We tend to see two different images of cruise ships and cruise vacations.
One of these is the luxury and fun they can provide. Couples canoodling by the railing of a ship. Families going on adventures together.
The other image is one of vacations gone wrong. Shipwrecks. Stolen belongings. The infamous “poop cruise.”
There’s a third image most people never consider though: workplace.
Cruise ships employ hundreds of people, and just like passengers, they can get injured, too.
In one three-year study of 630 cruise ship workers, these findings were reported:
- 361 total injuries were reported. Men experienced 77 percent of those injuries, and women experienced 23 percent. Thirty percent of those injuries resulted in loss of work for more than one day.
- The hotel department workers comprised 79 percent of the total injuries.
- Dancers were at higher risk of serious injuries than members of the hotel or marine crews.
- The most common injury area was upper extremities, and open wounds were the most common type of injury.
- The galleys were the site of most of the accidents, at 30 percent of the total.
How do crewmembers suffer injury on cruise ships?
Common Types of Crewmember Accidents – and How They Can Be the Result of Negligence
Though there are all kinds of ways that the people who work on cruise ships can and do become injured, reports peg these four as the most common:
- Collisions – When ships hit reefs, rocks, or icebergs, damage and injuries can occur, and crewmembers are not exempt from getting hurt in these types of situations. If a technician failed to monitor the charts that show obstacles, they may be held liable for injuries.
- Fires – In the past 20 years, 72 fires have been reported on cruise ships – the actual number may be higher. Most are caused by mechanical malfunctions. Even though most fires are well contained, if you were injured by a fire, you can seek compensation.
- Storms – Cruise ships use satellite systems to detect oncoming storms, but human error in reading data could cause injuries on board.
- Waves – Some unpredictable waves can rise up to 100 feet and crash against the cruise ship, causing injuries.
Other ways that crewmembers can suffer injury on their ship include the following:
- Assault by a passenger (reports of sexual assault are on the rise)
- Assault by a co-worker
- Slip and fall accidents
How Can Crewmembers Fight for the Compensation They Deserve?
Crewmembers do not qualify for worker’s compensation under U. S. state and federal laws. Instead, the Jones Act protects cruise ship employees who are injured while working due to negligence on the part of their employer.
To file suit against your employer under the Jones Act, a knowledgeable maritime attorney must prove that the cruise ship’s captain, other crewmembers, or owner acted with negligence that directly resulted in your injury.
You must also be able to show proof that a minimum of 30 percent of your work is done on one or more ships, and that your works helps accomplish the ship’s mission. Contributing to the ship’s mission can take many forms, such as cooking, housekeeping, and maintenance.
The medical records related to your injury will play a significant role in the success of your case. Visit the doctor as soon as possible after your injury occurs. Make sure to keep accurate records of your doctor visits, any X-rays or MRI results, and prescriptions for medication.
Know that Jones Act cases typically require over a year to process on average, and that these types of cases can be quite complicated. Contact our offices today to discuss your options and what your next steps should be.
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 cruise victims who have suffered all kinds of injuries and illnesses due to negligence. 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.