Cruise Ship Accident Attorneys in Seattle
When people think of cruise ships, they think of fun in the sun and a week of relaxing. Most of the time, that’s true. Cruise ships are essentially small cities. They often have multiple restaurants, swimming pools, casinos, thousands of passengers and crew members, and even golf courses!
But sometimes, things go wrong. And the very people looking for paradise end up injured, often due to someone else’s negligence. When an accident occurs on a cruise ship or onshore expedition, the injured person may wish to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. But these cases are extremely complicated, involving many different laws, jurisdictions, and sometimes even countries.
No one is prepared to take on major cruise ship companies on their own. If you or a family member was hurt on Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, or any of the other cruise lines that depart from Seattle, speak to our Washington boat accident attorney at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., right away at (888) 228-3860.
Types of Cruise Ship Accidents
Due to the nature of cruise ships and the many amenities they provide, many accidents and injuries can occur onboard. Some of the most common accidents are:
- Falling overboard
- Getting hit by a falling object
- Accidents on the dock, such as when boarding and exiting the ship
- Swimming pool or waterslide accident
- Accidents occurring during an onshore expedition
- Medical malpractice
- Sexual assault
- Physical assault
When crew members, other passengers, or the cruise line company causes or contributes to these accidents or crimes, those injured may be able to file a lawsuit to seek compensation.
Cruise Ship Laws
There are many laws pertaining to cruise ships. First, they are considered common carriers. This means that they must ensure that every public part of the ship is safe for passengers to use, and that if there are hazards, crew members must warn the passengers of those hazards. Common carriers have a higher duty of care than commercial stores and other businesses have to their customers.
Many cruise ships are also international carriers, and most operate under a flag different than the United States’. When this is the case, oftentimes the cruise ship company gets to decide whether the lawsuit is heard in the United States, or elsewhere. These laws are applied under the Athens Convention.
However, all U.S. passengers are protected by the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, which states that passengers are entitled to remain safe at all times. The Death on the High Seas by Wrongful Act is another law that allows United States citizens to file a wrongful death lawsuit in the event of a family member’s death at sea.
Liability in Cruise Ship Accidents
Most cruise ship companies require passengers to sign a waiver before boarding. This waiver will state that the cruise ship company is not responsible for an accident or injury that occurs while the passenger is onboard. Some passengers may not take the time to read these waivers, while others may think that they are bound to the waiver and not take legal action for an injury because they believe they’ve already signed away their rights.
That may not be true. Waivers do not exonerate cruise ships from negligent or careless actions, and when they occur, passengers may be able to file a lawsuit against cruise ship employees or the company.
If you were injured on a cruise ship, you may be entitled to compensation even if you signed a waiver before boarding. But these cases are extremely complicated and there are strict deadlines for filing a claim, so you will need an experienced Seattle personal injury attorney to represent you to the cruise line and its insurers.
At Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., we are those attorneys. Call us today toll-free at (888) 228-3860 for a free consultation. Cruise ship accident cases are very difficult to handle, and we want to help.
- Come Sail Away: Cruise Ship Health Fail
- Can Cruise Ships Be Held Responsible for Passenger Injuries?
- Boating Regulations in Washington State
- Passenger Cruise Ship Information - U.S. Department of Transportation