Can You Sue a Cruise Ship Company?

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Horror stories about cruise ships and injuries on board are often in the news. Many people get injured or fall overboard every year. Others get sick from foodborne illnesses or viruses that easily spread aboard a ship. If you were injured or got sick on a cruise ship, you might be able to sue the cruise ship company to get compensation for your injuries. The cruise ship injury lawyers at Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. have decades of experience representing injured cruise ship victims and the families of deceased cruise ship passengers. Our cruise ship accident lawyers explain how you can sue for injuries and what limitations you might face.

When Can You Sue a Cruise Ship for Injuries or Illness?

Cruise ships often try to limit when they can be sued by putting restrictions on passenger tickets. Your ticket usually acts like a contract between you and the cruise ship company, sometimes issuing disclaimers on what kinds of things you do “at your own risk” and what kinds of things the cruise ship can be held liable for. In many cases, these limitations do not give the cruise ship free rein to do whatever they want, and you can sue them for many types of accidents and injuries aboard the ship. But, how do you sue a cruise ship company?

Typically, a lawsuit for injuries or illness on a cruise ship will be based on “negligence.” This means proving that there was some duty that the cruise ship company violated. This could range from the duty to keep the premises safe on the cruise ship to prevent cruise ship slip and fall injuries, or it could mean installing railings and safety nets to prevent overboard accidents and broken bones on a cruise ship.

Other duties stem from other services that the ship provides. For instance, the cruise ship company might be held liable for food poisoning or other injuries and illness from unsafe food served on the ship. They can also be held liable if they failed to cancel a cruise because of widespread illness, as is common with norovirus or coronavirus on cruise ships. Alternatively, they might be held liable for failing to cancel a cruise that was going into dangerous weather problems like hurricanes.

Cruise ships can also be sued for intentional injuries aboard the ship. In some cases, this would be a “negligent security” lawsuit, where you sue the cruise ship company for failing to provide adequate security. This usually happens with assault or sexual assault by another cruise ship passenger. However, many cases of assault on a cruise ship actually consist of assault or sexual assault by a cruise ship crewmember. Victims of crime on a cruise ship could be entitled to sue the individual crewmember who attacked them and the cruise ship who hired that worker.

Suing Cruise Ships for Injuries on Shore Excursions

Many injuries from cruise ships happen not on the cruise ship itself, but on a trip or excursion on shore or on a smaller boat. But who is liable for injuries from a cruise ship excursion? Van and tour bus accidents, boat fires, rock climbing accidents, and surfing accidents are all possible injuries on cruise ship shore excursions. In some cases, these excursions are operated by the cruise ship company, which often means you can sue the cruise line for these kinds of accidents. If the company operating the cruise ship excursion was a third-party company, you might be able to sue them instead. However, the cruise ship company might still be responsible if they hired a company that they should have known was dangerous or if the third-party company operates wholly under the cruise ship company.

These kinds of issues about whom to sue for an injury on a cruise ship excursion can be complex, but our attorneys to sue Carnival Cruises for excursion injuries and other cruise ship excursion accident lawyers can help guide you through them.

Maritime Injury Lawsuits for Cruise Ship Injuries and Illness

If you were hurt on a cruise ship, the case might be filed under maritime law. This is the area of law that governs U.S. ships and boats on the open ocean. If the cruise ship you were injured on has its home port in the U.S. or the cruise company is headquartered in the United States, you can usually sue under U.S. maritime law.

If you were injured on a cruise ship that was just off the coast or was still at dock in the U.S., you might be able to sue under state law instead. Our attorneys can help figure out the best way to file your claim to make it easiest on you.

Damages for Suing a Cruise Ship Company

When you sue a cruise ship and their parent company for injuries, you are often entitled to medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages.

The damages for medical expenses can include the cost of emergency medical transportation and treatment at a hospital on shore. If you were a victim of medical malpractice on a cruise ship, this could make your injuries worse, and you might be entitled to higher damages for your injuries. Additionally, unjustified delays in treatment could also make your case worse.

Lost wages can be paid to cover the wages you missed or will miss because of your injuries. This can include future wages and lost earning capacity as well as wages from your recovery period.

If your injury involved substantial pain and suffering, you might be entitled to high-value compensation for this. This is often one of the largest areas of damages for serious injuries and illness. If the cruise ship was especially negligent or has shown a pattern of serious neglect and injuries to passengers, the court might order additional “punitive” damages, which can result in higher awards for you.

Talk to a lawyer for cruise ship medical malpractice about what your case is worth and never accept money from a cruise ship company without having a lawyer review it first.

Call Our Cruise Ship Injury Lawyers for a Free Case Consultation

If you were injured as a passenger on a cruise ship, you might be entitled to sue the cruise ship company for your injuries. Injured cruise ship crewmembers might also be able to sue for injuries sustained at work on a cruise ship. Call Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind’s cruise ship accident lawyers today to schedule a free legal consultation and learn more about your injury case. Our number is (305) 204-5369.


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Brett Rivkind is a lawyer that not only cares but also a lawyer that makes a difference. Whether its speaking in congress to help promote safety awareness in legislation or representing clients in court seeking compensation for their injuries, Brett Rivkind is passionate about his dedication toward both promoting safety at sea and helping clients in need who have been harmed at sea.

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Real Case Results

  • $6.3 MillionBack Injury
  • $2.9 MillionCruise Ship Injury
  • $2.7 MillionCrewmember Injury
  • $2.1 MillionSlip & Fall
  • $1.2 MillionCruise Ship Injury
  • $1 MillionSeaman Back Injury
  • $980,000Cruise Ship Injury
  • $610,000Workplace Injury
  • $375,000Shoulder Injury

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“My only regret is that I did not turn to Brett Rivkind for help sooner.”

“After struggling for more than a year to get the cruise line to take responsibility for a series of medical blunders on board that nearly killed me, I got offered a settlement within weeks of turning to acclaimed Maritime Attorney Brett Rivkind for help”

Chris, a Crew Member on a Cruise Shiptop maritime lawyer
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