It seems as if it’s frequent to turn on the news or pick up a newspaper and find a story about someone who has died on a cruise ship. Accidents happen, even on vacation, so it’s an unfortunate reality that people can and do die when cruising.
However, an important question is: Who is responsible when a death on a cruise is considered a wrongful death? After all, there are financial and emotional costs to losing a loved one on a cruise. If it happens, then what are your options?
Read on to learn more about wrongful death at sea and your options if it happens to you or someone you love.
What Can Cause Death on a Cruise?
There are many ways that a person can be injured or be involved in an accident on a cruise ship that leads to death. Sometimes the death is instant and sudden, but other times a person can languish and suffer until they finally succumb to their injuries.
Some of the most common causes of death on a cruise ship include:
- Food poisoning
- Slip and fall accidents
- Falling overboard
- Medical malpractice
- Contagious illnesses
Those who have lost someone due to an injury or accident on a cruise ship may be unsure what options are available to them – and who is ultimately to blame for the wrongful death of their loved one. An experienced attorney can help you to understand the answers to these questions. They’ll help you determine if you have what you need to bring a wrongful death suit against a cruise line.
Wrongful Death on a Cruise
Wrongful death suits against cruise lines are often due to negligence. For a cruise line to be found negligent, four elements must be proven to be successful in a wrongful death suit. They are:
- Duty of care – You must establish that the cruise line owed what is called the “legal duty of care” to the deceased
- Breach of duty – Once you establish duty of care, you must show how the cruise line breached it
- Cause of death – Now it’s time to connect the dots and show how the breach of duty of care led directly to the accident or injuries that caused the death of a loved one.
- Damages were suffered – The final piece shows how the survivors have suffered damages due to the death.
Under the law, cruise lines are referred to as common carriers. That means the standard of care owed to those on board is higher than you may find in other circumstances. If the carelessness or negligence of the cruise line injured a passenger and contributed to their death, then survivors may be entitled to damages.
Of course, in every wrongful death lawsuit, liability depends on the facts in the case. Many major cruise lines have liability waivers included with their tickets, which means you’ve agreed to the waiver when the ticket was used.
If you pursue a wrongful death suit against a cruise line, this waiver will have the information needed to bring a suit, including a statute of limitations and notice of requirements. This is one of the many reasons it pays to have a good attorney on your side when pursuing wrongful death against a cruise line.
About the Author:
AndrewWinston is a partner at the personal injury law firm WinstonLaw. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all personal injury cases, focusing on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in representing injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and named one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators. Mr. Winston is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, and has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2022– an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite,” recognized by Expertise as one of the 20 Best Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015-2022, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida for 2015-2017 and 2019-2022.