Vacations aboard cruise ships are supposed to be fun, secure, and safe, but they don’t always work out that way. What was supposed to be a relaxing escape can quickly turn into a nightmare scenario that impacts on the rest of your life.
Recently, a woman vacationing on a Carnival cruise ship fell overboard. While nothing official has been released, many who were aboard the ship at the time of the incident suspect foul play was involved. The Coast Guard called off the search and it may never be known what happened to the woman. What is known is what can happen if security is negligent, and the cruise is liable for something that happens to a passenger.
Here’s what you need to know about negligent security aboard cruise ships and how cruise lines can be held liable for things that happen on board.
Criminal Acts on a Cruise Ship
It’s an unfortunate reality that sometimes dream vacations take a terrible turn and serious cruise ship accidents happen. Sometimes criminal acts can be involved and passengers can fall victim to those with malicious intent from crimes such as:
- Sexual assault
Negligent Security on a Cruise
There is security on cruise ships to thwart terrible criminal acts, but sometimes that security doesn’t provide adequate or reasonable safety for passengers. In those cases, it is possible for the cruise line to be held liable for injuries under Florida’s negligent security law.
This law states that when a passenger is put in danger on a cruise ship due to the failure of the cruise line to provide a safe and secure environment, then they can seek damages. Some of the things that can occur that show security to be negligent include:
- Security personnel who are not properly trained
- Doors with broken locks
- Inadequate security
- Poor lighting on decks and in hallways
- Improperly functioning security cameras
If you are injured or are the victim of a crime on a ship, then you must file a report with the security team on board. Experienced authorities can complete further investigations when the ship returns to port.
It’s possible that security on a ship simply doesn’t have the experience or know-how to properly investigate a crime. So, make sure to document everything that happened to you through photos, witness information, and anything else relevant to an investigation. You may also want to contact an experienced cruise ship accident attorney to help when you get back on dry land.
If you are a victim of a crime on a cruise ship that departs from a port in Florida, then it may be the case that the state’s premises liability laws apply to your case. This is true even if you don’t live in Florida.
Most cruise lines operate under a “choice of law clause” which allows Florida law to apply in the event of any liability or negligence claims. Your ticket should have this information and by purchasing the ticket, you are effectively agreeing to these terms in any claim you file.
The last thing anyone wants to happen on vacation is to be the victim of a crime, but it does tragically occur. It is important to understand what you can do to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
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, 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, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2021 – 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 2015-2021, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida for 2015-2017 and 2019-2021.