Not often do we hear of a cruise ship accident that isn’t immediately followed by angry laments and threats of a lawsuit.
It seems a recent Carnival Cruise incident may be one of those rare cases. Of course, the victim’s statute of limitations isn’t up until late 2022, so there’s still time for that to change.
There are two key factors of cruise line liability that Carnival’s team is likely already reviewing – passenger slip and falls… and overserving guests. In this post, we take a closer look at both. First, though, a bit more on the story itself.
Fall Victim’s Wife Praises Carnival Cruise Staff and Guest Services
After spending the first day of his cruise enjoying nearly a dozen margaritas, a new husband heads back with his bride to their honeymoon cabin. Apparently, somewhere along the way he fell over the deck railing and tumbled four stories, landing on a deck below.
We say “apparently” because the cause of his fall is still unknown. No one saw the actual incident. His wife noticed he was missing, and two passengers found him after hearing the impact, but nothing has been revealed about what happened between.
The victim suffered a spleen laceration and multiple face fractures, but after an airlift to New Orleans and a few days in the hospital, he is expected to make a full recovery.
We have to wonder, though, how are the newlyweds going to pay for those medical services?
In the meantime, through Facebook, the victim’s wife praised Carnival staff and guest services for their efforts. She wrote in a status update:
“Not at all how I thought our honeymoon cruise would end, but I can say I got one hell of a VIP excursion out of it being on a helicopter…Thank you so much to the amazing Carnival medical staff, guest services, my family, and the people who were there with me when I found him.”
Could Carnival Later Be Held Liable for the Passenger Fall?
If a cruise passenger suffers a slip and fall aboard the ship, they have to prove the cruise line was negligent in order to hold them liable for the accident. Could Carnival potentially be liable in this situation? The short answer: yes.
Three of the elements necessary to prove a personal injury case include duty, breach, and damages. The victim must show the cruise line owed a duty of reasonable care. Then, it must be proven that an injury occurred. And there must be hard costs directly related to that injury.
However, there is a fourth element that must exist in order to win: that Carnival failed in their duty. Did they fail? The four-story fall here is currently shrouded in mystery.
The most difficult part of proving this case, should the couple decide to sue, is the direct link between the cruise line’s actions and the injuries the victim obviously sustained.
We believe their best chance at winning any future case may lie in the fact that he may have been overserved.
What Are Standard Cruise Policies on Overserving Guests?
The term “booze cruise” didn’t appear out of thin air. There’s a reason for it. While alcohol can be a huge revenue stream for cruise lines, it can also be quite problematic in questions of liability.
Cruise vacations are, for many, an opportunity to let loose and drink. Our newlywed couple had an all-you-can-drink package, in fact. Carnival actually defends this exact option by noting the 15-drink cutoff. This is interesting since science says that amount of alcohol can put a 200lb man under a table (it’s also more than 3x the US legal limit).
The exact weight of the victim here wasn’t noted, but judging by the media coverage, the 23-year-old isn’t exactly a linebacker. Which means that the right personal injury attorney may be able to make a case for causation based on overserving.
Ultimately, cruises promise to offer you an opportunity to have a safe and worry-free vacation on the high seas. Taking advantage of all your cruise ship has to offer is part of the deal. Both you and the cruise line want you to have a good time.
When things go awry due to negligence, it is important you have strong legal representation in order to ensure you are properly compensated for any injuries you sustain.
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.