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If you are injured while working on a cruise ship, your rights are protected by law. Keep reading to learn what the laws cover and how they protect you.

Cruise Ship Worker Injuries

Cruise ship workers need dependable working conditions to be safe while doing their jobs. If your employer does not provide safe working conditions, it can be held liable for any medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering you may endure after your accident.

These are the most common type of cruise ship worker injuries:

  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Back injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Cuts
  • Burns
  • Fractures
  • Concussions
  • Drowning
  • Loss of limbs
  • Injuries related to assault

Any of these injuries can cause long-term damage and affect your ability to work. If you have been affected by any of these injuries, it’s important to contact a knowledgeable cruise ship attorney to understand your rights to compensation.

Speaking of those rights

The Laws That Protect You

If you are injured due to your employer’s negligence, you are protected under the Jones Act, which reads:

“A seaman injured in the course of employment or, if the seaman dies from the injury, the personal representative of the seaman may elect to bring a civil action at law, with the right of trial by jury, against the employer. Laws of the United States regulating recovery for personal injury to, or death of, a railway employee apply to an action under this section.”

You have the right to seek compensation for your injuries under this act, which protects against employer negligence in training crews, maintaining the ship’s working condition, or removing known onboard hazards.

You will not qualify for workers’ compensation rights as you would under federal and state laws in the US. However, the Schoenbaum Admiralty and Maritime Law offers some protection for workers’ compensation rights for anyone who works on a cruise ship.

The principle of maintenance and cure provides that your cruise line should offer medical care to you at no cost until you are able to fully recover. The cruise line must also pay your basic living costs until the voyage ends, even if you are unable to work.

If you must sue your employer to get maintenance and cure, you may also be compensated for your attorney fees. You may also be eligible to seek punitive damages from your employer under certain circumstances.

What to Do After the Incident

To file a claim against your employer, you must take the following steps immediately following your injury.

  • Report your injury to a manager or boss.
  • Seek emergency medical treatment.
  • Keep a record of who treated you for your injury.
  • Record names and contact information of any witnesses.
  • If possible, capture photos of the incident and place where it happened.
  • Make notes about anything that may have contributed to the accident.
  • Check to make sure that your incident was filed with the cruise line.
  • Make copies of the report and file them in a secure location.

After you take these steps, it’s important to consult with an experienced lawyer who understands how to handle cruise ship injury cases. Make sure to speak with your attorney before providing further information to your employer or your employer’s insurer. They may try to get you to settle for less than you deserve.

Don’t sign any paperwork that looks like a liability release. You are only obligated to sign the initial incident report. Your employer may take advantage of your traumatized state and have you sign something that releases them from their legal obligations. Make sure your attorney reviews everything before you sign it, or you could lose the compensation you need.

Filing a Personal Injury Claim as a Cruise Ship Worker

Your attorney will consider all the evidence and work to prove that the cruise ship’s owner, captain, or crewmembers acted with negligence that caused injury to you.

Filing a Personal Injury Claim as a Cruise Ship Worker

To receive compensation, you will be required to show proof that at least 30 percent of your work is done on one or more of the cruise line’s ships and that your work is in accordance with the ship’s mission. This can take many different forms, such as bartending, cooking, maintenance, and housekeeping.

A key component of your claim will be your medical records. Keep track of all your doctor’s visits, test results, MRI or X-ray readings, and prescription medications. Your attorney can use them as proof that you deserve financial compensation.


About the Author:

Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2017 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – and was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite” and as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015, 2016, and 2017.