While you may go on a cruise with the sole intent to relax, you may, unfortunately, encounter a situation where you are injured. Perhaps you slipped and fell, or you have been assaulted by a ship employee or another passenger. However, determining who is liable for the injury may be a little unclear.
It is important that you determine who is at fault since this information is essential for filing a lawsuit or claim against the person or entity responsible for your injury.
With the aid of a knowledgeable attorney, you’ll be able to determine who is at fault and hopefully secure a victory for your case, so that you’ll receive just compensation.
Whose Negligence Caused the Injury?
Who is responsible for compensating you for your injuries due to your cruise ship accident? Your attorney must initiate an investigation to determine who or what was responsible for your injuries. It could be a number of causes or people:
- A slippery floor in the restaurant or bathrooms
- Cabin doors that shut too quickly
- An assault by a passenger
- Sexual assault by a cruise ship employee
- A poorly designed diving board
- Tainted food
- An onshore excursion company
- Insufficient lighting
Typically, the cruise operators are held responsible for the actions caused by their employees. Furthermore, the operators must ensure that the environment is safe for all cruise passengers. If an employee or environmental hazard caused your injury, then the cruise line is likely determined to be the defendant.
If you were assaulted by another passenger, the cruise line may be held liable if management knew or should have known that the attack would occur. For instance, the passenger who attacked you may have been reported earlier for being violent. Because management was notified of the passenger and they took no action, they could be held liable for your injuries. Another example is if a crime occurred on the ship and the cruise line failed to install security features on the ship.
Offshore vs Onshore
If you were injured during an onshore excursion, liability may be shared between not only the cruise line but also the onshore excursion company. After all, when passengers go on cruises, they typically expect shore excursions to be free of danger.
Statute of Limitations
Typically, the statute of limitations, or the time within which a lawsuit must be filed, for negligence claims is four years. However, if you are injured on a cruise ship or during a shore excursion, the statute of limitations is one year, and a lawsuit typically must be filed in federal court in Miami or even California. Since one year can go by very fast, it is extremely important to contact a cruise ship attorney right away.
With all of that being said, it is important to read the contractual terms and conditions, as well as maritime laws – an independent body of laws, conventions, and treaties that govern private maritime-related business and other nautical matters – and federal regulations that are associated with the particular cruise and cruise line.
You can typically locate these regulations, laws, and contractual statements on the back of your cruise ship ticket. It is also important to file your lawsuit within the time indicated on the back of that ticket.
Finally, you should expect the cruise line to deny liability, even when you are able to sue, so please contact and work with an attorney to build a solid, iron-clad case in order to succeed and receive compensation for your injury.