When you book a cruise, you are looking forward to the vacation of a lifetime. You are probably not anticipating an injury or illness, but people regularly get injured during cruises, either on the ship or at a port of call. Many passenger ships dock along the California coastline, but their voyages frequently take them into international waters, which may leave you wondering where the liability resides if you seek medical attention after a cruise injury.
There is a wide range of possible injuries or illnesses you could encounter while cruising. You could slip on a wet deck and sprain your back. The captain may be forced to turn the ship sharply to avoid an obstacle in the water, knocking a heavy suitcase from an overhead cabinet on top of you. An outbreak of norovirus can spread quickly among the passengers and crew. You could suffer burns or smoke inhalation if a fire breaks out in a passenger area. It is even possible for some crew members to behave aggressively or unprofessionally and injure you in a confrontation.
Many cruise line mishaps, especially falls during rough seas or illness during viral outbreaks, occur outside the control of the ship operator. However, FindLaw explains that the cruise company can be held liable if the captain or operators knew about a safety issue and failed to take measures to protect passengers. It is recommended to read the legal print on the back of your cruise ticket for information on liability and the statute of limitations on filing a lawsuit if you are injured. However, since this topic is complex, the information in this blog should not replace the advice of a lawyer.