Although it’s far safer now than when the Titanic sank in 1912, cruises are certainly not risk-free. In fact, several major disasters have occurred in the last few years alone. In January 2012, the Costa Concordia crashed into a reef, killing 32 passengers and crewmembers in the process. Two years earlier, hundreds of guests were stricken ill aboard the Celebrity Mercury, which was carrying over 2,600 people.
Icebergs, coral reefs, and food poisoning always grab headlines, but they don’t account for most of the Injuries on board cruise ships. Such high-profile accidents are, in fact, quite rare. About 10 million Americans take cruises each year, traveling on huge commercial vessels to destinations close to home and abroad. Most return home safe and sound. When guests are injured onboard, the Injuries are generally reported as slips and falls. If you were injured in such an accident, seeking damages from a cruise line can be difficult due to the contract you signed when boarding. However, with the help of a Personal Injury Lawyer, you can still be compensated for your Injury.
The cruise ships of today make the RMS Titanic look like a dinghy. That legendary vessel, which gained fame due to its size and unfortunate sinking, could only accommodate about half as many passengers as today’s big boats can carry. Modern ships can also carry several times the weight, or gross tonnage, of earlier ocean liners. They are essentially floating cities that house restaurants, casinos, pools, cabins, and even shopping malls. With so many activities and so many passengers, it is fairly common for people to get hurt on board, especially on open-air decks.
It takes an army of maintenance people to swab the tens of thousands of square feet of decks that exist on modern ships. When these decks are neglected, they get wet from the ocean air, resulting in an inordinate number of slips and falls. Some of these accidents could have been prevented, but liability is often hard to prove.
Before they set sail or disembark, all guests on a cruise ship must sign a contract that includes numerous exculpatory clauses. While these pages and pages of provisions and conditions are designed to Protect these companies from Lawyers, a good Personal Injury Lawyer has the expertise to identify when and how the cruise ship’s staff may have been negligent.
A Personal Injury Lawyer can help you file a claim by demonstrating that the ship’s staff was negligent in their responsibility to provide a safe environment. As mentioned earlier, accidents onboard cruise ships often involve slips and falls, either on the deck or down a flight of stairs. Although the burden of proof is on the injured party, a good Attorney can examine the evidence and help you convince the judge or jury in court that the accident could have been prevented if the crew had taken the proper precautions.
Proving The Case
Because they involve contract law, these cases must often be filed in the state or jurisdiction where the contract was to be carried out. So a passenger from New York who set sail for the Caribbean will almost certainly have to file his lawsuit in a federal court in Florida. Therefore, it’s even more important that you Find legal representation you can trust to act on your behalf in your absence. Although the contract provisions established by cruise lines can make compensation difficult, if you sustained a serious or permanent Injury, be sure to immediately contact a Personal Injury Lawyer who can take the proper steps to ensure victims have a good chance of recovering damages.