Cruise ship injuries and accidents are governed by maritime law, which governs the following type of accidents:
- Injuries resulting from short excursions;
- Physical assaults caused by intoxicated ship passengers;
- Slip and fall incidents occurring on the cruise ship premises;
- Injuries and fatalities occurring on excursion vehicles;
- Sexual harassment and other criminal acts committed by the ship’s crew members and other ship passengers;
- Falling overboard and at sea disappearances; and
- Catastrophes occurring on the ship, including collisions, sinking and fires.
Understanding Cruise Ship Law
Before embarking on your cruise, passengers are often required to sign a waiver of liability, which generally purports to relieve the owners and operators from liability for injuries experienced while on the water. However, this does not necessarily mean that you are no longer able to file a lawsuit to receive compensation for costs associated with your injuries. Cruise ship injury lawsuits are governed by federal maritime law, which allows cruise ship passengers who have been injured to recover damages for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages, among other costs.
The legal agreement between a cruise passenger and the ship owner or operator is included as part of the ticket purchase. Typically, such agreements specify the forum where the suit can be prosecuted; similarly, the court where the suit is filed may be governed by the terms of this agreement. Because cruise lines are often registered with countries outside of the U.S., foreign law may apply.
In the U.S., those cruise ships that depart from a U.S. port are considered “common carriers” as described under the Federal Shipping Act of 1984. Under the Act, common carriers such as cruise ships owe their passengers a heightened duty of care. According to this heightened duty of care, cruise operators must protect the passengers against physical harm, while also getting the passengers to arrive safely to their final destination.
What does this all mean? While foreign law may apply in your circumstances, and while you may have signed a waiver of liability, you should not be afraid to seek compensation for an injury. Our attorneys will walk you through the process so you understand your rights and are compensated fully.
Contact Anastopoulo Law Firm for Legal Representation
Our attorneys are trained litigators with years of experience with maritime law. We will provide legal representation in your personal injury case to make sure you receive the just compensation you deserve. Contact the cruise ship injury attorneys at the Anastopoulo Law Firm in South Carolina today for a consultation.