According to a recent story by the Huffington Post last week, a crew member of a Carnival cruise ship headed to New Orleans, Louisiana had to be airlifted to a hospital after falling and hitting her head on the ship’s deck. A Coast Guard news release stated that one of its helicopters picked up the 34-year-old woman on the morning of August 7, 2013, from the Carnival Conquest, located approximately 172 miles southeast of New Orleans. The woman was taken to Interim LSU Public Hospital, and is currently in stable condition.
As this blog has discussed on several occasions, premises liability is a legal terms that references a property owner’s duty to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition. Depending on the relationship between the individuals, an owner will owe one of three different duties to entrants of his property. Cruise ships are no different, as the ship and its crew owe a duty of reasonable care to passengers. Invitees are afforded the highest duty of care by owners under Florida law. Invitees are individuals who enter a property for the benefit of the property owner, such as to conduct business. Passengers on cruise ships are considered invitees and therefore owed the accompanying duties.
Cruise liners owe passengers a duty to keep the ship in a safe condition, as well as a duty to repair or warn of known dangerous conditions on the vessel and to regularly examine the premises so as to discover any dangerous conditions. As a result of the duty to inspect, cruise lines can be held liable for injuries resulting from dangerous conditions that the crew didn’t actually know about but should have.
Unfortunately, cruise ship slip and fall accidents can occur anywhere. Foreign substances often make their way onto passenger cruise ships, cargo vessels and their decks. If the dangerous condition exists long enough on the vessel, regardless of who created the dangerous condition, the cruise line owes passengers a duty to warn of the condition and correct it.
The occurrence of the Carnival cruise line crew member’s fall demonstrates that anyone, including a seasoned sailor, can fall victim to a dangerous condition on the deck of a cruise ship. Depending on what caused the crewmember to fall will likely determine what the cruise line’s ultimate liability for the defective condition will be.
If you or someone you know has been injured as the result of the dangerous condition on a cruise ship, it is important that you discuss your situation with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible to determine the merit and value of your claim, as well as to preserve any evidence favorable to your claim. Because cruise ship claims are subject to different laws and much shorter statutes of limitations, sometimes as short as one year, they are best handled by experienced cruise ship accident attorneys.
The Florida cruise ship accident attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. are licensed to practice law in all of Florida’s state and federal courts and have been representing the victims of cruise ship negligence for over four decades. If you or someone you know has been injured in a cruise ship accident or has been the victim of a crime while on a cruise ship, contact the attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. today.