So, who is liable for cruise ship injuries? Read on to find out.
Laws Governing Cruise Ships
Common carriers like cruise ships, ferries, commercial flights, and buses are often held to a much higher standard of care than the average person. This is what is known as common carrier law.
Common carrier law states that the cruise crew and operator need to exercise reasonable care to prevent injuries. They also have to operate according to maritime law.
A cruise ship line can be held liable for injuries under maritime law if the operator was aware of a dangerous situation or should have known about it. If you are injured on a cruise ship, you have three years from the accident date to file your claim.
However, your time to file can be cut short due to the carrier's contract, which is agreed upon when you purchase a cruise ticket.
Reading the Fine Print
Always read the fine print before purchasing a cruise ticket. With your purchase, you agree to the cruise operator's terms and conditions. Some clauses may reference limited liability waivers, forum-selection clauses, and notice-requirement clauses.
The company can be released from liability for certain damages with a limited liability waiver, like emotional distress. So, it is important to read the fine print before agreeing to the terms when purchasing your cruise tickets.
A cruise operator is not always going to be strictly liable for passenger injuries. This means that passengers cannot assume that the operator will automatically be held liable. Instead, the injured party must prove that the injuries were caused as the result of negligence or willful actions on the operator's part. Negligence, under maritime law, is determined when it can be proven that the cruise operator had knowledge or a reasonable expectation of something that would potentially be hazardous to passengers.
An exception to this maritime law is when a crew member's negligence caused the injuries or when the injury occurs when the passengers are onshore in a port of call. A cruise operator may not be held liable for the injuries in these cases.
Keep in mind that this doesn't apply to the medical personnel on the crew, though. They are considered independent contractors and are not an actual cruise line employee. They have to be properly licensed and trained.
Cruise Ship Injuries
If you are injured on a cruise, you will most likely be told to go to the medical office on board. You will then fill out an accident report. This report will then trigger an investigation into the injuries and what happened. If you fail to go to the medical office to report your injuries, visit the Purser's desk.
All cruise ships that depart from US ports and are common carriers owe passengers a specified duty of care when it comes to protecting passengers from harm and ensuring they get to their intended destination safely.
If you were injured on a cruise ship due to an accident, excursion accident, or medical negligence, you might be able to sue the cruise line for those injuries, as long as you can prove they were responsible.
Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
As you can see, cruise line injuries and other boating accident injuries can often prove to be complicated and frustrating at times. So, it may be in your best interest to hire an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you navigate the process and ensure you receive the compensation you rightfully deserve for your injuries.