When the sail date of a cruise finally arrives, passengers are usually very excited to get on the boat and set off on their trip. However, as our cruise ship injury lawyers know very well, cruises can be much more dangerous than most travelers expect.
In fact, the dangers to a cruise passenger's health and well-being can appear at the gangway, even before they've made it on to the ship itself.
The gangway on a cruise ship is the physical "bridge" that passengers cross to get from land on to the ship itself (and vice versa). The gangway is not only used by paying patrons but often also by all staff members.
Depending on the size of a cruise ship, there may be one or more gangways through which individuals can get on and off the boat. Moreover, depending on the port where the cruise ship is docked, the gangway can be as rudimentary as an embarkment ladder or as sophisticated as the jetways used to board an airplane.
The variety in type and sophistication of gangways can seem like a non-issue to most individuals but it can open the door for accidents to occur and injuries to manifest. There is no "one-size-fits-all" gangway, so this physical bridge between a ship and port that passengers are expected to cross can be less than sturdy.
Gangway accidents occur every year. Regrettably, it's not only inexperienced cruise passengers who are victims of these incidents but seasoned cruise staff as well. Regardless of the victim's role, what's constant is the fact that they have to right to seek legal representation if a gangway accident left them injured. Most importantly, if it can be determined that negligence was the cause of the injuries, then victims have a high likelihood of earning substantial compensation to cover their damages.
As alluded to earlier, there is no universal model of gangway. Sometimes the cruise ship's own gangway is employed, while other ports may provide their own. Regardless of the situation, the potential causes of gangway accidents tend to be the same. Here are some of the most common ones:
These are only some of the most common causes, however there are many more. Yet, these all point towards the same fact - many of these accidents could be prevented if proper steps are taken to protect the safety of cruise passengers and employees.
When a cruise gangway injury occurs, there is a very real possibility that the cruise company could be held liable for damages.
It is true that the specific gangway in question could be the property of a foreign port, but this does not release the operator of the cruise from their duty to ensure the safety of paying patrons. Cruise ships tend to visit the same ports with regularity, so cruise employees should be able to detect potential risks in the embarkment and disembarkment processes. If they fail to do so and individuals get hurt, it's only normal for them to seek compensation.
Whether you're an employee or a patron on a cruise ship can make a big difference with regard to the legal options available at your disposal. Even if you're somewhat familiar with maritime law, these cases can be extremely complex seeing as how the accident does not occur on "dry land."
Different legal statutes could play a part in establishing negligence and responsibility. For this reason, we highly suggest getting in touch with experienced maritime injury lawyers at the Haggard Law Firm for a free consultation. Additionally, all of the cases we take on are on a contingency-fee-basis, which means that unless compensation is secured, no legal fees are owed to us.
To learn more about your potential for financial compensation after a gangway accident, fill out the form on this page or contact our team at our 24/7 injury helpline.