Many people who travel frequently understand that there is a risk you may be a target for crime as a tourist. This might mean that you could have something stolen from your person or from your room, or you could be the target of physical or sexual violence. On a cruise, the ship’s security staff should work to keep passengers safe, both at sea and at port.
Fortunately, after suffering a crime on a cruise ship or in port, you may be able to seek payment for the harm you endured. There are multiple types of damages that may be compensated. During a free assessment of your potential lawsuit, our team will determine the types of monetary damages you may seek.
Seek support and guidance from our experienced attorneys for victims of a crime on a cruise ship or in port by calling Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. at (305) 204-5369.
Suing for Crimes on a Cruise Ship
Of course, you can typically report a crime to the local authorities or the authorities on board the ship. This might mean that the case is investigated and the culprit is apprehended, which is usually a good thing to do. Once the defendant is arrested and charged with a crime, you might see them face punishment, but that does not always help you with the harm you suffered. Many crimes, especially assault or sexual assault, take a personal toll on the victim. Because of this, it is often important to sue the perpetrator and the shipowner in civil court to seek full compensation for the harms you suffered as a crime victim.
Victims of crime aboard a cruise ship are often entitled to sue not only the person who committed the crime against them but also the cruise ship and its operators for crimes they fell victim to aboard the ship. It is the duty of the ship’s crew and staff to provide security aboard the vessel. This means monitoring passengers and staff to prevent people from entering areas they should not be (like another guest’s cabin), drugging other passengers or plying them with drinks, and starting fights. If they fail to do so, they could be accused of negligent security, which allows the ship operators to be held liable for some of the harm the victim suffered.
These lawsuits can also be filed against the individual or individuals who committed the crime. In some cases, the negligent security argument does not hold, but you might still be able to sue the individual for damages. Whether this individual was a member of the ship’s crew, another passenger, or a local at port, you can often seek financial compensation by taking these parties to court.
Damages for Crime Victims on Cruise Ships
The damages you can seek in your case can be used to pay you back for the harm you suffered because of the crime. Some things obviously cannot be reversed with money, but expenses like medical bills, restitution for stolen money or goods, lost wages from severe injuries, and pain and suffering can be compensated by filing a lawsuit.
Many assault and sexual assault injury cases require prompt medical treatment. This could lead to expensive medical bills as you might need medivac to the nearest hospital on shore, and the care you receive could be expensive if you are treated in the U.S. or abroad. When you return home, you may need additional medical care such as follow-up visits, rehabilitation, and physical therapy. You may also need counseling or mental health care if you were subjected to serious trauma from a violent encounter.
If you were the victim of theft, destruction of property, or other crimes involving financial loss, you could be entitled to have these values repaid. Many people see tourists and travelers as easy prey, stealing cash, credit cards, identification, and expensive electronics from them. The individuals responsible for stealing these items – or the people who failed to stop these crimes – may be made to pay you back for the losses.
If you suffered injuries during the crime that kept you from returning to work, you could be entitled to lost wages. These damages vary from case to case depending on the severity and permanence of the injuries. If you miss work while recovering, you can seek these lost wages, or if your injuries keep you from going back to work, you could be entitled to damages for your lost earning capacity.
Some of the major damages in any case involving physical injury are damages for pain and suffering. Victims of physical injuries or assaults, including sexual assault or rape, might be entitled to damages to pay for the mental anguish, emotional distress, and physical pain and discomfort the injuries caused them. These victims could be entitled to substantial compensation for these intangible harms.
Talk to a lawyer about what your case might be worth and how to go about proving the damages you suffered. Our lawyers have decades of experience helping victims of crime injuries seek justice in cases aboard cruise ships and at port.
Proving Fault for a Crime on a Cruise Ship or in Port
If you were injured as the result of a crime being committed against you on a cruise ship or in port, then you may be able to file a lawsuit against the responsible cruise ship company. However, in order for your case to succeed, you must present evidence that proves they are at fault. The following are all examples of evidence that are regularly utilized by our experienced attorneys for victims of a crime on a cruise ship or in port:
After a crime is committed against a cruise ship’s passenger, the ship’s security or staff members may be required to complete an incident report. Such a report may detail a wide range of information pertaining to the crime at issue. Accordingly, an incident report is often among the first pieces of information analyzed by lawyers and insurance companies when evaluating how or why an incident occurred.
Your medical records can also be very helpful when proving fault for a crime committed on a cruise ship or in port. Relevant records may include hospital records, emergency room reports, medical examination reports, treatment plans, and any subsequent follow-up care. These records serve as evidence of the extent and nature of your injuries.
Official documentation of your injuries is necessary in order to recover monetary damages. Accordingly, you should visit a doctor as soon as possible after being hurt.
Witness statements are another form of evidence that may be used to establish fault. They can offer both written and oral statements that help support your case. For instance, a witness who observed a passenger’s sexual assault may assert that they were attacked by a crew’s staff member.
Therefore, you should always attempt to obtain contact information from potential witnesses after suffering a crime if you can. After, our legal team will assist when reaching out for their cooperation.
Maintenance and Safety Records
Maintenance and safety records are often used to establish fault for crimes that occur on cruise ships. These records are typically presented in order to reveal a cruise company’s history of inadequate maintenance, known hazards, or safety deficiencies.
Documentation of Communication
Documentation of communications with a cruise ship company may be used to support your case. Examples of potentially relevant communications include emails, letters, text messages, and copies of any written complaints. These communications may be presented in order establish a timeline of events. Further, they may show that you took appropriate steps to report your incident and seek assistance.
Photographs from the Scene
Additionally, photos from the scene of the crime can be used to identify factors that contributed to your injuries. For example, a cruise ship passenger may be sexually assaulted while they were walking through a dimly lit area of their ship. In that case, photos depicting the dimly lit area could be presented to demonstrate contributing factors.
You should always attempt to take photos at the scene of your crime if you can. Our team can review any photos you captured while performing your free case review.
Expert Witness Testimony
Finally, expert witness testimony may be utilized to help win your case. Expert witnesses are considered experts because they have completed the necessary experience, training, and education in their specific fields. They are typically called on to explain more complicated theories of fault. For example, if your injury occurred because of inadequate safety measures, then an expert in maritime or cruise ship operations may be summoned to support that assertion. Our team can help locate the best experts to support your potential claim.
Evaluating Settlement Offers After Suffering a Crime on a Cruise Ship or in Port
If you file a lawsuit seeking compensation for your cruise ship injuries and losses, the defendant may attempt to settle your case before going to trial. If you accept a settlement agreement, then the defendant will pay you a specific amount of damages in exchange for the voluntary dismissal of your claim. There are some advantages to settling early. For instance, by reaching a settlement agreement, you may acquire financial compensation more quickly. Further, you may save on some of the many costs that accompany the decision to go to trial.
Unfortunately, defendants in cruise ship injury cases regularly try to settle plaintiffs’ cases for less than they are worth. If you are not presented with an adequate settlement offer, then you will need to go to trial to recover the monetary damages you are owed. The risk being that if your case does not succeed, then you may receive no damages whatsoever.
Guidance from experienced legal representation can be immensely valuable when evaluating settlement offers in your case. Our attorneys will help determine if going to trial or settling early is right for you.
Common Injuries Suffered by Victims of Cruise Ship Crime
Victims of crimes that occur on cruise ships and in ports can suffer very serious harm. The following are common examples of injuries suffered by victims of cruise ship crime:
Physical Assault Injuries
Physical assaults can result in a variety of injuries, including cuts, bruises, fractures, sprains, concussions, and internal injuries. The severity of the injuries can vary based on the force and nature of the assault at issue.
Sexual Assault Injuries
Victims of sexual assault may also experience physical injuries, such as bruises, lacerations, or injuries to the genital area. It is crucial to seek medical attention to assess and document any physical harm, as well as the risk of sexually transmitted infections.
Emotional and Psychological Injuries
Victims of crimes on cruise ships and in ports often suffer emotional and psychological trauma. For example, victims may develop symptoms of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and insomnia. These injuries can have long-lasting effects that typically require professional support and counseling. Thankfully, plaintiffs in cruise ship injury cases may also obtain payment for the emotional and psychological suffering they experienced.
Call Our Cruise Ship Crime Victim Attorneys for a Free Consultation
For a free legal consultation, call our attorneys for victims of crime on cruise ships and at port today. The maritime injury lawyers at Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind may be able to take your case and fight against the cruise ship company and the culprit to get you compensation for the losses you suffered as the victim of a crime. For a free legal consultation on your case, call our law offices today at (305) 204-5369.