Common Cruise Ship Accidents
Cruise ships can often be overcrowded, busy, and the size of a small city. This means that sometimes it is difficult for the cruise liner company and the staff to keep up with every aspect of the ship. When this happens and the ship is not properly kept up, accidents happen.
The majority of cruise ship accidents include:
- slip and falls,
- falling overboard,
- fallen objects,
- dock accidents,
- swimming pool or water slide injuries,
- injuries on excursions taken on the shore,
- medical malpractice, and
- sexual or physical assault.
The majority of these accidents come down to negligence and whether it can be proven or not.
Who Is Responsible For Injuries in a Cruise Ship Accident?
A cruise ship owner can be legally responsible for negligence when an accident happens as a result of insufficient emergency precautions, poor maintenance, lack of security, poor sanitation, or incompetent staff. The cruise ship company owes a legal duty to passengers to act with reasonable care under the circumstances. If this standard is not met, they have likely been negligent. If any member of the staff is found responsible for the accident, the cruise ship company can still be answerable for any injuries or damages. Additionally, with cruise ship accidents, maritime law usually applies. Under maritime law, a cruise ship is only liable for the accident if a plaintiff can show that a ship’s operator knew or should have known about an unsafe condition on the ship.
Claims About Cruise Ship Injuries
An attorney that specializes in maritime law can be exceptionally helpful in cruise ship accidents. Cruise ships often limit when and where you can file your cruise ship injury claim through your ticket purchase agreement. In addition to the limitations in the passenger ticket terms and conditions, complicated elements of maritime law apply.
Where to File Your Cruise Ship Injury Claim
An attorney that specializes in maritime law knows that it consists of state and federal statutes, international treaties, and even agreements between governments made through the United Nations. Your attorney will look into things like if the accident took place on a foreign flagship in international waters or whether your country of origin matters. These are all things that can impact whether and where you have a case. Additionally, both admiralty and maritime laws of another country may apply even if the victim and the cruise company are based within the United States. Operators for excursions off the ship may also be the cause of your injury. When this happens, an attorney with knowledge of the law of foreign nation states becomes critical. When a cruise ship accident occurs in non-navigable waters in the United States, the cruise ship may be considered a common carrier. Common carriers have a heightened duty of care to provide safe transportation to passengers. This duty extends to protection against third-party criminal acts like rape, sexual assault, or battery. The statute of limitations, or the timeframe between an incident and when you file a lawsuit, is usually much shorter in these cases. Usually, the statute of limitations is only one year from the accident to filing the lawsuit.
Further Limits on When and Where to File Your Claim
Anyone that has gotten on a cruise ship is unlikely to have read their ticket, especially not the details of the fine print. Passenger ticket contracts or employment contracts for a cruise ship are also known as a “contract of carriage.” This means that your ticket is a contract with the cruise liner. These contracts often limit where a victim’s rights can be enforced and the timeframe in which that has to be done. This is the one year statute of limitations mentioned above. Those are not the only requirements that the contracts can entail. Most of these contracts also require you to provide written notice of your intent to pursue a claim to the cruise line within six months from the injury date. Some of these contracts also require the accident to be documented while on board. This leaves little time to investigate the issue, and requires that you and your attorney act fast. An experienced attorney can help you determine if your case has exceeded the statute of limitations and if you are within six months from the accident to notify the cruise line.
What To Do If You Are Injured
With such a small amount of time to develop your claim and the requirements of a passenger ticket, it is important that you report the incident to a security officer immediately. If medical attention is necessary you should seek out the ship’s infirmary and report your injuries so they are documented. After that, they should take your statement which you should receive a copy of as soon as you’ve given the statement. You should not rely on the cruise ship to report the incident, and report it as soon as you can. Cruise liners are not required to provide you with any documentation or to take photographs of the scene. They will not provide you with evidence, so it is important that you gather it on your own. Collect a copy of your police report, a report of your injuries, and take pictures of the scene and your injuries. If anyone saw the incident, you should collect the names and contact information for those witnesses.
What Can You Recover In a Cruise Ship Accident Claim?
When a cruise liner has not met the duty of care owed to its passengers and found negligent, an experienced attorney can help you get compensation. If you or a loved one was injured during your time on a cruise ship you may be able to be compensated for:
- Current and future medical costs
- Current and future rehabilitation costs
- Loss of wages (including future wages)
- Inhibited earning capacity
- Wrongful death claims
- Pain and suffering
Every case is different. The differing circumstances regarding each case means the value of your claim cannot be determined until a thorough examination is conducted by an attorney. If you or a family member has experienced an injury or assault aboard a cruise ship or participating in cruise ship activities, you should immediately contact an attorney who is experienced in handling these types of cases. Cruise ship injury cases are complicated, and you need an attorney you trust to help you navigate your case.
Speak to an Attorney Right Away
The Cueria Law Firm is standing by to help you with your case. Fill out the form below to get a free case evaluation or call our office today to speak with our experienced team of Louisiana legal professionals. The sooner you reach out, the sooner we can begin to work on getting you the compensation that you deserve.