Fort Lauderdale Cruise Ship Injury Attorney
Nearly thirteen million Americans take a cruise every year, and they are one of the most popular ways to take a vacation for people who wish to travel outside of the United States. However, what can start out as a nice vacation can take a horrible turn if you or your loved one is injured on a cruise ship. Like any other vacation destination, cruise ships have a duty to keep their ship safe and can be held liable for negligence or hazardous conditions that lead to accidents during a cruise. As one of the top personal injury firms in Florida, Boone & Davis and its experienced Fort Lauderdale cruise ship injury attorneys have zealously advocated for many clients who start or end their cruise from our port city and are injured during their time on the sea.
- Cruise Ship Injury Claims
- Crewmember & Seamen Injury
- Cruise Ship Activities Injury
- Cruise Ship Safety Drill Accident
- Cruise Ship Shore Excursion Injury
- Cruise Ship Slip & Fall Accident
- Onboard Medical Malpractice
Common Cruise Ship Injuries
Cruise ships offer a wide range of activities on board the ship, and the larger the ship, the more there typically is to do. An average cruise ship has multiple floors, thousands of rooms, shopping areas, theaters, pools, restaurants, bars, play areas, exercise rooms, and more. Some larger ships even have zip lines, rock climbing walls, ice skating rinks, and many other forms of entertainment. Cruise ships have an obligation to keep all areas of activity safe and free from dangerous hazards that could cause a passenger harm. There are many ways in which a passenger can be injured during a cruise, including but not limited to, the following:
- Rock climbing wall injuries
- Swimming pool accidents
- Escalator and elevator accidents
- Exercise equipment malfunctions
- Struck by unsecured objects
- Food poisoning
- Norovirus outbreaks
- Legionnaires disease outbreaks
- Over-service of alcohol
- Falls from balconies, and more.
Safety Tips for Cruising
Accidents and injuries can happen in many different ways on a cruise, but there are steps and tips that you can keep in mind to help minimize the chances of anything going wrong while you and your loved ones are on a cruise. The cruise ship injury attorneys at Boone & Davis in Fort Lauderdale have created a series of safety tips after handling so many cruise ship injury cases that will hopefully help you have fun and be safe while on your vacation.
Don’t Let a Fun Vacation Turn into a Tragedy
The sinking of the Costa Concordia was a tragic and grim reminder of what can go wrong on a cruise ship, even when the ship is close to land. Cruises are intended to be fun vacations for you and your family, but it is important to keep in mind what can go wrong and to be prepared for anything while cruising. While protecting the rights of the victims of cruise ships accidents, our law firm has a keen understanding of how a fun trip onboard a cruise can go horribly awry.
Safety Tips for Your Cruise
The personal injury attorneys at Boone & Davis care about your safety while on a cruise. Because we have handled so many cases where our clients have been injured while on a cruise, we suggest the following tips to have a safe and incident free trip while on vacation with your family and loved ones.
- Check for travel warnings before you leave for your cruise.
- Consider travel insurance, and pay attention to the type of policy you are purchasing as well as what it covers.
- Pack two submersible flashlights for onboard and shore excursions.
- Sign up for shore excursions through the cruise ship.
- Keep your medications close in case of emergency, and call your own doctor in the United States if a medical emergency occurs.
- Find your assigned lifeboat as soon as you get onboard and share the information with your family.
- Find your muster station before the emergency drill even begins.
- Know the muster drill and pay attention when crew is giving safety instructions.
- Locate the life vests in your cabin and elsewhere on the ship.
- Recognize the cruise ship’s evacuation signal, which is seven short blasts followed by one long one.
- Trust your instincts. If something does not feel right, don’t risk it.
Excursion Injuries on Cruises
Passengers on cruise ships may also be entitled to damages if they are injured during a shore excursion, even if the injury took place off board the ship. When a passenger signs up for a shore excursion that is organized, promoted, and sanctioned by the cruise the expectation is that the excursion meets all the standards of safety of the other activities offered by the cruise. However, injuries during excursions happen more often than passengers realize, and cruise lines routinely try to claim that they are not liable for accidents that happen off board the ship. This area of liability and law is often complex, and you need an experienced cruise ship injury attorney to hold the cruise line accountable for the injuries caused by their excursions.
Slip & Fall Injuries
Another common cause of injuries onboard cruise ships are slip and fall accidents. Cruise ships have a duty to keep all common areas free of hazards, including conditions that lead to slip and falls on the ship. This includes keeping decks, stairs, and hallways from getting too wet and slippery for passengers to safely walk in addition to other conditions that lead to slip and fall accidents on ships. Inadequate lighting, loose or missing handrails, cracked steps and flooring, and worn down nonskid deck surfaces all can contribute to hazardous conditions that cause slip and fall accidents. And when those accidents occur, the passengers injured are entitled to damages for their injuries.
Cruise Ship Medical Malpractice
One other common cause of injury on cruise ships is medical malpractice by onboard medical professionals. Oftentimes, cruise ships stop at ports in countries with substandard medical care, and cruise ships are expected to maintain medical facilities onboard that can handle accidents like a slip and fall or other injury on the ship. However, most medical professionals on cruises are not licensed in the United States and only have the most basic equipment to treat a passenger that becomes sick or injured during the trip. If a cruise advertises a competent medical facility and then fails to provide the proper standard of care to patients, they can be held liable for the malpractice caused by the cruise line’s medical staff.
Can I File a Claim For Injuries?
Cruise ships have some of the most complicated and complex laws for filing a claim if you or a family member is injured while onboard. In many cases, your ticket contains fine print that states you must file a claim for injuries within 180 days after the accident to put the cruise line on notice and must file a lawsuit within one year of the accident in order to preserve your claim. The lawsuit must also be filed in the venue specified by the cruise line, which in many cases is in the Fort Lauderdale area. Because of these restrictions on filing a claim for damages, it is important that you secure the services of an experienced cruise ship injury attorney to represent your case.
Crewmember Injuries on Cruise Ships
Crewmembers on cruise ships also have rights and are entitled to compensation if they are injured while on duty during a cruise. Typically, crewmembers are considered “seamen” under admiralty and maritime law, which invokes certain rights and benefits under the Jones Act. Crewmembers on board cruise ships can hold the cruise lines liable for damages if their employer was aware of a hazardous condition on the ship and did nothing to prevent that hazard from causing injury. For employees of cruise ships, you may also be entitled to compensation even if you were injured off board the ship if you were injured while performing your job.
The Jones Act
The Jones Act is meant to protect seamen and dictates who is considered a seaman on a ship as well as the benefits provided to them in case of injury. Crewmembers on cruise ships are entitled to maintenance and cure under the Jones Act, which includes daily living expenses like food and lodging in addition to prompt and adequate medical care for their injuries. Cruise ship employees are entitled to compensation under the Jones Act if the employee can prove that the ship owner’s negligence caused the accident or if the ship is considered unseaworthy in any way.
Speak To an Experienced Cruise Ship Injury Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one was injured during a cruise the clock is already ticking on your claims. If you were injured during an on-board activity, a shore excursion, or through the negligence of crew members on the ship you may have a claim for compensation. Call or contact the office of Boone & Davis in Fort Lauderdale today to speak with one of our experienced cruise ship injury attorneys today about your case.