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Are Cruise Ships Liable For Injuries Like Property Owners?

July 20, 2020
Colson Hicks Eidson

Most people understand that property owners and operators are responsible for ensuring the safety of those who have a right to be on their premises. If they fail to take steps to prevent or remedy hazards, they could be held liable for any injuries that occur. However, what about cruise ship owners and operators? Can they be held liable in the event a passenger on board is harmed? Cruise ship liability is its complex field of law, and it is important to know the basics of when a passenger may be able to file a lawsuit against the cruise line to recover compensation after sustaining an injury.

What Kind Of Injuries Can Happen On Cruise Ships?

There are various types of injuries that can occur to passengers on a cruise ship. Some of the most common injuries that occur happen due to slip and fall incidents at various locations on a cruise ship. However, the following are also not uncommon:

  • Swimming pool accidents/drowning incidents
  • Injuries occurred or participating in recreation activities onboard
  • Food poisoning
  • Escalator or elevator accidents
  • Fire injuries/burns
  • Assaults and sexual assaults
  • Injuries while participating in onshore activities

Cruise Ship Liability In These Situations

The reality is that cruise ship injuries are going to differ from basic premises liability cases that some people are accustomed to in the US. Cruise ships, once they have set sail, operate under maritime laws. Under these laws, a cruise line will generally only be liable for an accident and injuries that occur if the plaintiff can show that the cruise line operator “knew or should have known” about an unsafe condition on the cruise ship.

Most cruise lines place various contract provisions on passenger tickets that limit the amount of time that an injured passenger has to file a lawsuit against an alleged negligent cruise line. In general, cruise passengers usually only have 180 days after sustaining an injury to file a notice with the cruise line of their intention of making a personal injury claim. Aside from stringent timelines, passengers also typically sign various waivers associated with shipboard activities that could cause an injury, thereby limiting the liability of the cruise line.

It is important to note that the Jones Act and other maritime laws apply specifically to those who work onboard water vessels, and these claims are handled differently than most workers’ compensation situations.

Let Our Team Help You Today

If you or somebody you care about has been injured on a cruise, and you believe the injury was caused by the negligence actions of the cruise operators, contact the team at Colson Hicks Eidson today. Our award-winning cruise ship injury attorneys have the resources necessary to conduct a full investigation into this case. Our goal will be to secure compensation for your losses, including coverage of your medical expenses, lost income if you cannot work, pain and suffering damages, and more.

When you need a cruise ship liability attorney in Florida or throughout the US, you can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or by calling us at 305-476-7400.