Cruises offer the opportunity to visit exotic ports of call and embark on fun, exciting tours, but many of these destinations have safety standards and practices that are lax by U.S. standards. Permissive safety laws and regulations and depressed economic conditions can combine to make these locations dangerous for cruise passengers. Our Miami cruise injury lawyers pursue claims on behalf of passengers who pursue lawsuits against cruise lines for injuries incurred during shore excursions.
In this blog post, our Florida cruise accident attorneys review a case involving a passenger who suffered devastating injuries in a fall when the ground beneath him collapsed in a port of call. The passenger and his wife were on a Holland America cruise from San Diego to Mazatlán, Mexico. The cruise line sold a tour to the couple operated by a Mexican company that took the couple to a place called Cliff Diver’s Plaza. The passenger was hurt when he fell after pavement at the site collapsed beneath him as he was walking.
The passenger filed a lawsuit alleging negligence and misrepresentation under federal maritime law, which often applies to injuries incurred when a ship is in port. The cruise company owes a duty of “reasonable care under the circumstances” to passengers on excursions in a port of call. The trial court applied this standard because walking on pavement does not constitute a risk that only occurs during maritime travel. The trial judge also ruled that the cruise line did not have a duty to warn of the crumbling pavement unless it had actual knowledge of the hazard, or it should have known of the risk.
In his efforts to satisfy the knowledge requirement, the passenger presented a range of facts. He introduced evidence that a local Mazatlán newspaper published an article discussing the crumbling plaza pavement several months before the cruise. The court noted that the plaintiff did not present legal authority for the proposition that cruise lines have a duty to review local newspapers for all ports the ship visits. Representatives for Holland America testified that security personnel conduct a security review each morning of the ship’s ports of call. This process includes scanning major international media sources as well as information provided by Carnival, the parent company, and the Department of State. The cruise line contended that these sources did not reveal any information regarding crumbling pavement in the plaza. The court also rejected the notion that the tour operator and diver’s knowledge of the dangerous condition were relevant because it was not communicated to the cruise line.
The plaintiff also argued that Holland America was negligent in selecting the tour company. For success based on this theory, the plaintiff had to establish that the cruise line knew or reasonably should have known of the tour company’s deficiency in providing safe tours. The court also rejected this claim based on the fact no reports of injuries to passengers were made during the thirty year period the cruise line worked with the tour company.
Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano: Seeking Maximum Recovery for Serious Injury and Wrongful Death Victims and Families
This court decision demonstrates the challenges in proving the liability of a cruise line for negligence committed by tour companies during excursions. Although these cases are challenging, our Florida cruise injury attorneys have the experience and expertise you need to pursue the fullest recovery. Our Miami personal injury lawyers at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano offer the assistance you need to pursue the results you desire. For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida. We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Our skill and dedication have earned us an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald. Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.
Reming v. Holland America Line Inc.