A cruise line can be responsible for passengers’ injuries if they acted negligently in causing or contributing to an accident. A cruise line has a number of responsibilities towards passengers, including ensuring that any ship machinery and equipment is seaworthy. The crew must be adequately trained and qualified to perform their job functions. The decks and common areas should be free of hazards.
If you suffered injuries while on a cruise and can prove that the cruise line’s negligence contributed to or caused your or your loved one’s injuries or death, you might be able to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against the cruise line.
In a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, you could recover compensation for your medical bills, future medical bills, lost wages, funeral expenses, and other economic damages. Depending on your case, you could also receive compensation for any noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering or loss of life enjoyment.
Contacting a cruise ship lawyer can be a good way to find out how to get justice and compensation if you have suffered any injuries due to negligence on a cruise ship.
Proving Your Case
Having an accident on a cruise ship and getting injured is not necessarily the cruise line’s or cruise staff’s fault. However, in certain cases, a cruise line is responsible for passengers’ injuries. In order to have a chance of recovering any compensation in a cruise ship accident, you will have to prove that the cruise line was negligent. Some of the ways in which a cruise line could potentially be liable include, among others:
- Lack of handrails
- Debris such as food and beverages spilled on floors
- Uneven or damaged carpeting
- Tripping hazards such as cleaning utensils or cables in common areas
- Inadequate and defective lighting
- No warning signs for steps, thresholds, and wet floors
The cruise line, including the captain and staff, have the overall responsibility to ensure the comfort and safety of passengers. Furthermore, in order to have a case against a cruise line, you will have to prove the following elements:
- The cruise line owes you a duty of care.
- The duty of care was breached.
- Your injuries are a result of that breach.
- Your damages carry a dollar value.
You Can Hold a Cruise Line Responsible for Your Injuries
While slips and falls onboard and ashore are some of the more common accidents on cruise ship vacations, according to International Maritime Health, there can be many other accidents and injuries that a cruise line could be responsible for.
Potentially, a cruise line could be held liable for any injuries happening in their pools or other amenities due to faulty equipment, lack of maintenance, or other reasons. A cruise line could also be responsible for any accidents with tender boats or involving the gangway. If the ship is lacking proper hygiene and cleanliness procedures, the cruise line could potentially also be held to account for the spreading of infectious diseases such as norovirus, foodborne pathogens, or respiratory infections such as influenza and coronavirus.
While a cruise line likely will fight any such claims vigorously, having a cruise ship lawyer by your side can help you through the complicated aspects of taking a cruise line to court.
Suing a Cruise Line
Unfortunately, suing a cruise line can be complicated for the victims of any accidents onboard. A cruise line has the resources and legal expertise at hand in order to fight any negligence claims. Passengers also sign a ticket contract with the cruise line before boarding the ship. This contract usually includes liability waivers and time limits attached to any legal action, which can make cruise line negligence cases more complicated than ordinary personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits.
According to 46 U.S. Code § 30103, “A person may bring a civil action against a master, mate, engineer, or pilot of a vessel, and recover damages, for personal injury or loss caused by the master’s, mate’s, engineer’s, or pilot’s negligence or willful misconduct.” However, there could be other liable parties. A third party such as an equipment manufacturer, a tour operator, the ticketing agent, or even the ship’s doctor in the event of medical malpractice, could all be responsible for a passenger’s injuries.
Since lawsuits may be restricted by the terms and conditions on the ticket contract, consulting a cruise ship lawyer can be helpful in identifying your legal options and your next best steps. Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you determine whether a cruise line is responsible for your injuries. We know how to prove a cruise line or third-party negligence. Acting quickly can be important for recovering any compensation, so call us today for a free consultation at (800) 794-0444.