Cruise Ship Liability When a Passenger Falls Overboard

May 10, 2013

Yahoo News reported that "Authorities were conducting an air and marine search Thursday off Australia's east coast for two cruise passengers who were believed to have fallen overboard" the Carnival Spirit the night before. The search was called off on Friday.

Apparently, surveillance camera footage showed that the young couple fell from the ship's mid deck Wednesday night, when the ship off the coast of Forster, Australia. According to the Yahoo news report, "the couple had been among 2,680 passengers on a South Pacific cruise. They were discovered missing as passengers disembarked, said Peter Taylor, spokesman for the ship's operator, Carnival Cruise Lines."

Passengers Falling Overboard: Not an Uncommon Occurrence

This latest's incident is just one in the many accidents that the Miami-based parent corporation, Carnival Corp., has had to deal in the past couple of years. Just over a year ago, the Costa Concordia sunk off the coast of Italy, killing 32 people. Also last year, the Costa Allegra caught fire and lost power in the Indian Ocean, leaving passengers without working toilets, running water or air conditioning for three days. Other Carnival cruises have had major issues where power was lost during this past year.

In response to these tragic accidents, the Cruise Lines International Association, a group of 26 major cruise lines, put together ten new safety rules to prevent similar accidents in the future. One of these rules required that the nationality of each passenger on a cruise ship be recorded and made readily available to search-and-rescue staff as appropriate. This latest rule was immediately applied in the Carnival Spirit incident and assisted investigators in determining that the missing passengers were from New South Wales. However, this new rule was of no help in finding the missing bodies.

A long investigation will now follow this tragedy in order to determine why these two passengers fell off the ship and so many questions will have to be answered. Was the fall voluntary or involuntary? Did the young couple try to take their lives? Was foul play involved and the bodies simply thrown overboard? Did the couple simply slip off the ship due to faulty ship conditions such as wet floors?

In order to obtain answers to these questions the rescue/recovery team will first try to find the bodies of the missing couple in order to determine if these individuals died before falling overboard. They will also have to interrogate passengers and family members in order to find clues as to whether the couple decided to take their lives. Finally, the investigators will have to obtain and review more camera footage in order to determine whether faulty conditions of the cruise ship itself was the reason why this couple fell overboard. Depending on this investigation, Carnival, Corp. may or may not be subject to yet another negligence lawsuit.

Falling Overboard Not The Only Hazard on Cruise Ship

Passengers disappearing at sea, a sinking ship or a ship that has catches fire is not the only reason passengers get injured or lose their lives on cruise ship. All types of accidents happen during cruise vacations, both on the ship and while on land. While on the ship, passengers have slipped and fallen on wet floors or damaged carpets. Passengers have contracted viruses due to poorly sanitized ship conditions. While participating in land based activities, passengers have suffered injuries when:

  1. Surfing
  2. Scuba diving or snorkeling
  3. Parasailing
  4. Boating
  5. Jet skiing
  6. Hiking
  7. ZIP lining
  8. Excursions on bicycles, on motorbikes or on 4X4 vehicles like Jeeps, etc.

The Lawyers of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. Can Help

Cruise lines often try to get an injured passenger to accept a refund as compensation for his or her injuries. You should not give into these companies' pressure to accept a mere refund in exchange for your injuries. If you or a loved one have suffered serious injuries or if a loved one died while on a cruise vacation or have been the victim(s) of serious crime(s) while taking a cruise, the cruise line may owe you financial compensation.

It is important for you to remember that these cases are governed by certain conditions set forth in the tickets. For example, according to most tickets, claimants have only six months to give written notice of the claim to the cruise line and one year from the date of the incident to file suit.

Consequently, you should contact a lawyer with experience handling these matters immediately. Only prompt legal action will force the cruise company to compensate you for your past and future medical costs (including rehabilitation therapy), your pain and suffering and your lost wages. Please note that a Florida lawyer will handle your entire case, including the initial consultation, on a contingency fee basis. This means that you don't have to pay your attorney anything, unless he o she wins your case.

Throughout the years the Cruise Lines Injury Lawyers of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. have handled many such cases against these cruise lines and can help you obtain the compensation you may deserve. If you or a close relative suffered an injury while on a cruise, we urge you to contact a law firm with experience handling cruise ship injury cases. Visit our website to learn more about our firm and contact us today.