Cruise Companies and Liability FAQs
Cruises serve many purposes for enjoyment, whether it is a family reunion, a wedding party, or an annual business conference. In many countries worldwide, cruise goers enjoy various amenities cruises have to offer. The amenities on cruises are countless, whether it is restaurants featuring international flavors, indoor and outdoor pools, spas, water slides, rock climbing walls, ice skating rinks, shopping malls, and recreational centers. Due to all of the exciting events and activities cruise ships offer, novel risks become introduced to cruise goers. Common accidents on cruise ships include slip and falls, poorly maintained equipment (for example, gym equipment or pool furniture), guests tripping over suitcases in hallways, and alcohol-related accidents. Contrary to accidents that occur on land, cruise ship accidents are resolved differently. The following frequently asked cruise company liability questions will provide clarity, in the unfortunate circumstance that you become injured on a cruise ship.
How can I prove negligence is the reason for my cruise injury?
By law, cruise ships are required to exercise the highest degree of care, when transporting guests from origin to destination. In order to prove a cruise ship is responsible for your injury, you must prove there was negligence or intent on behalf of the cruise. In the U.S., many cruise customers are not registered in the U.S., but rather as Panama or the Bahamas. In these different regions, labor and safety regulations vary from the U.S. Furthermore, the Maritime Law applies, which states that cruises are liable for cruise ship accidents, if it there is evidence that the ship’s operator was aware of the unsafe condition.
Does my cruise ship ticket discuss legal matters?
Yes. Most of the information you need to know is displayed on the back of your cruise ship ticket. When purchasing a ticket and boarding a ship, this is acknowledgment that you are legally consenting to the cruise company’s terms. In addition, a limited liability waiver may be presented to you, in order to protect the cruise company from legal matters. Other clauses may also be presented to you. As a rule of thumb, read the back of your ticket before boarding the ship, and make copies of all documentation for your personal records.
How is negligence against a cruise ship company determined?
It is important to remember that cruise ship companies are not entirely liable for passenger injuries. Furthermore, it must be proven that the cruise ship is responsible for your injuries, as a result of their negligence. Under the Maritime Law, liability depends on whether a “reasonably careful ship operator” had knowledge of the risk that caused your injury. The Maritime Law enables the understanding that it is impossible for the most cautious ship operators to have knowledge of every single hazardous condition.
What if my accident was caused from cruise ship employees?
If your accident is a result of a crew member’s negligence, most courts hold the cruise operator liable. In many cases, this rule holds true when passengers and crew members are onshore. The main exception to cruise ship employee negligence is with the ship’s doctor, as long as they are properly trained, licensed, and independent contractors.
Cruises are enjoyable times for most, as cruise goers look forward to escaping reality, vacationing in paradise. Because of all of the new activities and places passengers travel, new risks become introduced. As a cruise passenger, be sure to read the back of your ticket and research your cruise ship company policies. In the event that you become injured during your cruise, tell a crew member immediately, and go to the cruise doctor to assess your injuries. Even if injuries seem minor, visiting the cruise doctor will help your case if you wish to file a claim. Once you return home, contact a personal injury attorney to discuss the potential compensation you may be entitled to.
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