Cruise Ship Injury Liability
Cruise ships are considered “common carriers,” meaning they are obliged to an individual duty of reasonable care to the passengers.
Cruise liners must use the highest degree of care in protecting their passengers from harm. Another obligation of cruise ships is to ensure the passengers arrive at port safely. If the cruise liner fails to accomplish this duty, and a passenger is hurt or injured, the cruise ship could be liable for the damages.
If an injury occurs aboard a cruise ship, a claim can be filed against the company chartering the trip, the owner of the vessel, the company who is operating the ship, or the company that sold the ticket for the cruise ship. Additionally, if the cause of the injury is by a third party on the ship, the victim may also be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against that individual or entity.
What Should You Do if You Are Injured on a Cruise Ship?
After an accident or injury on a cruise ship, it is crucial that you get immediate medical attention in the ship’s infirmary for medical care. Some injuries may be more serious than you believe immediately after the incident. It is important to get a medical evaluation even if you believe you have a minor (or nonexistent) injury.
The passenger should fill out an accident report to document the injuries. When writing out the accident report, be sure to list all the conditions that played a role in your accident and record the contact information for all witnesses. What unsafe condition caused your injury? Did anyone see the incident? Has this happened to others before? It is helpful to have other passengers in your party take photographs of the scene of the injury and document unsafe conditions that played a role in your injury. When you return home, get a proper medical evaluation from your family doctor or visit the emergency room if your condition needs immediate care. Be certain that you get immediate care and do not delay necessary medical treatment.
Passengers Injured Aboard a Cruise Ship Must Prove Negligence
If you are hurt or injured on a cruise ship, you have the burden to prove the cruise ship was negligent in some aspect to recover any damages from the cruise line. The fact that you had an accident or got hurt does not prove that the cruise line was negligent or at fault. Negligence defined is the failure to act with reasonable care. You and your personal injury attorney must prove that the cruise line did not act with reasonable care, and as a result, you got hurt.
Examples of Negligence on a Cruise Ship
Many cruise ship injuries may involve a trip or fall. Various types of falls that can happen on a cruise ship are:
- Falling down a staircase
- Falling or slipping on a deck
- Tripping over an entrance threshold
- Assaults or intentional acts by crewmembers may fall under the umbrella of cruise ship negligence.
Sometimes people who fall down the stairs don’t know why they fell. They may think that it was just an accident. But staircases can be unsafe in ways that people may not even consider. These examples among others, can contribute to someone slipping and falling down the of stairs on a cruise ship:
- A foreign substance or water on the stairs
- Lack of handrails
- Faulty designed handrails, such as the wrong height
- The steps are too shallow
If you fall down the stairs on a cruise ship and harm or injure yourself, you should not always automatically assume that it was just an accident. A personal injury lawyer in Mobile can hire a safety expert or a naval architect to inspect the stairs to be sure they are a safe ship design.
Slipping On The Deck
Similarly, just because you fell or slipped on a ship’s deck does not always mean that it was your fault. If there was water on the floor, how did the water get there? What was the construction of the deck surface? Was it excessively slippery? Certain types of surfaces do not get remarkedly slick when it is wet, but other of surfaces do. The cruise line has the burden to keep the decks reasonably safe and must safeguard the decks against all potential hazards. The cruise line might be negligent for knowingly using a decking surface that gets slippery when wet in an area that will often be wet. Proving injury liability for a wet slippery floor accident involves a lot of investigation and evidence to put the story together effectively.
Tripping Over a Threshold
Cruise ships, like any ship, have many of thresholds in their doorways. While thresholds are tripping hazards, federal and international shipping law requires thresholds in certain locations in order to keep the interior of a ship watertight. Because thresholds are mandatory, a cruise ship cannot be negligent for having them as a design feature. But cruise ships can be negligent for failing to give their passengers proper warning of a threshold. Most cruise ship passengers are not particularly familiar with ships, and do not expect thresholds in many different locations. If you trip over a threshold on a cruise ship, you should look around and see if there were any warning signs and stickers on the wall, the door, and/or the floor near the threshold. Lack of warnings of a threshold can constitute negligence.
Assault By The Crew
Sadly, sexual, or physical assaults by a crew member on a cruise passenger are not unusual. While assaults are voluntary actions, the cruise line is always legally responsible for the conduct of its crew members and assault is a crime. If you are assaulted or raped by a crew member, you should report it to the cruise ship and the police as quickly as possible.