In 2016 alone, more than 20 million people decided to spend some of their vacation time on a cruise. There are plenty of options available – more than 62 different cruise lines with trips on both oceans and rivers, leaving and arriving in hundreds of cities around the globe.
Not one of these passengers gets on board thinking that they will never again see their home or loved ones, but sadly, for some, that is exactly what happens after an unexpected accident claims their lives.
Fatal Accidents On Cruise Ships
Cruise ships are designed to provide passengers with endless sources of entertainment and methods of relaxation. Passengers shouldn’t have to worry about cleaning, cooking, or anything other than just having fun. But the layout and hustle of bustle of the ship can create dangerous conditions, causing accidents that claim the lives of vacationers.
Accidents that may result in a fatality typically include:
- slip & falls
- falling overboard
- pool accidents
- navigation errors
- mistakes made by a medical professional
- devices malfunctioning due to a defect
For the loved ones who are left behind, shock comes in many forms. Not only will they suffer emotionally and mentally from this sudden death, but in many cases, they also suffer financially. This is why, if the accident occurred due to the negligent act of another party, the law allows the surviving loved ones to seek compensation for their losses via a wrongful death lawsuit.
What Is Negligence?
In legal terms, negligence occurs when one party acts in a negligent or careless manner and as a result, someone else suffers a loss, such as sustaining an injury.
What determining if negligence has occurred, the court has to examine the details of the accident and determine if the defendant took reasonable steps to provide the plaintiff with a safe environment. Because no two ships are exactly alike, what is reasonable may change from case to case.
When the person who was involved in the accident is no longer around to testify as to what caused the accident, negligence can be difficult to prove. This is why it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can work to preserve evidence like security videos and contact witnesses to get their statements.
Who Can File A Wrongful Death Claim?
Depending on the situation, the parents, spouse, or child of the deceased may be eligible to file a claim.
What Is Gained From Filing?
So what exactly can a plaintiff be compensated for? In the majority of cases, compensation can include damages which cover:
- Medical expenses for the treatments that the deceased received for the injuries that ultimately took their life.
- Wages that would have been earned by the deceased if they hadn’t been involved in a fatal accident.
- The loss of inheritance.
- The loss of consortium.
- Non-monetary losses, such as the physical pain and suffering that the deceased endured before their passing.
- The emotional trauma that has been experienced by the surviving loved ones.
- Funeral and burial expenses.
The actual amount awarded is another factor that varies from case to case because no two plaintiffs have suffered the exact same losses.
An Unusually Short Statute Of Limitations
The statute of limitations is the period of time that a victim or their loved one has to file a complaint and seek compensation for their financial, physical, and emotional losses. Typically, depending on the type of accident that took place, this period of time is around two – three years. However, cruise ship lawsuits have a limit of just one year and if the complaint isn’t filed in this period of time, the case will be dismissed.
How Much Does It Cost To Hire An Attorney?
At Banville Law, we know how stressed our clients already are by the time they contact us. Many hesitate because they can’t fathom being about to afford an attorney on top of the medical bills while being out of work.
This is why we work on a contingency fee. That means that any fee we collect is part of the settlement or damages that are awarded to the client at the end of their lawsuit. This way there are no surprises and the client has absolutely nothing to lose. If you don’t win, we don’t get paid.