When you go on a cruise, you expect to relax and have the time of your life. Getting sick or injured during your vacation is a frustrating way to spend time off. Sadly, some people are victims of cruise ship accidents that not only ruin their trip, but can affect their life long after the ship is docked.
Cruise line companies have a duty under law to take care of their passengers. If you have been harmed while on a cruise ship due to the cruise ship’s oversight or negligence, you should contact a reputable maritime attorney. Pierce Skrabanek has built its strong reputation on protecting the rights of individuals harmed while on vessels at sea. Our attorneys have years of experience in maritime law and in helping victims secure the money they need to heal from injuries inflicted by another party’s carelessness. To get your free case review, reach out to us today.
Cruise Ship Accidents
A cruise ship is like a mini floating city. With all of the staff, passengers and equipment on such a large vessel, there is ample opportunity for something to go wrong. Here are some of the accidents that may befall cruise ship passengers:
- Slip and Falls: Cruise ship passengers can fall on wet decks and tripping hazards, especially in high-traffic areas. Another considerable slip and fall risk is the narrow staircases that can be found on many cruise ship floors.
- Dock Accidents: Cruise ships dock frequently to allow passengers on and off for excursions. If docking procedures are not practiced, such as not properly securing the gangway, passengers can fall victim to serious injury, like broken bones or falling overboard.
- Onshore Excursion Accidents: Cruise lines claim that passengers are responsible for accidents that occur onshore. Nonetheless, there are situations where the cruise line may be responsible for onshore accidents. For example, if crew members do not properly inspect equipment, adhere to activity rules, or sufficiently warn passengers about the risks of cruise-sponsored onshore activities, the cruise line may be at-fault for the accident.
- Drowning: If a passenger falls overboard, they are in serious danger of drowning. This is especially so if the cruise ship does not have adequate technology to locate the overboard passenger in the water. Another drowning danger are the unsupervised pools on cruise desks. These can be the terrible scene of a drowning incident, and children are particularly at risk.
- Inadequate Medical Care: Cruise lines provide medical care, but it is far from the level of service you would expect at a regular hospital. Cruise infirmaries usually do not have the resources or the staff to provide the care that all passengers need. In fact, many cruise companies use doctors that are not licensed to practice medicine in the U.S. A misdiagnosis by cruise ship medical personnel, or not having the supplies to treat your symptoms, can lead to serious complications.
- Inadequate Security: Unfortunately, crimes do happen on cruise ships. Thefts, physical violence and sexual assault can all be perpetrated against innocent passengers. Cruise ships have an obligation to passengers to provide adequate measures to help keep everyone safe.
- Norovirus: This virus is becoming a bigger and bigger problem for cruise ships. The norovirus causes gastrointestinal distress and is very communicable (spreads easily). The virus can also survive outside of a host for up to three weeks or more. In early 2014, norovirus outbreaks lead to hundreds of ill passengers.
- Disasters: Although rare, disasters – such as ship grounding, collision, or sinking – do occur. A notorious cruise ship disaster in the news recently was the Costa Concordia capsize off the coast of Italy. In January 2012, the Costa Concordia struck an underwater rock, capsized and sank, killing 32 people onboard.
Cruise Ship Injuries
Cruise ship passengers can suffer serious injuries during any cruise ship accident. Some of the injuries that passengers can sustain include:
- Broken bones and sprains
- Concussions and head injuries
- Back, neck and disk injuries
- Food poisoning and food borne illness
- Infections and viruses
- Physical or sexual assault
When a passenger endures an injury due to the cruise ship’s negligence, it is important to hold the cruise liner responsible. By pursuing a claim, you can be compensated for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, which can help you recover from your injury.
Cruise Ships & Maritime Law
A cruise ship must use the highest degree of care to safely transport its passengers to their destination. Many cruise ships that cater to American customers are not registered in the U.S. Still, maritime law applies to these vessels.
Maritime law dictates that cruise ship companies are liable for accidents on their vessels if it can be proved that the ship’s operator knew or should have known about the unsafe situation that triggered the accident.
When you purchase a ticket and board a ship, you are consenting to the terms that come with the ticket. It is a contract.
The information you need to file a lawsuit is usually included in these terms. Maritime law allows three years to file a personal injury claim, although this time frame can vary depending on the nature of the injuries.
Determining negligence under maritime law typically depends on if a “reasonably careful ship operator” would have known about the risk that caused the accident. For example, if a passenger fell into the water, a “reasonably careful ship operator” should have known about a rusted railing that precipitated the fall. On the other hand, a “reasonably careful ship operator” may not have known about inclement weather and rough sea conditions that lead to minor injuries among passengers.
Cruise Ship Accident Claims
While pursuing a cruise ship injury claim, it is important to keep in mind the following:
- Read and understand the cruise ticket contract. This document lists the limitations and terms for filing an injury claim.
- Be sure to report the accident and injury right after it occurs. It is also a good idea to collect witness testimonies and other documentation in support of your claim. This will improve your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve.
- Don’t settle for less. A cruise ship operator may try and pay you off with vouchers or other incentives that are worth far less than what they actually owe you for your injuries.
- Be sure to seek proper medical care. Once you are back on dry land, you should see a medical professional. This visit is important for your health, and serves as important evidence in support to of your injury claim.
Cruise Ship Injury Attorneys Are Here for You
Cruise ship companies do not want to pay out injury claims as much as they do not want the accidents to happen in the first place. You should consider legal assistance before going up against these companies. The cruise ship accident attorneys here at Pierce Skrabanek can fight for your rights and secure the restitution you need to recover.
To learn more about your next legal steps, contact us today for a no-obligation case review.