With so many people on a cruise ship, the fun activities taking place cause many passengers not to think about the potential risk of harm. There are many events that can happen on a cruise ship such as a slip and fall, sexual assault, tripping on an elevated floor, falling down steps and even falling over board. As well, accidents or physical harm by another can take place while on shore excursions. The list of shipboard hazards are extensive, it essential that passengers take measures to protect themselves as well learn what steps to take if they are injured while aboard a cruise ship.
It is not just passengers who have to be concerned while on board on a cruise ship. Crew members on cruise ships work long hours, and if injured, they rely on the cruise line for support and medical care. Cruise ship crew members can be injured in a variety of different ways: assault and battery, slip-and-fall, heavy lifting, climbing, crawling through tight quarters repetitive strain, assault, and sexual assault. U.S. maritime law, including the Jones Act, mandates that the employer provide compensation to an injured seaman including wages to the end of the voyage and Maintenance and Cure (room, board and medical care) without consideration of fault. When the injury is the ship owner’s fault, the injured crew member is entitled to additional damages, including the cost of future medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Crew members such as ship officers, engineers, waiters, deck hands, cabin stewards, and maintenance workers, are all covered under the Jones Act. Below is an example of a recent cruise ship event resulting in injury:
Explosion at Cruise Line Terminal in Gibraltar Causes Injuries
On Tuesday, May 31, 2011 an explosion on the north dock, known as the North Mole, of the cruise liner terminal in Gibraltar has resulted two injuries, one serious. The explosion is believed to have occurred in two storage tanks on the dock which burst into flames. According to several media reports, the tanks that exploded contained hydrocarbons left over following the cleaning of the ships. The tanks were situated in a warehouse area that also contained machinery, oils, and other materials. The cause of the explosion at the time of media reports was not known. There was no indication it was anything but an accident.
The injured are reported to be a dock worker, who suffered serious burns and who was transferred to hospital in Seville, and a police officer who went to his rescue. The police officer suffered less serious injuries and has returned to work. The authorities in Gibraltar ordered that cruise liner ‘Independence of the Seas’ which was sited in the area of the fire move out to sea for safety reasons. The owners of the ship, Royal Caribbean, have said that ten passengers on board the ship were treated for minor injuries on board the ship. In an article dated May 31, 2011 in the Gibraltar Chronicle, it was reported that at one point, it had been thought that nearby buildings would have to be evacuated due to the dense smoke caused by the explosion, but had later been decided unnecessary by the Gibraltar authorities.
Cruise Ship Attorney
With maritime law and cruise ships, all passenger cruise lines have a contractual statute of limitations stated on their cruise tickets. Most cruise lines allow only one year from the date of injury or death for a passenger or their family to file a lawsuit for personal injury or wrongful death. When you are injured on a cruise ship, you need to know your rights. The cruise line will use investigators, claims adjusters and maritime lawyers to take advantage of the fact that you do not know maritime law. It is vital that you have a lawyer who specializes in cruise line incidents such as serious injury, illness or wrongful deaths on cruise ships to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation that you deserve.