Cruise Ship Accident Lawyer

Cruise Ship Accident

Although cruise lines take numerous precautions to avoid onboard accidents, passengers can —and do — suffer injuries. Poorly lit stairwells, slippery floors, and contaminated food are common ways passengers get hurt aboard cruise ships. If you were involved in a cruise ship accident, you might be entitled to hold the cruise line accountable for your injuries. However, you should not pursue legal action without hiring an experienced lawyer.

At the Law Offices of Pius Joseph, we have over 30 years of experience advocating for the rights of injury victims in California. Call or contact us online for a free consultation with a cruise ship accident lawyer in Pasadena.

Are Cruise Ship Accidents Common?

Cruise ships can carry as many as 4,000 people, and up to 80 percent of accidents are due to human error, according to the journal Research in Transportation Business & Management. The most common types of cruise ship accidents include:

  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Vessel collisions
  • Elevator accidents
  • Food poisoning
  • Slip and falls
  • Running aground
  • Fires
  • Assault and other crimes
  • Recreational accidents
  • Drowning
  • Falling overboard
  • Toxic exposure

Common Types of Cruise Ship Injuries

The injuries that passengers on cruise ships suffer can range from minor to severe. Examples of common cruise ship injuries include: 

  • Drowning
  • Infections
  • Food poisoning
  • Joint dislocation
  • Burn injuries
  • Internal bleeding
  • Broken bones
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Lacerations
  • Sprained or pulled muscles
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Electric shock
  • Back injuries

Who Has Jurisdiction Over Cruise Lines?

Cruise lines can choose which court will have jurisdiction over any lawsuits that passengers bring against them. Typically, a cruise ship ticket contains a forum selection clause specifying the state where a passenger may bring a lawsuit against the cruise line. The ticket acts as a contract between the cruise line and the passenger. 

Typically, cruise ship passengers must also sign liability waivers. When you sign a liability waiver, you give up your right to take legal action against the cruise line if you get hurt. Although a liability waiver could prevent you from suing for compensation for your injury, specific exceptions might allow a lawsuit. For example, if the cruise ship’s owner didn’t perform necessary vessel maintenance and the lack of care led to the accident that injured you, you could likely sue the owner. 

Multiple parties might be liable for injuries from a cruise ship accident, including the cruise ship’s owner, the company that charters the cruise ship, the company that operates the cruise ship, or the company that sells the cruise tickets. 

Even if the owner or operator of a cruise line is not directly responsible for a passenger’s injuries, they might still be liable for medical bills and other expenses resulting from the accident. 

Imagine a cruise ship employee doesn’t clean up a spilled drink on the floor, causing a passenger to slip and break their hip. The cruise ship company could be liable for injuries caused by the negligence of its employee. 

What is the Statute of Limitations for Cruise Ship Accidents in California?

The deadline to file a lawsuit after a cruise ship accident depends on your contract. A cruise ship contract will often specify a deadline for passengers to bring claims against the company. The statute of limitations for bringing a lawsuit could vary depending on the jurisdiction where the case will be heard.

An injured cruise ship passenger must typically provide written notice within six months of the injury or accident of their intention to file a claim. Lawsuits generally must be filed within one year of the injury or accident in the court designated by the cruise line. Seek help from a trusted cruise ship accident attorney who can review your contract and determine the deadline for filing your claim.

What Should You Do if You Are Involved in a Cruise Ship Accident?

If you get hurt on a cruise ship, seek medical care immediately. Every cruise ship has a medical center for injured passengers. Seeing a doctor after the accident creates a record of the incident and your injury.

A physician can evaluate your injury, provide a diagnosis, and recommend follow-up care for when you disembark the ship. If the injury is severe, the ship might need to dock at a nearby port, or a helicopter can evacuate you to get you the treatment you need.

Always follow your doctor’s recommended treatment plan and attend every follow-up appointment. Skipping appointments, deviating from the treatment plan, or stopping medical care too soon can harm your chances of pursuing compensation because it could signal you didn’t take your health seriously. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses that aim to save money by reducing the value of claims or issuing denials when possible. If an insurance adjuster sees proof of inconsistent or inadequate treatment of your injuries, it could give the insurer justification to offer a lowball settlement or deny your claim.

Keep all documents and records related to the cruise ship accident. Hold onto copies of hospital bills, doctor’s bills, rehabilitative notes, prescriptions, medical records, and other evidence showing the nature and extent of your injury. These documents will help your attorney place a value on your case.

Finally, consult a cruise ship accident lawyer. A seasoned attorney can investigate the claim and handle all negotiations with the insurance company while you recuperate from your injuries. 

Hire a Cruise Ship Accident Injury Attorney

Cruises are supposed to be relaxing. But if the worst happened and you got hurt on a cruise, the party responsible for your injuries could owe you money. At the Law Offices of Pius Joseph, we provide effective, compassionate legal representation to cruise ship injury victims. We can build a strong case and aggressively seek maximum compensation for you. Call or contact us online for a free consultation with a Pasadena cruise ship accident lawyer.