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Does Every Injury Mean the Cruise Ship Is Liable?

Injuries and deaths occur on cruise ships every year. The main cause of that is negligence, but there are times when a cruise ship will have a valid defense when a claim is made against them. Founder of Percy Martinez Law office, Percy Martinez, and his partners have had a large number of clientele that became victims of a cruise ship accident. The sad part is that these people went aboard a cruise ship to have a good time while vacationing, but instead, it ended in tragedy and caused a trauma for the rest of their lives. This firm can help not only recover the financial aspect of a claim but give moral support during this hard time that the victim may be living through.

A case that displays how a cruise ship is not always liable for every injury is in Salazar v. Norweigein Cruise Line Holdings which was decided by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. This case was about a man that claimed he slipped due to a spill that was in the disc jockey booth. He expressed how the cruise line was negligent in not cleaning up the spill and that is what led to his injuries, but the cruise line countered him saying they did not have any notice of the spill and could not have been negligent if they lacked the knowledge that the spill was even there.

The application of maritime law led to the dismissal of the case. The court decided that every bad thing that happens to a passenger while they are on board is not necessarily because of the cruise ships negligence. Only when an accident caused by negligence will a cruise ship be held liable. Regardless of the matter, once the cruise sets sail, they must make sure they provide reasonable care to everyone on board.

The burden of proof to win a negligence case includes the following:

  • The plaintiff was supposed to be protected by the cruise line
  • The cruise line failed to provide adequate protection
  • Their lack of protection is what caused the injuries; and
  • There was harm done to the passenger from that specific injury

In the case above, there was not enough burden of proof, so the judge ruled for the dismissal of the case. Open and obvious dangers do not need to be warned by cruise lines, they are only required to warn passengers of any known dangers. Anyone knows that when you go on a dance floor there is going to be dancing and most likely with many intoxicated people who are drinking while dancing. Those drinks can spill and would not even be noticed by a drunk person. Therefore, the court stated that anyone with common sense would have known that.

The proof that the cruise line had notice of the spill was not present in the plaintiff’s argument, which meant that the cruise ship could not be held liable for something they did not know about and had no control over.

Had the plaintiff demonstrated that the cruise ship and crew members knew about the spill but did not react to cleaning it up, or had known that someone could have fallen because of the spill, then the plaintiff may have won the case. It would have been a different outcome for the plaintiff. “Constructive notice” is when employees have received notice about a certain problem that can cause injuries to a passenger if it is not fixed, but Norwegian cruise line did not have that notice.

Maritime and Slip and Fall Attorneys

Maritime laws are composed of various regulations and someone who does not know those well will not be able to handle any on-sea accidents. If you or a loved one was injured in a maritime accident, it is imperative that you contact a firm that has experience litigating maritime cases for of their clients.

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