A cruise is usually a fun excursion for passengers, filled with on-board activities, meals, and trips to ports of call. But when things go wrong, the results can often be very serious, ranging from illness or injury to death. If the cruise line and its employees could have reasonably prevented the harm from occurring, you may be able to take legal action. You can be compensated for medical expenses incurred, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
The following are some common instances in which cruise lines can be held liable for damages:
A ship serves as a temporary home to thousands of passengers, which makes proper sanitation paramount. In one instance, however, more than 4,200 cruise ship passengers were trapped for days on a ship with power and plumbing issues. As a result, they were exposed to raw sewage from overflowing toilets that soaked cabins and interior passages. This had the potential to cause serious illnesses, such as hepatitis.
On other ships, contagious illnesses have spread quickly. It may be possible to sue if it can be proved that the ship didn't follow proper sanitation procedures.
For years, medical malpractice suits against cruise lines haven't been winnable due to a series of court rulings. Courts have said that medical personnel were independent contractors beyond the cruise lines' control and that passengers couldn't expect the same level of care on a ship as they might normally receive.
However, a 2014 federal appeals court ruling has rejected these arguments and opened the door to medical malpractice lawsuits. If you've received care – or lack of care – that was negligent, you may be able to prove medical malpractice.
Cruise lines are responsible for keeping their ships reasonably free from hazardous conditions. Some accidents may be unavoidable or could be the passenger's fault. For example, if you trip on a stair that had no defects or other issues, the cruise line and its employees wouldn't be responsible. But if they left water on a floor and failed to mop it up within a reasonable period of time, they could be held responsible if you fall and are injured as a result.
Cruise lines are also responsible for making sure that any water slides, zip lines, pools, hot tubs, or other on-board activities are safely designed and maintained.
The cruise line is responsible for the actions of its employees. If an employee assaulted you, he or she, as well as the company, could be held liable.
A Canadian sociologist has studied sexual assaults on cruise ships and says that they are more common than on land. An alcohol-filled climate in which passengers let down their guard with crew members who sometimes behave in a predatory manner contributes to the higher level, he says.
In addition, background checks aren't always conducted by the cruise lines, which could lead to a person with a history of violence being hired.
If you've been injured as a result of a cruise line's negligence, contact an experienced attorney, such as Kiernan Personal Injury Attorneys PA, for advice about possible legal action.