Vacations are supposed to be a time where a person can relax and get away from the stress of everyday life. This is especially true when someone goes on a cruise, a type of vacation that is specifically designed to cater to the cruiser’s every need. The last thing that is on a passengers mind as they go on board a ship is that a slip & fall accident will leave them seriously injured.
Slip & Falls – Not Always Simple Accidents
Yes, there are some instances where a person on a cruise slips, trips, and falls in an accident where there is simply no one to blame. However, in many cases, a negligent act resulted in dangerous conditions which directly caused the accident and subsequent injuries.
Common hazards that cause slip & fall accidents on cruise ships include:
- spilled liquids
- broken handrails
- equipment with defects
- loose floor boards
- misplaced luggage
Slip and falls can take place anywhere on the ship – the hallways, desks, bathrooms, casinos, theaters, dining areas, or around the pool.
Whenever a company offers a cruise, they have a duty to do everything that is reasonably within their power to keep passengers safe. When this duty is breached, the party responsible opens themselves up to a lawsuit.
Why Would Someone File A Lawsuit?
Slip & fall lawsuits are civil lawsuits, designed to give the plaintiff a chance to recover monetary compensation for any losses that they have sustained due to the defendant’s negligence. The most frequently claimed damages include:
- money spent on medical bills
- the loss of wages from time taken off of work to recover from injuries
- physical pain and suffering
- emotional trauma
While many people fall, get back up, brush themselves off and go about their day without a second thought, the fact is that a fall can cause very serious injuries that can cost quite a bit to treat.
Injuries Frequently Sustained
Our clients in the past have sustained a wide variety of injuries on cruise ships, including:
There are more than 200 bones in the human body and every single one of them can be broken. Fractures of the hips, vertebrae, arms, and legs, can not only be seriously painful but can prevent the patient from returning to work. Just one broken bone can require x-rays, surgery, pain medications, casting, and even physical therapy which typically costs between $2,500 and $35,000 dollars to treat.
If a complication sets in, such an infection or a non-union of the bone, this can only mean more time away from work and additional expenses.
Traumatic Brain Injury
There are many hard surfaces on a cruise ship that a slip and fall victim can hit their head on. When that happens, the soft brain may hit the hard inner surface of the skull, causing swelling, bruising, bleeding, and even tissue death. TBI’s can result in loss of consciousness, loss of memory, loss in the ability to speak, paralysis, and personality changes. The most serious TBI’s can cost over $3 million to treat.
If a fall causes an injury to either the spinal column or spinal cord, the patient’s fine motor skills can be impacted, paralysis may occur, or nerve damage may cause constant pain. Spinal damage costs hundreds of thousands if not millions to treat.
Serious burns, such as third-degree burns, may require hospitalization, surgery, and skin grafts – none of which is inexpensive.
As if sustaining one of these injuries wasn’t bad enough, the reality is that the medical staff on the ship may not be well equipped to treat a patient and when the ship is out of the open sea, it can take a long time for help to arrive and for the patient to be transferred to a fully staffed hospital.
Cruise Ship Complaints Are Complex
When a someone falls on land, the resulting lawsuit can be difficult to prove. In order to win a case, the plaintiff must show that a “reasonable” person would have taken steps to discover the hazard and either placed a warning around it or immediately corrected the issue.
What is considered reasonable changes in every case because no two properties are the same. For example, it is unreasonable that the owner of a 1000+ acre farm would walk e entire property every day looking for hazards. However, a cruise ship, which is fully staffed, should have its halls, desks, and rooms regularly checked.
But slip & fall lawsuits on cruise ships have an added complication – claims, due to the legal contract a passenger enters when they purchase a ticket, typically must be filed within a certain time period and in a specific court. This is why it is important that as soon as a victim is able, they should contact an experienced attorney who can review the contract that is part of their ticket, the facts about the accident, their medical records, and advise them as to what their rights are.