If you suffered any injures or caught a serious disease on a cruise ship, you could have legal recourse and might be able to recover compensation for your medical bills and your suffering.
There can be many different types of accidents on a cruise ship, including slip and falls due to tripping hazards and spills. Outbreaks of illnesses, such as COVID-19, can lead to severe health implications for victims, including death. Passengers can also suffer from extensive injuries, or die, when a ship has a disastrous accident, such as a grounding, collision, or large-scale fire. Occasionally, passengers fall overboard a cruise ship. Accidents can also happen in any of the cruise ships’ amenities such as the pool, gym, or climbing walls, potentially resulting in serious and life-changing injuries.
If you suffered injuries in a cruise ship accident that was not your fault, for example, if you hurt yourself on a faulty piece of equipment or broke a bone from slipping on a wet floor, you could have legal recourse. However, filing a claim against a cruise line can be challenging. With an accident at sea, maritime laws may apply that can complicate any personal injury or wrongful death claims. A cruise ship injuries lawyer can help determine whether you have a case.
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for a free case review at (800) 794-0444.
Are Cruise Lines Responsible for Passengers’ Injuries?
Generally, a cruise line may be responsible for your injuries if you are able to prove that the injuries happened due to the cruise line’s negligence. The cruise lines, including the captain and crew on a ship, owe a duty of care to passengers. If the duty is breached and this breach caused your accident and injuries, you may have a case against the cruise line.
You could also potentially have a case against other liable parties, for example, a charter company, ticketing agency, or a third-party operator such as an onshore tour agency working with the cruise line.
Types of accidents where a cruise ship may have been negligent can include:
- Slips and falls on deck
- Swimming pool accidents
- Infectious diseases
- Accidents while on a cruise line shore trip
- Gangway or tender boat accidents
- Food poisoning
- Physical or sexual assault by crewmembers
- Falling overboard
- Injuries suffered in catastrophic events such as a grounding or fire
A cruise line or staff can be negligent in many ways. Staff may not mop up spills promptly or remove tripping hazards such as cables on the floor, causing a slip and fall accident.
There may be inadequate maintenance of equipment in passengers’ common areas and amenities, which can result in an accident. When exiting the ship, the gangway can be too steep, faulty, or slippery. Getting on a tender boat in rough weather can also be dangerous for passengers.
If cruise line oversight or staff negligence contributed to your illness or injury, you could potentially hold the cruise line responsible for your damages, such as medical bills and others. In practice, it can be tricky to hold a cruise line to account with a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, as different laws and regulations come into effect on the high seas.
United States law does not always apply. You may not understand what your options are and how to get justice by holding a cruise line responsible for your injuries.
Since there are a number of variables when it comes to cruise ship liability with personal injury and wrongful death cases, it can be helpful for you to consult with a cruise ship injury lawyer. Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can advise you on your legal options for holding a cruise line to account and can fight for you in court. Call us today for a free consultation to determine whether you have a case.
Can You Sue if You Are Injured on a Cruise Ship?
You might be able to sue a cruise line for any damages that you incurred with an injury, as long as you can prove that the cruise line, staff, or a third party acted negligently. This negligence must have contributed to or caused your accident and injuries, as well as your damages.
However, the cruise lines, in an effort to deter any claims, try to make it difficult for passengers to sue them. Passengers typically sign a ticket contract with the cruise line, which includes waivers for liability in the event of any untoward circumstances or accidents onboard. While this can make it harder for you to initiate legal action, the contracts do not always stand up in a court of law.
The cruise line most likely will also include a clause about a statute of limitations in their ticket contract, shortening the amount of time that you can file suit. In addition, passengers may have to give the cruise line notice of intended legal action within six months of the injury.
Jurisdiction to file a claim can also add to the complexities, as it can depend on which flag a cruise ship sails under. United States Maritime Law, as well as other local and international laws, may also apply. However, despite these potential complications and pitfalls, you could still be able to successfully sue a cruise line.
Under the Shipping Act of 1984, cruise ships have a heightened responsibility to keep passengers safe. If they neglected that responsibility, you might have a case.
Generally, in order to have a personal injury or wrongful death case, you will have to prove the following elements:
- The cruise line owed you a duty of care.
- The duty of care was breached.
- You suffered injuries or the death of your loved one due to the breach.
- The injuries or death caused financial damages.
You can review the ticket contract you signed with the cruise line and find out which time limit applies to your case as a good first step.
Do not forget that help is available. A lawyer who knows the laws around cruise ships can assist you with proving negligence and building a case on your behalf.
However, do not hesitate or wait too long if you suffered injuries in an accident on a cruise ship. It can be in your best interests to act quickly if you intend to sue, giving your lawyer time to research your case, and ensuring that you are well within any deadlines set by your ticket contract.
What Damages Are Available for Injuring Yourself on a Cruise Ship?
If you can prove that a cruise line’s negligence is responsible for your injuries, you could receive compensation. It can be difficult to generalize about the amounts and types of compensation you could receive, as this depends on your accident and the severities of your injuries. It might also depend on whether the cruise line was wholly or partially responsible for your injuries.
However, generally in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, you could recover certain economic damages. Economic damages relate to monetary losses you had as a result of an accident or wrongful death in the family, and compensation can include the costs for:
- Medical treatments
- Medical devices
- Lost income and future lost income
- Health aide or home help
- Funeral costs
You could potentially also recover non-economic damages with a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against a cruise line. Non-economic damages tend to be trickier to quantify, as they typically cannot be shown with bills or receipts and are therefore somewhat subjective. Non-economic damages that you could claim in a cruise ship injury or wrongful death lawsuit can include amounts for:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Loss of a limb or sense
- Loss of companionship
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of guardianship and guidance
Since non-economic damages are largely subjective, having a cruise ship injuries lawyer by your side can be helpful for calculating non-economic and other compensation for your case. Additionally, you could also receive punitive awards if the cruise line acted particularly negligently in the accident that caused your injuries.
Sometimes, you can file or join in with a class action lawsuit against a cruise line, when a number of plaintiffs suffered injuries due to cruise ship negligence in the same type of accident or negligence. This can be the case when an infectious disease breaks out on a ship, affecting many passengers. These types of lawsuits can also provide plaintiffs with a monetary settlement.
If you would like to find out more about any compensation that you could receive, and how you might best go about recovering any damages, consulting with a lawyer can inform you. At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we can evaluate your specific case to see if you could hold a cruise line to account and obtain compensation for any losses.
How to File a Cruise Ship Injury Lawsuit
Filing a cruise ship injury lawsuit can be quite different from filing a land-based personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. However, suing a cruise line for personal injury or wrongful death is certainly possible and can be successful if you can prove that a cruise line’s negligence caused your illness or injuries or your loved one’s death.
The Death On The High Seas Act (DOHSA) 46 U.S. Code CHAPTER 303 can give some protection to families that lost a loved one due to cruise ship negligence. DOHSA gives families the right to file suit for compensation, even if the accident took place in international waters.
You have the option of consulting a cruise ship injuries lawyer first and as soon as possible after the injury occurred. Bear in mind that you may have only limited time for any legal action. Your ticket contract should state the time limit of your potential lawsuit.
The cruise line will most likely try to make it as difficult as possible for you to recover any compensation, and they can fight any claims and lawsuits with a team of lawyers. A lawyer knows the laws that apply in these cases and can help you make an informed decision, as well as fight for your rights and compensation, and represent you in court.
The ticket contract you signed with the cruise line does not only state a time limit for any legal action, but it typically also states the city in which you will have to bring forward a lawsuit. Many of the bigger cruise lines such as Carnival, Princess Cruise Lines, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, and others, demand that you file lawsuits in federal court in Miami, Florida.
Taking timely action can be pivotal. Your case could potentially be dismissed if you do not file your lawsuit within the specified time as stated in the ticket contract, or you do not file in the correct city and at the specified venue. Hiring a lawyer that handles cruise ship cases can be helpful in filing a lawsuit against a cruise line correctly.
What Are Common Cruise Ship Injuries?
Cruise ship accidents and injuries can occur in many different situations, such as a rolling ship in bad weather, mechanical failure, material defects, lack of food hygiene, and failure to maintain common areas, among many others.
According to a three-year study of cruise ships, published in a journal called International Maritime Health, most victims suffered slip and fall injuries on the ship and onshore. Almost 50% of injuries aboard were slips and falls. Onshore, slips and falls counted for almost 70% of accidents. Other accidents and injuries seen on cruise ships can include:
Fractures and Bone Breaks
With slips and falls, or elevator injuries, passengers on cruise ships can suffer extensive injuries such as fractures and head traumas. The cruise line is responsible for keeping common areas free of tripping hazards and spills to minimize the risk of falls.
Unfortunately, pool accidents and drownings can happen on cruise ships. Inadequate maintenance of facilities or faulty equipment can be to blame.
If galley and wait staff do not observe adequate hygiene and safe handling of food, passengers can suffer from foodborne illnesses. Food poisoning can have serious consequences, particularly for the elderly or those with compromised immune systems.
Infectious Disease Outbreaks
Infectious disease outbreaks affecting many passengers can occur with a lack of hygiene and cleanliness. Serious diseases can spread like wildfire if staff fails to isolate and quarantine passengers effectively, such as what we have seen with COVID-19 outbreaks on ships recently.
Cruise ships typically have a medical facility and doctor on board. However, the medical personnel onboard may lack qualifications and training, and may not even be licensed to work in the United States. Injuries or medical conditions can be misdiagnosed and treated inappropriately, potentially leading to injury, worsening conditions, and death.
There can be many other accidents and injuries on cruise ships. Potentially, a cruise ship can be a dangerous place with toxic chemicals on board, as well as an incinerator. Sailing on the high seas is not without dangers as collisions and groundings, although thankfully infrequent, can happen any time.
Suffering any serious injuries or illnesses on what should have been a pleasurable vacation can be frustrating and upsetting, especially when the accident occurred through cruise line negligence. If you are thinking of holding a cruise line to account for your injuries or your loved one’s death, do not waste valuable time and contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to see how a cruise ship injuries lawyer can help you.
What Can I Expect If I File a Lawsuit Against a Cruise Line for an Injury?
Cruise ship passengers do have legal rights, and cruise lines have a number of responsibilities. This includes making sure that risks of accidents and injuries, as well as risks of catching any infectious diseases, are kept to an absolute minimum. A cruise line also has to ensure that all staff hired have been vetted and are adequately trained not only for their particular job, but also with assisting passengers in the event of an emergency or accident.
If you intend to file a lawsuit in order to recover compensation for any injuries that you suffered due to the negligence of a cruise line or staff, you can expect an uphill battle. Not only do the cruise lines try and protect themselves with their ticket contracts that waive liability in a number of circumstances, as well as set a timeline for lawsuits, they can also fight claims vigorously. If you suffered injures by cruise ship negligence, you need to act quickly to protect yourself from present and future financial losses.
In the first instance, a cruise line may try to convince you not to take legal action, and their insurance company might even offer you a settlement out of court. You do not have to sign any statements or agree to any settlements. You have the right to consult with a lawyer about your options.
Generally, insurance companies will work in their own interests and try to keep any settlements as low as they possibly can. It can be helpful, therefore, to hire a cruise ship injuries lawyer who will have your best interests at heart and will fight for your rights and compensation.
When trying to hold a cruise line to account for your injuries, you should expect to have to prove your case with concrete evidence and witness statements showing negligence of the cruise line. You may also need to rely on the opinion of expert witnesses to prove your case. Holding a large cruise line accountable can feel daunting and overwhelming when considering that they have almost unlimited resources to fight any claims and lawsuits.
However, you are not alone. A lawyer can help you with all aspects of building your case and proving the negligence of a cruise line. We can help gather the evidence, witnesses, and expert witnesses needed for your case. If needed, we can also negotiate with insurance companies and fight for your rights in court.
We Can Help with Your Cruise Ship Lawsuit
If you are considering holding a cruise line to account for any illnesses or injuries due to negligence on a ship, contact us as soon as possible. Timely action is of the essence as you could be prevented from initiating legal action if you wait too long, depending on your ticket contract and any applicable statutes of limitations.
Lawsuits against a cruise line can potentially be very different from other lawsuits. International or foreign laws may apply that can make legal action more complicated and cumbersome.
While this should not discourage you from initiating legal action if you suffered injuries or a loved one died on a cruise ship, it can be beneficial to accept professional help when fighting against a large cruise line.
Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today and talk to one of our team members about your cruise ship injury case. Find out how we can help you receive compensation at (800) 794-0444.