Injuries and accidents can happen anywhere, and cruise ships are no exception. Although serious cruise ship injuries and accidents are rare, they do happen, and the cruise ship company could be responsible for failing to protect your safety. Major cruise ship disasters are rare, but they can cause life-threatening injuries or death. More often, people are injured by food poisoning outbreaks, dangerous rides or attractions on the vessel, food poisoning, Norovirus outbreaks, slips, trips, or falls in hazardous areas. Assault, robbery, and rape can also occur.
What You Can Do & How a Cruise Ship Lawsuit Can Help
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting cruise ship induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been injured on a cruise ship, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Cruise Ship Litigation Group or call us toll-free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
UPDATE: Norovirus Sickens 200 on Cruise Ships in San Diego
April 14, 2015 — Over 200 people aboard two cruise ships docked in San Diego, California have likely been infected with Norovirus, a highly-contagious virus that causes diarrhea and vomiting. Click here to read more.
November 17, 2014 — An outbreak of norovirus has sickened at least 172 passengers and crew members aboard a Crown Princess cruise ship from Los Angeles to Hawaii to Tahiti and back. This is the second outbreak on this ship this year — the last one was in April. Click here to read more.
April 11, 2014 — A suspected outbreak of norovirus on a Crown Princess cruise in California has sickened at least 104 passengers and 24 crew members. Passengers were quarantined in their cabins to prevent the spread of the illness.
There have been five major outbreaks of norovirus on cruise ships this year, sickening over 1,000 people. The other outbreaks occurred in January and February and included: Holland America MS Veendam (124 people), the Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas (634 people), a Caribbean Princess (181 people), and a Norwegian Cruise (130 people). Click here to read more.
Cruise Ship Injuries and Accidents
The most common cruise ship injuries occur when passengers slip, trip, or fall in hazardous areas. These injuries tend to occur when spills are not cleaned up promptly, walkways are designed with unexpected hazards, stairs are not designed safely, or the ship tilts unexpectedly.
Cruise ship injuries can also occur on rides and attractions on the ship. Serious injuries can occur on water slides, pools, rides, and other attractions on cruise ships, especially if these attractions are not designed with safety in mind.
Another common injury is widespread food poisoning, often when people in close quarters do not wash their hands, and spread Norovirus. This virus causes severe stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It is transmitted through the fecal-oral route, and may be spread on surfaces, through human contact, or in contaminated food or water.
Sometimes, passengers are injured by other people on the ship — passengers or crew members. Cruise ships have a duty of care to protect their passengers from physical harm. This includes protecting passengers from crew members, who might assault, rape, or rob passengers.
Injuries can also occur due to crew error or vessel safety problems. Cruise companies are also required to ensure the safety of their vessel. They must check the integrity of stability of the vessel. Crew members must be trained in the vessel’s operation and navigation. The crew must also be able to respond to emergencies, such as fires, or operating lifeboats during an emergency.
Filing a Cruise Ship Lawsuit
If you were injured on a cruise ship, you may be able to file a cruise ship injury lawsuit. You could receive compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and more. For more information, contact a lawyer at The Schmidt Firm, PLLC immediately. You have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit and you may need to file an injury report with the cruise line to be eligible for compensation.
Most cruise ship tickets contain a “forum selection clause.” This means that you must file your lawsuit in a certain state where the cruise line is located. The Supreme Court upheld the right of cruise ship companies to choose the venue in Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc. v. Shute. The cruise ticket may also require you to notify the cruise line of an injury within a certain amount of time, usually within six months. However, this amount of time varies, and you should talk to a lawyer for more information.
Cruise ship employees may also be eligible to file a cruise ship lawsuit. Injured employees may be able to file a lawsuit for medical expenses, lost income, and living expenses (especially for employees who live and work aboard a ship) while they recover from their injury.
Cruise Ship Disasters
January 14, 2012 — 32 people died after the luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia ran aground off the coast of an Italian island. After the captain ran his ship into a sandbar, he waited more than an hour to order more than 4,000 passengers and crew to abandon ship.
November 10, 2011 — 4,500 passengers aboard a Carnival Splendor cruise ship were stranded off the coast of Mexico when an engine fire disabled the ship. The engine fire cut power to the ship. Toilets, showers, lights, laundry, and air conditioning did not function. Passengers were forced to sit in hot rooms and eat rations provided by the U.S. Navy for several days. Tug boats ultimately towed the boat into San Diego Bay.
July 18, 2006 — 240 people were injured when a Crown Princess cruise ship tilted approximately 15 degrees to one side, and then righted itself about 30 seconds later. 94 people were hospitalized with abrasions, bruises, and fractures after falling or being hit with falling objects. The cruise company blamed human error for the mishap, and the employees responsible were reassigned.
In February 2014, health officials from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) began investigating four outbreaks of norovirus on cruise ships in less than two months. In January, the Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas had to cut its voyage short after 634 passengers and 55 crew members were infected with norovirus, earning the ship the nickname “Exploder of the Seas.” Outbreaks also occurred on a Caribbean Princess (181 out of 3,102 passengers) and a Norwegian Cruise Line Star (130 of 3,219). In February, 114 passengers and 10 crew members on the Holland America MS Veendam got sick. Click here to read more.
What is Norovirus?
Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that is a major problem on cruise ships, where thousands of passengers coexist in tight quarters. It spreads between infected people, contaminated food, water, and surfaces. It causes severe inflammation in the stomach or intestines, causing explosive vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain for 12-72 hours. Anyone can get norovirus, and some people are infected multiple times in their life. It is estimated to cause 19-21 million illnesses every year and 570-800 deaths.
Major Cruise Ship Companies
Major cruise ship companies include:
- Carnival Corporation (the world’s largest cruise company)
- Holland America
- Princess Cruises
- Disney Cruise Line
- Norwegian Cruise Line
- Royal Caribbean
- Crystal Cruises
- Regent Seven Seas Cruises
- Oceania Cruises
- Silversea Cruises
This list is not exhaustive. There are dozens of cruise ship companies, including many that operate smaller vessels to rivers, lakes, and islands around the world.
Do I have a Cruise Ship Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting cruise ship induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been injured on a cruise ship, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Cruise Ship Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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