Florida Court Discusses Liability for Harm Sustained in a Cruise Ship Accident

Cruise ship owners have a duty to provide a safe environment for their passengers. Thus, if a cruise line allows a dangerous condition to persist on a ship and a passenger ultimately suffers harm as a result of the condition, the cruise line may be held accountable. As discussed in a recent Florida ruling, though, liability will only be imposed on a cruise line if it knew or should have known of the risk that led to the plaintiff’s injuries. If you were hurt in an accident on a cruise ship, you could be owed compensation, and it is advisable to speak to a Florida personal injury lawyer to assess what evidence you must produce to demonstrate liability.

The Plaintiff’s Fall

Allegedly, the plaintiff was a passenger aboard a cruise ship owned by the defendant when she sustained injuries in a trip and fall accident that occurred on a step in one of the ship’s dance lounges.  The plaintiff suffered injuries in the fall and subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant in which she asserted a negligence claim. In her complaint, she averred her fall was caused by poor lighting and stated that the defendant failed to warn passengers of the dangers presented by the inadequate lighting, of which it was or should have been aware.

It is reported that the parties conducted discovery, after which the defendant moved for summary judgment on the basis that the plaintiff failed to show it had actual or constructive knowledge of any dangerous condition. The court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Demonstrating Liability for Harm Sustained in a Cruise Ship Accident

On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of the defendant because the sign advising passengers to “Watch Your Step” was evidence the defendant had notice of the dangerous condition caused by the step. The appellate court declined to adopt the plaintiff’s argument and affirmed the trial court ruling.

The appellate court explained that a plaintiff seeking damages from a cruise line for harm allegedly caused by negligence must show that the defendant had a duty to prevent the plaintiff from suffering harm, the defendant breached the duty owed, and the breach proximately caused the plaintiff’s injury. In part, this means that the plaintiff has to prove that the defendant knew or should have known about the condition that created the risk of harm. The appellate court noted that a warning sign might be evidence of constructive notice but only if there is a connection between the sign and the harm. The appellate court found that no such connection existed in the subject case and therefore affirmed the trial court ruling.

Meet with an Experienced Florida Attorney

Cruises should be enjoyable experiences, but many people are unfortunately hurt in accidents on cruise ships each year. If you sustained injuries in an incident on a cruise ship, you may be able to recover damages, and you should meet with an attorney as soon as possible. The experienced Florida lawyers of Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, P.A. can assess the circumstances out of which your harm arose and advise you of what claims you may be able to pursue. You can reach us via our online form or by calling 800-283-7442 to set up a meeting.




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