A cruise ship can be liable for a personal injury claim. However, various laws, regulations, and agreements create challenges in filing a lawsuit. That’s why you need a personal injury attorney familiar in maritime law, relevant federal regulations, and the contractual agreements made when booking a cruise.
As “common carriers,” cruise ships must exercise a “special duty” beyond reasonable care to passengers. This includes protecting them from physical harm and ensuring they arrive at port safely. Cruise lines have even been held liable for illnesses such as COVID-19. Recently, several lawsuits arose after passengers became ill after exposure to coronavirus on the Grand Princess, Ruby Princess, and Costa Luminosa. However, viruses aren’t the only potential hazards.
Types of Personal Injury Claims a Cruise Ship Can Be Liable For
The majority of cruise ship passengers return home from their trip unharmed. However, common types of cruise ship injuries include:
- Slip and Fall: A slippery deck can cause a slip and fall accident. Passengers are also injured at cruise ship restaurants, pool decks, dance venues, and other facilities. Often, unsafe conditions lead to a slip and fall, so it’s important to take pictures of the area and the injury.
- Food Poisoning/Sickness: Even before coronavirus, illnesses such as norovirus have occurred due to contaminated food. Some cruise lines refund passengers who suffer from food poisoning while onboard. If unsanitary conditions are to blame, your cruise ship injury lawyer can determine whether to file a negligence lawsuit.
- Missing Persons: People have gone missing on cruise ships for various reasons, whether by accident or intentionally, or at the hands of another party or not. Ships are now required by the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act, signed into law in 2011, to report all disappearances and crimes to the FBI and U.S. Coast Guard.
- Sexual Assault/Rape: Cruise ship operators are required to investigate rapes and other crimes involving employees against one another or passengers. Maritime law holds cruise ship operators liable for intentional crimes. Even if such crimes occur among passengers, the cruise line can be held responsible for unsecured premises.
- Wrongful Death: A wrongful death claim can be filed by a surviving family member if the cruise ship operator is negligent. Such a case may arise from foul play, an accidental drowning, suicide, or illness contracted while aboard the vessel.
Suing a Cruise Line
Documentation such as a “Passenger Bill of Rights” and the text on the back of your ticket serve to provide you with a sense of security and cruise lines with legal protection. There are legal challenges, but our personal injury law firm can help navigate the complex laws. Whether a vessel owner, chartering company, ship operator, or a third party on the ship is liable, Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers will fight for you. Maritime injury law is one of our specialties. Contact us at 713-364-0723 if you or a loved one have been injured on a cruise.