Most people who board a cruise ship in Mobile will enjoy their vacation and return home with nothing more than maybe a sunburn and a smile. But occasionally things go wrong, unexpected accidents or serious injuries occur, and when they do you need to know your rights.
All Claims Are Not Equal
First, not all claims are treated equally because the passenger contracts of cruise lines differ and because, depending on the place of the claim, the laws of a different country may apply. The article assumes that you boarded ship in a United States port and that the claim arose while you were on the ship.
Second, the liability of the cruise line is determined under the general standard applied to negligent acts which harm you:
- The cruise line owed you a duty.
- The cruise line breached that duty
- The breach of duty caused your injury
- Your injury caused you a loss
- The cruise line owed you a duty to provide you safe food
- The cruise line breached this duty by serving you improperly stored food
- The cruise line’s improperly stored food caused you to get violently sick
- Your violent sickness caused you physical damage
Recently an outbreak of norovirus swept through a popular Royal Caribbean cruise liner out of Florida, sickening nearly 500 passengers with the highly-contagious gastrointestinal virus.
Cruise Line Duties & Rights
You will find the cruise line’s duties and your rights in your passenger contract, voluntary agreements, and federal laws.
- Your Passenger Contract. The section of your ticket in small print states some of the line’s general duties and contains two important points if you need to file a complaint. It will set deadlines for you to notify the cruise line on your claim and to file your lawsuit. It will also state where the lawsuit must be filed. For example, a lawsuit against Carnival must be filed in Miami.
- The Cruise Line’s Website. In addition to its Passenger Contract, the line may list its safety and security duties to you.
- The Cruise Ship Passenger Bill of Rights. The members of the Cruise Lines International Association entered into this 10-point voluntary agreement. It lists your rights as a passenger which become the line’s duties to you.
- SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) is the shorthand term used to refer to an international treaty that creates standards of safe construction and operation of both passenger and merchant ships including, lifesaving arrangements, communications, navigational safety, and fire protection.
- The Shipping Act of 1984. This law included cruise ships as common carriers with the heightened duty of care by ensuring that they arrive at their destinations safely. This special duty of care extends to protecting their passengers from physical harm including protection from crew members’ assaults, rapes, and other criminal attacks.
- Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act of 2010. Requires cruise lines to install additional security equipment to protect passengers, create procedures to care for and protect victims of sexual attacks, and create improved record keeping and reporting procedures.
If you suffered an injury on board a cruise ship, were harmed by an employee or another passenger, or even got terribly sick due to negligence, then you may have a claim against the cruise line or others. The experienced injury attorneys at Clay, Massey & Associates are available for FREE initial consultations and can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 251-433-1000 or click the Live Chat link on our site!