Slip and Fall at Sea: Cruise Ship Injuries 101
Vacations are a time to relax and unwind, so the last thing you want to experience is an accident or injury. Cruise ship injuries are fairly common than people know. These injuries may result from cruise ship activities, negligence, or other reasons. People who have had their vacations and enjoyment cut short by such accidents and injuries can hire a cruise ship injury attorney to seek redress.
Before seeking redress, you must know all the important aspects of a cruise ship injury, the common injuries, who you can sue, and your chances of seeking recompense for damages suffered. All of these and more are addressed in the following sections.
Common Causes of Cruise Ship Accidents
Cruise ship passenger accidents are more common than most people know. A recent study into cruise ships carrying over 700 passengers recorded over 663 passenger injuries over three years. About 45% of the injured passengers sustained injuries from slip and fall accidents aboard the cruise ship. 69% suffered injuries while on land.
Another study reported over 300 people to have fallen overboard on cruise ships between the years 2000 and 2018. Taking the alarming numbers into account, it is important to understand the common causes of accidents on cruise ships.
Below are some of the common causes of cruise ship accidents;
- Unsafe or slippery conditions on deck caused by overflowing pools, insufficient lighting, etc.
- Poorly designed architectural features
- Slippery surfaces caused by wet floors or wet gangways
- Poorly maintained docks, floors, or cruise ship amenities
- Fires onboard cruise ships causing panic and commotion
- Poorly maintained escalators, elevators, stairs, and handrails
- Lack of lifeguards or adequate safety measures
- Failure to take safety precautions in rough water
- Improper hygiene or sanitation onboard the cruise ship
- Lack of proper medical attention onboard cruise ships
- Medical malpractice arising from negligence or other reasons
- Misconduct among cruise ship staff and members.
Can you sue a cruise ship for injuries?
Cruise ship passengers who have sustained injuries aboard such water vessels may be able to sue the operator for their damages. However, this type of injury is unlike other personal injury accidents.
Cruise ship accidents are regarded as accidents on international waters or foreign soil and must be treated as such. You’ll need to act quickly and consult with a cruise ship accident lawyer who will examine your case and determine the next line of action.
Again, unlike other types of personal injury cases on US soil, cruise ship accidents have a short statute of limitation, often less than a year. This means that accident victims must file their injury claim within the period or forfeit their chance of seeking redress for their losses.
If you have suffered an injury on a cruise ship, where you file the lawsuit against the cruise ship operator will depend on the following factors;
- Where the cruise line or operator is incorporated
- The facts of your case and how maritime law applies to it
- The departure and destination point of the cruise ship
- The language on the cruise ship ticket you purchased
- International treaties that exists between your country and the cruise line operator’s country (if different).
Can you recover damages in a cruise ship lawsuit?
You may be able to seek damages in a cruise ship accident if you have a claim to file. Your cruise ship injury attorney will generally go over the reports of the cruise ship operator’s investigations as well as your reports. The lawyer will also analyze your injuries, where they occurred, and how they can prepare a claim case for you.
Injury victims may be able to seek damages for common losses like;
- Their past, present, and future medical bills. Future medical bills is important in cases of permanent disability or when the victim hasn’t reached maximum medical improvement.
- Cost of long-term rehabilitation or care, home improvements, medical transportation costs, etc.
- Lost wages on account of accident injury and inability to work.
- Victims may also be able to claim loss of earning capacity if the injury has rendered them unable to return to work.
- Pain and suffering. This includes an estimated monetary value for the losses experienced due to pain and suffering caused by the injury. Suffering may also include mental suffering, physical pain, and emotional distress.
Cruise ship injury victims may be able to claim more or fewer damages depending on the facts of their case. In instances where the victim died, the family may be able to file a wrongful death suit against the cruise line or cruise ship operator. Such claims, when won, often involve funeral costs, costs of medical treatment prior to the victim’s death, and others.
It is important to consult with an experienced cruise ship attorney if you have been involved in a cruise ship accident.