when filing a claim for reimbursement of the losses a cruise accident victim suffered. Contacting a maritime accident attorney or calling the firm at 504-526-2222 as soon after suffering an injury on a cruise ship can help preserve a victim’s legal rights.