When most people get on a cruise ship, they are with friends or family and are looking forward to having a fun time. Whether you are going to the Caribbean or somewhere a bit further, cruises are enjoyable, popular, and generally safe options for a vacation. That does not, however, mean they are without problems. Negligent behavior like breaking safety regulations, cutting corners, and failing to care for guests can lead to injury and even death.
As a guest on a cruise line, you have a reasonable expectation of safety. You believe the crew and others in charge of operating the ship are doing what they can to keep you and other passengers safe. If this doesn’t happen, and you or someone you know is injured in a cruise ship accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact an experienced cruise ship accident attorney at Neufeld Law Firm today. We can’t get your carefree vacation back, but we can ensure that you receive the damages to which you are entitled.
PREMISES LIABILITY ON CRUISE SHIPS
Most cruise lines have a robust plan in place to release themselves from culpability for any injuries that happen on one of their ships. If you and your friends are planning on taking a cruise, or if you've suffered an injury that occurred on a recent cruise, you should take the time to understand your rights. Reaching out to a skilled cruise ship accident personal injury lawyer can help.
Your first objective while on a cruise is to make sure you have a plan to stay safe. Enjoying a few drinks throughout the day is part of the fun of being on a ship in the ocean with a group—none of you have to drive for several days. But completely losing your inhibitions and throwing caution to the wind can lead to injury or damages to others onboard and ashore. This is important to remember in the event your injury becomes a legal issue.
To establish a case, you will need to demonstrate that the cruise line was in some way negligent and that you, the injured party, took reasonable precautions to avoid injury. Being highly intoxicated or participating in high-risk activities not only puts you in danger, but it can potentially ruin your case.
CRUISE SHIP LOOPHOLES
Cruise lines can try to limit your rights or completely release themselves from premises liability with pages and pages of fine print at the bottom of your ticket. In addition, clauses and specifications can release the cruise line from injuries occurring shore side on any outing at port. Some of these fine print "contracts" will hold up in court, and others may not.
The main thing to understand is that there is a certain amount of risk involved in a trip of any kind. It’s the job of cruise lines to mitigate those risks for customers as much as possible to ensure that everyone is kept safe. If this is not done and cruise ship employees ignore problems that eventually cause injury, you may have a case. If you or any of your friends and family are injured on cruise ship premises or an excursion ashore, you should contact the personal injury lawyers of Neufeld Law Firm right away.
Cruise ships often include language in their release forms and the fine print of their tickets that limits the statute of limitations to just one year. They often also require that the cruise line be notified of any potential claim within six months! Any claim after that period likely won’t be accepted. This is an enormous part of the reason you need to act quickly if you or someone you know was injured in a cruise ship accident.
While cruise lines are not known for unfair dealings, they are still a business. They may, at times, do things that are unethical or not in your best interest in order to protect themselves. Such decisions can have negative impacts on your safety and the safety of others aboard.
YOUR VULNERABILITIES ABROAD
More often than not, your family will be safe aboard a cruise ship. Despite loopholes available to them, it behooves cruise lines to do their best to make sure their passengers are safe and protected. They want to protect their reputation. However, here are some things you should be aware of when booking a cruise:
- Most cruise ships are registered in a country other than the United States.
- Most cruises travel into international waters where US law may not apply.
- International Maritime Law often applies when, for example, an incident occurs between individuals from two different countries on a ship registered in a third country along waters belonging to a fourth country. Clearly, things get confusing, and you may need legal counsel to untangle the situation.
- Until December 2014, few cruise ship-related crimes were ever reported. However, cruise lines are now required to disclose crime statistics.
People who choose to spend the time and money to relax for a few days on a trusted cruise ship do so with the assumption that they and their families will be safe. If an injury occurs on such a trip, contact the personal injury attorneys at Neufeld Law Firm to start the conversation about your legal options.
TYPES OF CRUISE SHIP ACCIDENTS
Cruise ship accidents commonly fall into one of the following five categories:
While the dock might seem harmless, it is actually one of the places where you are most likely to get injured. Whether it’s slippery floors, unlevel surfaces, or faulty equipment, risks are everywhere—and you have to make sure to be careful when getting on and off a docked boat or ship.
Part of playing your role in personal safety means wearing the right gear. If you know that you are going to be moving on a potentially wet dock with multiple surfaces and elevations, you should wear appropriate footwear and clothing. Doing so will help keep you safe and ensure you don't slip and fall. This does not, however, mean that you are protected entirely from all kinds of accidents. There are cases in which faulty equipment and negligent or distracted cruise line staff can cause accidents that end up harming you or those with you. When this happens, you may be eligible for compensation.
On longer cruises, passengers will spend time being shuttled back and forth on "tenders." Tenders are smaller boats that are used to bring passengers ashore so they can participate in activities, eat, and shop. While generally safe, a variety of accidents occur while passengers are getting on and off tender boats. This is due, at least in part, to the excitement surrounding being at a new destination as well as the anticipation of whatever activity is planned. Even so, it is the cruise lines' responsibility to ensure that you and its other passengers are safe and taken care of when traveling aboard their tender boats.
MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS
If your cruise ship docks at a destination for one or more days, the cruise line is often responsible for helping passengers book cars, bikes, buses, and other forms of transportation. In cases in which the cruise is involved in booking these additional forms of transportation, they also assume some responsibility. If you were injured on land in a motor vehicle that was prepared or "hosted" by a cruise line, you might be able to seek compensation for your damages. Call the experienced cruise ship accident attorneys of Neufeld Law Firm today to learn more about your options.
Injuries that occur on cruise ships due to defective or malfunctioning equipment are often the responsibility of cruise lines. After all, it isn’t your job as a guest on a cruise to personally inspect all of the ship's equipment before boarding! You go aboard with the reasonable assumption that all is in working order. If that does not end up being the case and you or someone you know is injured on a cruise ship because of defective or malfunctioning equipment, you should seek out qualified legal counsel and pursue justice.
Cruise lines are expected to keep passengers safe while they are onboard and during onshore excursions. Inadequate security can result in a number of injuries and losses. Some cruises report incidents of robbery, assault, and other crimes involving passengers. You should do your best to keep yourself and those with you safe, but there are times when things are out of your hands. If anything of the sort happens, an experienced attorney can help you determine whether the cruise line is liable due to inadequate security.
HOW NEUFELD LAW FIRM CAN HELP WITH YOUR CRUISE SHIP ACCIDENT CASE
When it comes to dealing with cruise lines, victims are often in contention with large corporations that have powerful legal resources at their beck and call. As such, it pays to have attorneys who know what they are doing and who will aggressively defend your interests. The personal injury lawyers at Neufeld Law Firm can and will do just that.
As mentioned, many cruise ship accidents have a short statute of limitations, so time is of the essence. Don’t wait until it’s too late to seek justice. If you or someone you know was injured on a cruise ship, reach out to Neufeld Law Firm as soon as possible.