Florida Court Discusses Notice in Personal Injury Cases

Many people enjoy going on cruises, but unfortunately, not everyone who embarks on a cruise behaves appropriately. If a party suffers harm while on a cruise due to the negligent or intentional acts of another party, the cruise ship will typically not be deemed liable. There are exceptions, though, such as when the cruise ship is on notice that harm is likely to occur and fails to take the measures necessary to prevent it. Recently, a Florida court discussed what a plaintiff seeking compensation for harm caused by another cruise ship passenger must prove, in an opinion issued in a case in which the judge ultimately ruled in favor of the defendant. If you were injured on a cruise, it is smart to speak to a Florida personal injury attorney to discuss what damages you may be owed.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

Allegedly, the plaintiff was a passenger on a cruise ship owned by the defendant. She was walking up the gangway when the ship was docked in the Bahamas when the man walking in front of her lunged and swung at another woman. The woman fell and hit the plaintiff, causing her to fall off of the gangway and hit her head on the pier. The plaintiff subsequently suffered a traumatic brain injury and concussion and developed chronic migraines.

Reportedly, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant, arguing it had notice of the man’s dangerous propensities but negligently failed to prevent him from harming another individual. The case proceeded to a bench trial, after which the judge found that it failed to establish the defendant’s liability.

Establishing Notice of the Risk of Harm

The court explained that, in order to establish the defendant’s negligence, the plaintiff was required to prove that the defendant had a duty to protect the plaintiff, it breached its duty, and the breach proximately caused the plaintiff to suffer actual harm. Simply because a passenger on a cruise ship suffers harm does not give rise to the presumption that an unreasonable danger existed, however.

Instead, a plaintiff must show that the defendant failed to exercise due care before liability is imposed. Cruise lines have a duty to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances of each case. As such, in order to demonstrate that a cruise line breached the standard of care, a plaintiff must prove that it had constructive or actual notice of the harmful condition. Here, the court found that the plaintiff failed to demonstrate that the man’s showed his dangerous nature long enough before the incident for the cruise line to have notice that harm was likely to occur. Thus, the court ruled in favor of the defendant.

Speak to a Trusted Florida Attorney

Cruise lines have a duty to provide their passengers with a safe environment, and if they breach their duty and people suffer harm as a result, they should be held accountable. If you were hurt due to the negligence of another party, the trusted Florida personal injury lawyers of Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, P.A. can assess the circumstances surrounding your injury and determine what claims you may be able to pursue. You can contact us by calling 800-283-7442 or by using our form online to set up a consultation.



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