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Cruise Ship Accidents

After all, you were on vacation. You go on a cruise to get away, relax, and enjoy luxury service by the ship’s staff. Moreover, you probably planned the trip for months in advance, and spent a substantial amount of money on your cruise ticket and airplane transportation to the port of departure.

The last thing you expected was having your cruise vacation ruined by injury.

Numerous types of accidents can occur during a cruise. The following are just some of the accidents that may result in serious personal injuries:

  • Slip or trip and fall injuries caused by defective or dirty floors, stairs, or other areas
  • Swimming pool accidents or drowning
  • Respiratory infections or illness from other airborne contamination, due to poorly maintained ventilation or air conditioning systems
  • Gastrointestinal disorders resulting from spoiled or improperly prepared food
  • Collision with another vessel, dock, or natural hazard
  • Burn injuries or smoke inhalation from an on-board fire
  • Medical malpractice by a ship doctor

Often, cruise ship vacations provide passengers with an opportunity to go ashore. The cruise line may be responsible for injury, if the accident occurred:

  • While the cruise staff transported passengers between the ship and the shore
  • On the gangplank or pier next to the ship
  • At a hotel or other on-shore location owned by the cruise line
  • During an on-shore excursion that the cruise line arranged

In some cases, a cruise line will not be legally responsible for a passenger’s on-shore injury. Instead, the passenger may have a claim against the business or individual whose negligence caused the injury, even if the accident happened in another country.

Whether you were injured on-board or ashore, pursuing legal action for an injury suffered during a cruise is a complicated process. Two important legal questions exist

  1. which law establishes the rights of the victim, and
  2. which court can consider his or her claim.

Most major cruise ship companies select the state law that they want to determine their legal responsibilities and an accident victim’s rights. Usually, a cruise line specifies the governing law in the fine print on the back of the cruise ticket.

In some cases, a court will reject the cruise line’s choice of law, and apply United States maritime or admiralty laws or the laws of another legal jurisdiction.

When a person is injured on shore, and the cruise line was not involved, the law of the state or country where the accident happened may determine an individual’s rights.

To make a proper claim, the attorney must investigate all the relevant evidence and evaluate the circumstances surrounding the accident, including the place it occurred, the negligent acts that created the hazard, and the relationship of the careless individuals to the cruise line.

If you or a loved one was hurt while on a cruise, submit a simple, free consultation form now. We are ready to help today.