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Who is responsible when an injury occurs on a cruise ship?

Question: My elderly mother recently took a cruise to celebrate her 85th birthday. While on the cruise, she slipped on a wet deck and sustained a back injury. She went to the ship’s doctor and he recommended rest. Now she is having problems with severe neck pain and her doctor thinks it is due to the fall on the boat. Do we have a case against the company that owns the ship and if so, how do we file a claim?

Answer: The kind of case you are referring to would be a slip-and-fall case. These cases can happen anywhere. Common locations are grocery stores, when, after mopping floors, residual water creates a slippery floor, or parking lots after significant storms. Home and business owners have a responsibility to maintain safe environments for people who traverse the property. These kinds of claims are handled by attorneys who practice in personal injury.

Your mother’s case, however, is somewhat unique in that her case is not covered by state personal injury statutes, but by maritime law. That may seem unusual, but cruise ships are generally owned by companies and corporations that are not based in the U.S. As such, a broader area of law is applied.

There are many factors that help determine whether someone has a valid legal claim, including medical history and overall health, degree of injury and whether the injury can be proven to be a total or partial result of the fall she sustained. Without seeing your mother’s medical records and getting more information, we can’t positively ascertain whether she has a case. However, it is always important to consult with an attorney, as if records prove that your mother’s neck problems are due to her fall on the cruise, she may be entitled to compensation.

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