Cruise Ship Injuries

Today's cruise ships are massive vessels that are essentially floating cities, carrying thousands of passengers and crew members. As these ships become more advanced and the cruise ship industry evolves, there are safety challenges that may arise, including injuries and risks that are distinct from those that may occur on land.

Cruise ships may only have a limited number of law enforcement officers on hand as well as medical services. Despite the limited resources and being among the most unregulated industries, cruise lines can still be held accountable for their negligence in the United States under the country's maritime laws. It is their responsibility to ensure safe, hazard-free premises to minimize the chances of passengers being injured or suffering an accident.

Common injuries, crimes, or accidents that may happen on a cruise include slip and falls due to factors like slippery decks, food poisoning, pool or water slide accidents, falling overboard, and sexual assault. However, cruise lines have restrictions in place that limit where and when a person can file claims for injuries such as these. Some of this information can be found in the "Passenger Ticket Contract" terms but the bulk of it is often buried in the website terms, usually written in extensive legal terms by maritime lawyers that may make it difficult for the average person to understand and know what their rights are. When dealing with cruise ship injuries in Miami, it is imperative to have legal representation that understands maritime law.

The filing of a cruise ship injury claim must begin as soon as possible. Report the incident to the security official or other staff immediately. Ask for a copy immediately after the claim is made or the staff may not provide one. If there are injuries, seek medical treatment at the ship's infirmary and report the accident. The crime should be reported to the FBI in cases of sexual assault or rape.

The Jones Act applies to any seaman who suffers personal injury or loses their life as a result of injuries sustained during their employment. To provide an example, an employer's duty to maintain a safe workplace for a masseuse aboard a cruise ship did not extend to the ship's deck, thus a cruise line's negligence in maintaining the deck could not be implicated to the employer in a Jones Act claim action brought by the masseuse who slipped and fell on a slippery deck.

If the owner of the cruise ship does not maintain the vessel's equipment, an employee may be able to file a claim under the Jones Act as all equipment and parts of the ship must be maintained properly. To illustrate, consider a hatch cover that becomes difficult to open due to significant rust. If the crew member sustains a back injury while attempting to lift the rusted hatch, the employer or cruise line may be held liable for not properly inspecting and maintaining the hatch to prevent rust.

The general information provided above about cruise ship injuries in Fort Lauderdale and Jones Act claims is meant for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for speaking directly with an attorney about the facts and circumstances of your case. Please call 954-500-0003 in Broward or 305-674-0003 in Miami to schedule a consultation with the Law Offices of Mark Eiglarsh.

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