Published on:

The “Open and Obvious” Defense

Cruise Ship Accident Attorneys Explore Common Cruise Line Defenses Against Slip and Falls

Slip and falls are one of the most common accidents to occur on cruise ships.  As Miami cruise ship accident attorneys, we have to be prepared for classic defense tactics utilized by cruise lines.  One such tactic is assertion of the “open and obvious” defense.  Cruise lines owe a duty of reasonable care to their passengers.  To prevail on a slip and fall claim, an injured accident victim must prove that the cruise line acted negligently.  Even with this established, the cruise line can raise several defenses.  Among the most used is the open and obvious defense.

The Open and Obvious Defense

Cruise lines have the duty to warn passengers of known dangers, but this duty does not extend to open and obvious dangers. Open and obvious dangers are considered those that should be obvious to a passenger by the ordinary use of one’s senses.  When faced with a slip and fall claim, cruise lines will often raise this defense and claim the cruise ship had no duty to warn its passengers of the obvious danger.  The success of this defense will depend on the unique circumstances of the case.

Our Miami cruise ship accident attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano summarize the following case to illustrate the concept of open and obvious.  In the case of Salazar v. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, LTD., and NCL (Bahamas) LTD, Salazar was cruising on the Sky with his wife.  One evening, after consuming a few alcoholic beverages, Salazar and his wife went to one of the ship’s discos, wearing only sandals on his feet.  He approached the DJ to request a song when he slipped and fell on liquid spilled on the floor.  Salazar filed suit against the cruise line, but the cruise line raised the defense of open and obvious and moved to dismiss the claim on this, among other grounds.

The district court considered whether spilled liquids on the disco floor was an open and obvious condition, and ultimately concluded that it was.  According to the court, human experience should cause one to realize that liquid may be spilled on a dance floor when the dance floor is crowded with intoxicated, dancing cruise ship passengers.  The case was dismissed on summary judgment.

As this case illustrates, the defense of open and obvious can prove challenging for some slip and fall accident victims.  Those that have suffered injuries after falling on a cruise line should anticipate this defense and gather evidence to refute it.  The facts of your case will be essential to determining whether the defense of open and obvious is a viable one.

Contact the Miami Cruise Ship Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano Today to Schedule Your Free Consultation!

Slip and falls on a cruise ship can leave you in considerable pain and unable to return to your living and work duties.  Slip and fall cases can be complex, and the cruise line represents a formidable opponent.  Arm yourself against the cruise line by contacting the Miami Cruise Ship Lawyers at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano.   At Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, we bring over 130 years of combined professional experience to your case. Our firm provides the dedicated and knowledgeable representation you need to go up against the giant cruise industry.  We have received an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell and have been named a Top South Florida Law Firm by the Miami Herald.  Call us today at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 to schedule your free consultation with one of our top rated attorneys or you can contact us online.


Contact Information