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Injured on a Cruise Ship? Know Your Rights

February 26, 2024
Personal Injury

What to Know About Filing a Cruise Ship Lawsuit

For many people, a cruise ship offers the perfect vacation experience. Today, many cruise lines like Carnival and Royal Caribbean offer endless food options, fun excursions, and lots of entertainment. Unfortunately, injuries and even deaths can happen on these ships. 

Whether you are about to take a cruise or are currently on one, it is important to know your rights if you are injured on a cruise ship.

What Are Your Rights As a Cruise Ship Passenger?

If you are injured on a cruise ship as a passenger, you have a number of rights. Even if you signed a waiver of liability or accepted their ticket contract, you may still be able to pursue a legal claim against the cruise line for damages. These claims are generally based on the theory of negligence.

Your rights if you are injured as a cruise ship passenger:

  • You may have the right to sue for damages if you are injured on the ship
  • You have the right to legal representation.
  • You have the right to a refund if the cruise is canceled or delayed due to mechanical failures.
  • You have the right to timely updates. 

These are only a few of the many rights that are granted to cruise ship passengers. Most cruise lines base their Passenger Bill of Rights on the International Cruise Line Passenger Bill of Rights established in 2013 by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Common Injuries on Cruise Ships

It is important to note that even though you have limited your right to sue in certain situations, you are generally still able to pursue a lawsuit against a cruise ship when their negligence causes you harm.

Common injuries on cruise ships:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Broken bones
  • Food poisoning
  • Internal bleeding
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Sprains and strains
  • Burn injuries

Any injury experienced on a cruise ship should be reported. Even minor scrapes and bruises may worsen over time. Seeking prompt medical treatment may benefit your physical and financial recovery. It is essential not to exacerbate your injuries or make them worse over time due to inaction. You only have a limited amount of time to file a cruise ship lawsuit, so it is imperative to act fast.

Injuries That Cruise Ships Are Liable For

In most cases, you waive the right to sue a cruise line for injuries that you caused the minute you walk on the vessel. However, the waiver cannot eliminate a person’s right to file a lawsuit based on the cruise line’s negligent act. If the cruise line operator was negligent, causing you harm, you need to consult with an attorney immediately. 

A cruise ship may be liable for injuries related to a slip and fall accident, falling overboard, or another act caused by the cruise ship’s negligence. One of the most critical things you can do is consult with a lawyer after an injury. 

A lawyer can help provide guidance about your legal options. In most cases, cruise lines must receive notice of the injury or claim within 180 to 185 days. Additionally, the lawsuit itself must be filed within one year in the specified district court. Failure to file the case timely could result in your claim being denied. 

Common Crewmember Injuries

Passengers are not the only people who can be seriously injured or even killed on a cruise. Crewmembers often suffer devastating injuries while working on a cruise ship. If you are a crew member hurt on the job, you may be able to take legal action.

Common crewmember injuries:

  • Injuries related to slip and fall accidents
  • Broken hands or feet
  • Head and neck injuries
  • Repetitive use injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Spinal cord trauma
  • Sexual assault injuries

If you are injured while working, you need to file a report immediately. If you are considered a seaman under federal law, you will be able to file a Jones Act claim for compensation. An experienced lawyer can help you move forward with your case. 

Are Passengers Ever Liable For Their Own Injuries?

While some injuries will result in a cruise ship lawsuit, others will not. When you purchase a ticket for a cruise ship, you likely do not read the fine print that limits the liability of the cruise line operator. Most tickets will have fine print that states the cruise line is not liable for injuries or death unless negligent.

While this general statement does not protect the cruise line from all personal injury lawsuits, it may limit their liability if a passenger causes harm to themselves or if the passenger’s negligence was the primary cause of their injuries. Therefore, under certain circumstances, a passenger may be liable for their own injuries. 

Does Travelers Insurance Cover Injuries?

When you purchase cruise tickets, you are likely given the option to purchase travel insurance. Most people assume that the only reason to purchase insurance is to protect your investment, meaning you receive reimbursement if the trip is canceled. However, traveler's insurance offers far more benefits that are rarely utilized.

While each policy is slightly different, most provide compensation for your medical expenses if you become sick or are injured during the cruise. Additionally, insurance may cover a medical evacuation to ensure you receive the care and treatment you need. 

Cruise ships are often limited in the medical services they can provide, so it is usually necessary to airlift critically injured patients to the nearest hospital. The cost of this can be extraordinary, so having this covered is essential. 

Choosing the Right Team for Your Case

If you have been injured on a cruise ship, choosing the right legal team can prove critical. You will want to work with experienced attorneys who have proven results

At Mase Seitz Briggs, our lawyers will work tirelessly to ensure you receive the largest possible recovery you deserve. We know how to hold cruise lines accountable for their negligence and wrongdoing. Contact our office now to schedule a free consultation. All case evaluations are confidential and provided without obligation to retain our services.

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