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What Do You Do If You Suffer an Injury While on a Cruise?

Posted on May 24, 2011

Injuries have been known to occur during a cruise, which after all is a small city of more than 5,000 people. For example, Cruise Junkie reports there have been 160 people who have gone overboard and were never found since 1995. Cruise Junkie is run by a professor in Newfoundland, who is fond of cruising and takes his reports from newspaper accounts.

Last July, a 14-year-old was caught in gang crossfire and killed in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands while on an excursion from a cruise. And it happened to a woman who claims while on a Carnival Cruise in Jamaica last year, she was injured by a bobsled ride. In her complaint filed against Carnival, she states that the ride is a subsidiary of Carnival and names the other involved excursions, Rainforest Adventures, Elite Shore Excursions Foundation, Mystic Mountain Limited and XYZ Corporation. The XYZ Corporation is said to represent the owner of Bobsled Jamaica & Dunn’s River Falls excursion.

The woman claims she was injured on the Bobsled ride July 21, 2010, when the seatbelt restraint failed. She suffered physical and mental pain, loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, post traumatic stress disorder, and other mental conditions. She claims to have a physical handicap and will face lost earnings now and in the future. She says her injuries are permanent. Her complaint alleges negligence against Carnival for failing to take reasonable or ordinary care, for failing to maintain equipment, and failing to warn about the dangers and to make sure that the ride operators were properly trained.

Many of you may be wondering: What to do if you are injured on or off of a cruise ship?

  • Immediately file a notice to the cruise line, certainly within six months of the injury in the form of a certified letter. This would include any type of injury, a slip and fall, head injury, food poisoning, a pool accident, an injury from flying debris on deck, or a sexual assault, among others.
  • Take pictures of the injury even if you have to use a cell phone.

The cruise industry will point to the small print on the back of the excursion and cruise tickets to try and avoid liability, however, Florida maritime law imposes some responsibility on the cruise industry. Courts have rejected the arguments of the cruise industry that they are not liable for passenger injuries because the cruise liner has an obligation to protect its passenger by at least warning them of the potential for dangers, whether it is on an excursion ride or at a particularly dangerous beach or town. In addition, the cruise line is expected to select a competent and safe tour operator. A failure to do so could be considered negligence.

Make sure you are advised by a reputable Florida cruise ship injury accident lawyer if you suffer an injury at sea or while on an excursion from a cruise ship. You may be able to recover your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages, among other compensation.