Cruises are a popular vacation choice for people all over the U.S. They offer passengers great food and drinks, excellent entertainment, wonderful accommodations, and a chance to travel the world. However, cruises are not without their dangers. Every year, passengers are injured or killed following falls from cruise ships. Below is an overview of when cruise ships are liable for falls overboard.
Common Reasons for Falls Overboard
There are several reasons for falls overboard. If a passenger falls overboard for any of the following reasons, the cruise ship may be held liable.
Inadequate warnings of rough seas: When a cruise ship becomes aware of rough waters, it must notify every passenger immediately. If a cruise ship fails to inform passengers of rough conditions and someone falls overboard, the cruise ship can be held liable.
Violence: If a cruise ship crew member’s aggressive behavior causes a fall overboard, the cruise ship can be held liable. However, if the aggressive party is another passenger on the ship, the cruise ship can only be held liable if it anticipated the violent event and failed to take steps to prevent it.
Defective or inadequate handrails: The Cruise Safety Act requires every cruise ship that travels to and from the U.S. to have handrails measuring no less than 42 inches tall. If a cruise ship’s failure to install or maintain handrails as required by the Cruise Safety Act results in a fall overboard, the victim or the victim’s family may file a lawsuit.
Passenger intoxication: If a cruise ship’s bartender serves a passenger too much alcohol and that individual becomes intoxicated and falls overboard, the cruise line is liable. Cruise ships have an obligation to ensure that their passengers don’t become dangerously intoxicated.
Inadequate search and rescue efforts: If a passenger goes missing or falls overboard, the cruise ship is required to perform reasonable search and rescue operations. If a cruise ship fails to adequately respond to a report of a missing passenger or a fall overboard, the cruise line can be held legally responsible.
Contact Our Experienced Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana Maritime Attorneys
Suffering an injury or losing a loved one as a result of a fall overboard can be devastating. Luckily, victims and their families have legal recourse when a cruise ship is to blame for a fall overboard. However, if you or a family member has been affected by a fall from a cruise ship, it is imperative that you contact an experienced team of Louisiana and Gulf of Mexico admiralty and maritime lawyers for assistance with your lawsuit. At Koch & Schmidt, we provide cruise ship injury victims with powerful legal representation. If you or a loved one have fallen overboard while on a cruise ship, our knowledgeable attorneys will aggressively pursue compensation on your behalf. Please contact us as soon as possible for a free evaluation of your case.