There are countless reasons for which millions of excited vacationers take cruise ship trips each year.
However, there are also numerous hazards putting the health and well-being of these cruisegoers at risk. As you may expect, many of these same dangers are hardly ever mentioned by cruise lines.
When cruise ship companies are negligent in their duty to protect their clients from accidents or even from other passengers and staff, they need to be held liable so that victims may be made whole again.
Individuals who suffer a cruise ship injury have the power and the right to seek legal representation that has their best interests in mind. By retaining cruise ship injury lawyers who are experienced in this type of personal injury case, victims and their loved ones can seek justice and compensation, even when facing the largest cruise line corporations.
Unsure whether you have a valid case? Contact us today for a free legal consultation. Simply give our team a call at our 24/7 helpline or fill out the form on this page to get started.
With tens of millions of passengers and billions in revenue each year, you'd think that cruise lines would have researched every potential source of personal injury, death, or crime on their floating cities. Most importantly, they would have done everything in their power to prevent such grievous incidences from taking place.
Regrettably, the statistics for injuries on cruise ships appear to tell a different story. Surprising among these is the fact that cruise ship crew members are also affected by the negligence of their employer, often falling victim to sexual assault.
Data published by the US Department of Transportation shows that, just in 2019, 130 incidents of criminal activity and injuries on cruise ships were reported to authorities. One can only imagine how many other instances go unreported.
The above figure may sound like a small number when compared to the total number of cruise ship passengers. However, in the best-case scenario, each of those corresponds to a ruined vacation; in the worst-case, such as when physical disability (due to injury), death, or sexual assault occurs, the trauma is likely to be permanent. Moreover, this trauma is felt not only by victims but by entire families who are often left in precarious financial positions when what was supposed to be a leisurely trip ends in tragedy.
Aside from the previously-mentioned types of cruise ship injuries, there are many more. We expand on all types of injuries in the next section.
The injuries associated with cruise lines can be quite varied. This is mainly due to the diverse activities that are offered on-board, the different locations that may be visited, and also some inherent concerns that come along with all maritime trips.
Whether by accident, as a result of inebriation, or simply due to poor supervision, every year there is an astounding number of passengers who "go overboard" on cruise ships.
This may sound harmless at first but even the lowest balcony levels on cruise ships can be a hundred feet or more above the surface of the water. Such a fall can be deadly, especially since the victim may be unable to hold themselves above water and ultimately drown, even if they survive the initial impact.
There are also cases where passengers go overboard from top levels of the cruise and land on lower levels, suffering substantial physical injuries as a result of the blunt force trauma. This kind of passenger overboard injury can be just as deadly.
Slip and fall accidents can take place just about anywhere. Restaurants, retail stores, markets, bars, and swimming pools are only some of the most common environments where they can happen.
Each one of these slip and fall-prone settings is present on a cruise ship. Unsurprisingly, this makes slip and fall accidents some of the most common types of personal injury that occurs on cruises.
Since cruise ship passengers often spend multiple days onboard without being able to get off the boat, cruise lines try to pack as many activities as possible above and below deck. This can include sports courts, swimming pools, hot tubs, water slides or water parks, zip lines, rock-climbing walls, surfing simulators, and much more.
While these may be effective sources of entertainment for cruise guests, each activity also brings with it some risk of injury. Strict supervision is needed to ensure the safety and well-being of activity participants.
Unfortunately, with everything that's going on simultaneously on a cruise ship deck, it can be easy for supervising crew members to lose focus or otherwise be negligent in their duty to watch over passengers, leading to serious injuries.
Excursions are one of the most widely advertised endeavors to undertake on a cruise vacation. Enthusiastic cruise ship passengers often run off the boat in search of adventure once it docks.
Still, most ports of call are in foreign countries. This means that there may be dangers on land that arriving tourists are not familiar with or privy to. This includes the excursions and other trips often sold onboard the ship, before passengers ever set foot on international land.
Cruise lines owe it to their passengers to ensure the excursions they go on are safe and properly planned, run, and managed. If a passenger is injured in an excursion sold by the cruise line, or while they are in port, then victims may be able to hold the shipping company liable.
The prevalence of assault on cruise ships, and specifically sexual assault and rape, is absolutely appalling. Terribly, it is not only the paying passengers who fall victim to these repugnant crimes; onboard employees are also victimized in this manner.
The victim's role on the ship is irrelevant, nor is the fact that the crime occurred on a ship in international waters. Victims of any kind of physical or sexual assault on a cruise ship can hold their perpetrators and the cruise line responsible by taking legal action.
Cruise lines have to maintain exceptionally high health standards on their ships in order to avoid foodborne, airborne, or other easily-transmitted diseases such as viral infections.
In fact, due to inherently limited space and open-air areas, cruise ships are often referred to as "floating Petri dishes." The expression may be slightly offputting, but it is quite true.
And while you may not have been aware of this fact, cruise line industries have a clear understanding of how an easily-transmissible virus can ravage a ship's population. As a result, they have implemented extensive procedures and policies intended to limit if not prevent an outbreak.
However, with the passing of time and a lack of oversight, employees may stop following safety procedures. This can very easily lead to a widespread illness on cruises that affects not only all of the guests but also the crew.
If there is any kind of accident on a cruise ship and you suffer a personal injury, you will likely be taken to the cruise's onboard infirmary for treatment. Upon the beginning of your medical treatment, it is quite likely that cruise employees will begin completing a report of the incident.
It is imperative that you try to obtain a copy of this report for your own records. If you are not able to obtain it due to your injury, have a loved one or friend obtain it for you. The report can serve as evidence, even without filing a cruise ship accident lawsuit, so having a copy for yourself can give you significant leverage down the road.
Once your health is stabilized and you are back on land, it is recommended that you seek a cruise ship accident attorney right away. Lawsuits for injuries on cruise ships are no small matter; you will need an attorney if not an entire law firm to fight for your interests. You can be sure the 'other side' will enlist a cruise ship lawyer as well.
Once you've retained a law firm to represent you after an injury aboard a cruise ship, the often-extensive process of filing a lawsuit can start.
The cruise ship lawyers you've chosen to represent will begin to build your case right away. This includes compiling any bits of evidence including the original incident report as well as any medical records and financial statements related to the injury.
Your legal team will also study the policies set forth by the cruise ship company in their ticket purchase agreement. You're probably not completely aware of it, but by purchasing a cruise ticket, you are entering into a legal agreement with the cruise line. This agreement includes a series of concessions you make by going on the cruise; it can also set a predetermined time period during which you may file a cruise ship accident claim against the company. It's important to be intimately familiar with these and any other company-specific policies before seeking damages from the cruise lines.
If you've previously retained a lawyer for filing a lawsuit, you may be wondering why you would not simply hire the same legal representative to defend you as opposed to seeking out cruise ship lawyers.
Much like the medical field, lawyers often specialize in specific types of cases. When it comes to cruise ship accidents, there are some very specific state, federal, and even international laws that come into play and which can help victims win compensation.
If you hope to have a successful case, you want a cruise ship accident law firm that is knowledgeable in maritime law and has experience handling similar cruise ship injury cases.
There are a number of maritime laws that come into play when it comes to achieving compensation after suffering any kind of injury, or after someone dies, while on a cruise ship. These can include the Jones Act, the Death on the High Seas Act, the Shipping Act of 1984, and even the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS.)
If a personal injury lawyer is representing you in a lawsuit against a cruise company after an accident, you want to make sure they know these regulations inside and out. For this reason, it's highly advised that you seek out an injury attorney experienced in aquatic accident law for your case. It's likely the best chance that victims of cruise ship accidents have of obtaining the full compensation they deserve.
Many cruise ships are 'registered' in foreign nations for tax reasons. In other cases, they may operate out of specific counties or states that are not necessarily close to the port from which you sailed.
It is critically important to know the exact jurisdiction where you need to file a lawsuit. An experienced cruise ship injury attorney will already know where each of the major cruise lines operate out of and where a legal claim must be presented if one seeks damages from them. On the other hand, if they are not immediately familiar with the corresponding jurisdiction, they will have the contacts necessary to find out and move ahead with the legal proceedings. Timely action is critical given that filing a lawsuit in the incorrect court will cause the case to be thrown out and waste precious time.
While the information on this page is intended to be educational, it can in no way substitute the specialized knowledge of a cruise ship accident lawyer and a law firm experienced in maritime law.
For this reason, if you or a loved one suffered an injury on a cruise, we highly recommend you reach out to our team today to schedule a free, no-obligation legal consultation with a lawyer.
You'll get the chance to ask any questions you may have, and the cruise ship accidents lawyer assigned to you will be able to explain the process as well as your potential for compensation. Don't delay in getting the answers and information you need to make such an important decision, one which could impact your life and that of your family members permanently. Call today.