A 23-year-old Louisiana officer traveling on the Carnival Valor fell onto the deck and suffered critical injuries. The Coast Guard airlifted the officer from the ship around 4AM and transported him to New Orleans University Medical Center in critical condition. Carnival has been quiet about the circumstances surrounding the accident.
Cruise Ship Slip and Fall Accidents Are Common
A cruise ship has the same type of slip and fall hazards that people encounter onshore or other land-based environments. But, they also have a number of potential other safety hazards that are inherent to a marine environment. This includes corrosion from salt water, sea spray, and water tracked into high traffic areas from pool areas. Spilled drinks, wet or foreign substances, food in restaurants, even dim lighting in stairwells and hallways are all common causes. Cruise ship slips and falls can also be due to negligent design, negligent maintenance or due to dangerous surfaces as a result of the limited selection of deck and flooring materials for ships that appear to be wood and other surfaces used on land. Other cruise ship and maritime-related slip, trip and fall accidents specific to cruise ships may be due to foreign objects that are blown over due to the wind at sea or ship equipment that is not properly maintained or properly secured.
These accidents often times leave passengers with a wide range of injuries, from sprains to serious injuries such as broken bones, muscle tears, or head injuries.
Accident vs Cruise Ship Negligence
Some accidents are just that, accidental, and no one is to blame. However, there are some accidents that happen due to the negligence of the cruise line or its agents, employees and/or crew. When a passenger has suffered an injury due to the negligence of the cruise line, the cruise line becomes liable for the passenger’s injury and can be held accountable for the passenger’s medical bills, pain, and suffering, lost wages from missed work, future earning capacity and even future medical treatment.
After an unfortunate accident on a cruise, make sure that you or a loved one takes a photo of the area.
Cruise Slip and Fall Causes
Slip-and-falls can occur anywhere on a ship. Here are a few ways they may happen, resulting in injury:
- Overcrowded common areas
- Recently mopped, cleaned or waxed floors
- Food trays in hallways
- Crowded hallways
- Wet or slippery decks
- Luggage left in hallways
- Cleaning supplies left in hallways
- Broken or unsteady handrails
- Damaged or ripped carpeting
- Damaged or uneven floor boards
- Defective equipment
- Spills in restaurant facilities
- Food dropped on floors
Common Injuries in Cruise Slip and Fall Cases
- Orthopedic Injuries
- Fractures Requiring Surgical Cair
- Ligament Injury
- Tendon Injuries
- Injuries to hands, wrists, and knees
- Concussions and Head Injuries
- Back and Spinal Cord Injuries
- Lacerations and Contusions
Duty of Care
Pursuant to general maritime law, The Supreme Court in Kermarec v. Compagnie Generale Transatlantique, 358 U.S. 625 (1959), held that shipowners owe a duty to exercise reasonable care for the safety of its passengers. Cruise lines must exercise reasonable care under the circumstances. These accidents can happen anywhere on the ship, from your initial steps onto the ship during embarkation, and even leaving the ship once you return to the port.
Accidents can occur near the pool, dining rooms, bathrooms, public walkways, and any other areas where passengers have access. (Cruise lines may even be held negligent if a passenger slips and falls during a shore excursion).
Often times, passengers don’t know how to bring a lawsuit after they have been injured on a cruise. Cruise lines can mandate that claims are brought within one year of the accident. This time frame is rather short. As a complex litigation injury firm, we press upon our clients that they need to immediately speak with an attorney to discuss their slip and fall case.