A common suit against cruise lines and similar types of businesses are that the cruise line is negligent in maintaining its space. When this occurs, the cruise line will commonly retort that it has not been negligent because it kept a proper routine for maintaining its vessel. When you have been injured on a cruise ship, it can be tricky to pursue compensation from the at-fault party. An experienced maritime law and personal injury attorney can help you obtain the justice you deserve.
Rule of Law
The Eleventh Circuit Court, in the 2012 case of Chapparo v. Carnival Cruise, stated the elements for successfully suing a cruise line for negligence under the Jones Act: “Under the maritime law of negligence, [the plaintiff] must prove that 1) [the cruise line] had a duty to protect him from a particular injury, 2) [the cruise line] breached that duty, 3) [the cruise line’s] breach proximately caused his injury, and 4) he [the plaintiff] incurred damages.”
Of the five Jones Act negligence elements, the plaintiff may have the most difficult time proving element number 2. A plaintiff making a claim must prove that the cruise line breached the duty of care, which may be a hard case to make, depending on the facts.
David saved up money to go on a cruise that would set sail from Galveston, Texas. He was excited to see the Caribbean and the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico. He checked into the cruise ship, put his belongings in his room, and went out on deck to take in the view. In the evening, David and his partner enjoyed a delightful dinner. Following dinner, they were treated to a musical. After a walk aboard the deck, an excited David returned to his room to get ready for bed. He was really enjoying himself and looked forward to another day of bliss.
After showering and getting into pajamas, David fell into bed exhausted but happy. He awoke two hours later, excited for another day. After tossing and turning in bed for a few hours, David realized that he was too excited to sleep. He got out of bed and headed toward the washroom. Instantaneously, he slipped on the floor and cried out in agonizing pain. His partner awoke to his screams and called the front desk. Moments later, the cruise ship’s medical crew arrived and found that David had a broken leg and a slipped disc in his back.
An investigative team also arrived and declared that a leak from the shower built up on the floor, causing David to slip. They determined that the part above the shower head was leaky, causing water to drip.
David is now suing the cruise line for negligence, claiming that they were negligent in maintaining the premises. The cruise line counters that they routinely check the showers and did not breach any duty owed to passengers. While apologizing for what happened, the cruise line claimed that it is not legally liable to David.
A future article will explain this more in depth.
Hurt on a cruise ship? Contact the Kolodny law firm, experienced Jones Act injury attorneys.
(image courtesy of linval ebanks)