Vacations are to be enjoyed, but you also need to be careful.
As slip and fall lawyers in Miami, we know that airports are often packed with passengers in a hurry toting heavy bags and luggage – a perfect scenario for severe injuries. Airports, hotels, attractions, and cruise ships can be held liable if the negligence of their employees results in injuries to customers and passengers.
A recent article in the Washington Post asks if cruise ships do enough to protect their passengers and if the current cruise ship safety regulations are sufficient to ensure the safety of passengers.
WHAT KINDS OF INJURIES CAN HAPPEN ON A CRUISE?
Of course, being stuck with scores of other passengers, no electricity, and no plumbing is nobody’s plan for a cruise. It’s unfortunate, but disease outbreaks, food poisonings, and power failures are on the rise on cruise ships.
If you are injured on a cruise ship – by tripping or slipping and falling, by food poisoning or some other illness, or if you sustain any injury caused by someone else’s negligence, you may have the right to compensation for your injuries. Keep reading to learn more.
This is an overview of your rights if you are injured on a cruise ship. If you are the one who’s been injured, you will need to speak promptly with a personal injury attorney who can explain how the laws discussed here may apply specifically in your own case.
WHY ARE CRUISE SHIPS A LIKELY LOCATION FOR INJURIES?
The cruise line industry avoids excessive government regulation by creating its own regulations and by asking its passengers simply to trust them. Cruise lines have even adopted their own “Passenger Bill of Rights” for marketing purposes and to appease the courts and legislatures.
Nevertheless, the chances of a serious injury on a cruise ship are far greater now than two or three decades ago. That is because cruise ships now offer features like rock walls, pool slides, sports activities of all kinds, amusement park-style rides, and a number of other activities.
What makes an injury on a cruise ship even more complicated is that liability for cruise ship injuries may be limited by the terms and conditions printed on a cruise ticket, by federal maritime laws, and by the prospect of having to take legal action in a foreign jurisdiction.
Injuries on a cruise ship can sometimes be complicated by a lack of sufficient medical resources on the ship. If you are injured on a cruise ship, promptly seek the best medical care available, and then discuss your case as quickly as possible with a Miami personal injury lawyer.
WHAT KINDS OF INJURIES ARE COMMON ON CRUISE SHIPS?
If liquids are spilled and are not cleaned up quickly, or if walkways are poorly-lit or cluttered, passengers on cruise ships can be severely injured. Injuries can also happen when the passengers enjoy a ship’s recreational features – such as the rides, pools, and water slides.
Food poisoning is also a concern on cruises. In the rare cases where a ship’s plumbing and electricity have failed, every passenger on the ship is at risk. Passengers have been robbed and assaulted by other passengers and even by members of a ship’s crew.
WHAT ARE THE LEGAL RIGHTS OF CRUISE SHIP PASSENGERS?
Cruise ship owners have a legal “duty of care” to their passengers. The owners of cruise ships are obligated to ensure that proper employee background checks are conducted and that appropriate hiring practices are enforced.
Owners are also obligated to ensure that ships have adequate lighting, that spills and clutter are cleaned up promptly, and that any other known hazards are dealt with appropriately.
If you are injured on a cruise ship, your ability to file a personal injury claim against the cruise line hinges on how the accident occurred and whether negligence – on the part of the cruise line or one or more of the crew members – was involved.
IF YOU ARE INJURED ON A CRUISE, WHAT STEPS SHOULD YOU TAKE?
You will need to take photos and collect any physical evidence that you can gather regarding your accident and injury. If you complete an accident report for the cruise line, be sure to keep a copy.
If there were witnesses to your injury, try to obtain their contact information. Your attorney may want to contact them for statements or testimony. If you can speak to your attorney while you are still aboard the ship, you will probably be able to get some important guidance and advice.
Do not accept any settlement offer from a cruise line or from an insurance company until you have been advised by an experienced accident attorney. The first settlement offer is probably going to be far too low.
HOW CAN AN ACCIDENT LAWYER HELP YOU?
Refer the insurance company to your accident attorney, who routinely handles personal injury settlement negotiations with insurance companies. Do not sign any documents or make any statement to an insurance company. Refer all insurance company inquiries to your attorney.
If you are injured on a cruise ship that you boarded here in south Florida, speak at once to a qualified personal injury attorney about your options, your rights, and your legal recourse. You’ll receive sound advice and the legal guidance you need.
If the negligence of a ship’s owners or its crew members was a direct cause of your personal injury or injuries, you are entitled under the law to full compensation for your medical bills, your lost wages, your personal pain and suffering, and all of your other related losses and damages.
HOW QUICKLY WILL YOU NEED TO ACT IF YOU’VE BEEN INJURED?
However, cruise ship passengers who intend to file a lawsuit in federal court have only one year from the date of the injury to initiate legal action. If you are injured by negligence on a cruise ship, you need to act at once and speak to an experienced injury lawyer right away.
Since accidents on cruise ships may occur outside of state or federal jurisdictions, it is sometimes difficult to bring a personal injury lawsuit against some cruise lines. However, most cruise ships are owned by U.S. corporations, and many of those corporations are based right here in Florida.
If you are the victim of a cruise ship personal injury, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and all other losses arising from the accident and injury.
An experienced Miami personal injury attorney will help you calculate the amount of compensation that you should receive and will fight aggressively for that compensation on your behalf.
If you’ve been injured by negligence, a good lawyer’s help is your right. Your future could depend on it.