Legal Advice for Cruise Ship Trip and Fall Accident Victims
Trip and falls are the second largest cause of injuries in the U.S. after automobile accidents. These injuries are especially common aboard cruise ships due to the hazardous environment. Often slippery floors, inadequate lighting in different areas of the ship and various unforeseeable obstacles can only increase the chances of unaware passengers, who maybe had one drink too many, to slip and fall. Official cruise ship accident statistics don't even have a section for slip and fall accidents.
However, passengers need to be aware of the risk, as an apparently simple trip and fall can result in more severe injuries like:
- broken bones
- spinal cord injuries
- traumatic brain injuries
If that happens, at the Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary, we are glad to represent injured victims in their process of recovering damages from negligent cruise liner companies.
Depending on the severity of the injuries, passengers are legally entitled to recover compensation, if the accident was the result of someone else's fault or negligence. For a valid legal claim, the following criteria have to be met:
- the cruise ship was under a duty towards the passenger
- crew members or the operating company breached their duty
- the passenger sustained injuries as a result
- the injuries resulted in financial damages
These criteria show that the passenger had a valid ticket and was on board accordingly. Cruise ship operating companies and their crew have the responsibility to provide their passengers a relatively safe environment and to warn them about dangerous conditions correctly. In case they fail to do so, leaving a stairway unenlightened, failing to mop off a wet floor, or failing to put a visible warning sign, and any passenger trips and falls sustaining consistent injuries, the company will be legally required to pay the monetary damages resulted from the injury.
However, passengers need to be aware of several other details that might compromise their chances of recovering damages. Their cruise ticket has the value of a legal document. It should be kept and read carefully, to make sure requirements regarding a potential claim are met. For example, most cruise line operating companies require their passengers to send a written accident report within six months after the injury. All claims must be filed within one year after the accident, and most often they have to be registered in the state where the company is based.
Besides that, most cruise lines register their ships in foreign countries. The law of the country of registration may also apply, just like the legislation of the state where the ship departed and, of course, maritime laws. To find their way through these various legal systems, cruise ship accident victims need an experienced maritime attorney, to preserve their chances of recovering just compensation.