Cruising is a great vacation choice for couples, families, friends, and multiple generations because cruising offers so many different activities wrapped into one. Cruising can also be a great value — combining dining, overnight accommodations, and a myriad activities for a reasonable price.
But what happens when you’re on a cruise and your spouse comes down with food poisoning or the Norovirus? What recourse do you have and what are your legal rights?
Cruising: The Legal Side
First, it’s important to understand that cruise ships are considered to be “common carriers” — meaning that they must exercise the highest degree of care and diligence for the safety of their passengers. Therefore, cruise ships are obligated to protect their passengers from harm and ensure that all passengers disembark safely at port.
Second, if a cruise ship passenger is exposed to hazardous conditions, and as a result, he or she is injured, the cruise ship company may be liable. The injured passenger may file a claim against the cruise ship owner, the company selling the ticket, or the company chartering or operating the cruise.
Common cruise ship injury claims may include the Norovirus or the Norwalk Virus, a highly contagious gastrointestinal disease (and other illnesses from unhygienic conditions), food poisoning, slip and falls or other minor accidents on the ship, dock accidents, robberies, injuries resulting from accidents, fires, or malfunctions on the ship, medical negligence or malpractice, or physical or sexual assault that occurs on the ship.
In order to recognize your rights as a passenger, you must understand the cruise ship ticket contract. Among other stipulations, the cruising contract covers the specific requirements necessary to file a claim. It also outlines the imposed statute of limitations to file a lawsuit (how long you have to file a claim from the time the injury occurred), and the cities, states, or countries where lawsuits may be filed. Since the statute of limitations is typically short for maritime lawsuits, failing to file promptly may prevent an injured passenger from obtaining compensation. Additionally, if you agree to a settlement offered by a cruise ship representative, you may unknowingly waive your right to seek compensation for damages and/or medical costs. Consequently, if you or a family member was injured on a cruise ship, contact a reputable attorney with expertise in maritime and personal injury law.
Cruising: Preventative Care
If you are planning to take a cruise, follow these 9 tips to cruise with care:
- Take time to review and understand the fine print of the contract in your cruise ticket.
- Take out a travel insurance policy with a provision for medical evaluations since medical care may be inadequate on the ship.
- Since germs can spread quickly in small areas, protect yourself against contagious colds, viruses and the Norwalk virus by thoroughly washing your hands and taking normal flu season precautions.
- If you feel sick, visit the physician. Travel medical insurance may cover treatment. Also, some ships will over cover treatment related to Norwalk virus or other highly contagious illnesses.
- While crime is not common on ships, keep a close eye on your belongings and don’t leave cash or valuables in your room.
- When visiting port cities, always use basic safety precautions. Keep your belongings on or close to your body. Avoid becoming intoxicated.
- Steer clear of potentially illegal substances when traveling in ports. Laws in foreign countries may differ, so be sure to err on the side of caution.
- Immediately tell staff members if you smell smoke or see a fire, no matter how small.
- Never throw a cigarette butt or any lit match over the side in the trash or over a railing; it could start a fire. Unplug electric appliances when not using them.
Goldman & Daszkal, P.A attorneys specialize in maritime law and understand the complexities of personal injury lawsuits that may fall under state, federal and international maritime laws. If you have a question about a personal injury that occurred on a cruise, contact our team at (954) 428-9333.
Since 1990, Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. has provided reputable legal representation to people throughout Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade Counties. The firm has helped thousands of individuals recover compensation from motor vehicle and boating accidents, slip and fall accidents, product defect and liability cases, pharmacy errors, and negligent security cases to cover medical expenses, pay bills, take care of their families, and return to work. Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. can help you get the relief you need to start living your life again after a serious injury. For a free and confidential consultation, contact Goldman & Daszkal, P.A., at (954) 428-9333.