Avvo Client Choice 2016 Personal Injury

What Duties Do Cruise Ship Companies Owe to Passengers?

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Nothing says vacation like a long cruise filled with dancing, drinking and all-you-can-eat buffets. Most people do not board cruise ships with the expectation that they will be injured or killed. However, this happens more frequently than we realize. Since 2005, 448 major cruise ship accidents were reported, according to the World Maritime News. Of those 448 accidents, 66 of those ships ran aground, 79 have crashed into other vessels, and more than 15 have sunk, according to this same study.

With these types of numbers, it’s natural to wonder what duties cruise lines owe to their passengers.

Cruise Line Duties

When a cruise line takes on passengers, they have a duty to ensure safe transportation. Every country has its own vessel inspection laws, and the cruise ship is required to adhere to those inspection laws. If the cruise ship is picking up passengers in U.S. ports, those cruise ships must adhere to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). This convention has strict requirements for crew competency and training, as well as numerous requirements for vessel seaworthiness.

Additionally, the Shipping Act of 1984 demands a heightened duty of care when it comes to cruise ships. They must ensure that all passengers arrive safely and owe a special duty of care to protect their passengers from criminal attacks.

If a passenger disappears from a cruise ship, the cruise line has a duty to perform a reasonable search and rescue, return to the place the passenger was last seen and report the disappearance.

Injuries Aboard Cruise Lines

When injuries occur on a cruise, passengers may seek compensation from a number of parties, from the actual cruise line owners and operators to the charter company to the ticketing agents. Compensation may be had for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages.

If you are injured on a cruise ship, you must pay special attention to the language on your ticket, because it often governs the laws and location where you may file suit. This may, in turn, limit your damages in some way.

To prove that the cruise line is liable for an injury, you must show that:

  1. The cruise line owed you a duty;
  2. The cruise line breached that duty;
  3. The breach of that duty caused your injury; and
  4. The injury caused you damages.

If you have been injured while on a cruise ship, you may be entitled to compensation for those injuries. Contact J&Y Law today for a free consultation.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.