Slip & Fall
Slips, trips and falls are one of the most common type of injury that can occur while on board a cruise ship. The reason for this is that walking surfaces can be wet and slippery from many substances – rain, sea water spray, drink spills, tanning lotion spills, cleaning products and pool water. Additionally, there are often many different types of surfaces and points where one surface transitions to another – tile, wood deck, carpet, marble, etc. During the course of any given day, a guest can transition between many different types of footwear, from barefoot, to slippers, to flip-flops, to sneakers to high heels. Finally, guests can have their balance altered by the ship’s motion, alcoholic beverage consumption or medication.
Not all slip and falls are the cruise ship’s responsibility. As a passenger, you are responsible for being able to perceive open and obvious conditions and to take proper precautions. Nevertheless, where conditions are not open and obvious or where spills or wet conditions exist and either are within the cruise ship’s knowledge or have existed for a sufficient length of time that cruise ship staff should have known about them, then the cruise line will bear responsibility for any resulting injury caused by the dangerous condition.
The cruise line and any other operators (such as for example the spa company) on the cruise ship owe you two duties. They are the duties to:
1. Maintain the cruise ship in a reasonably safe condition and correct a dangerous condition which is either known to the cruise line or should be known to it through the use of reasonable care; and to:
2. Warn of a dangerous condition about which the cruise line had or should have had knowledge greater than the passenger.
You need to show that the cruise line’s negligence caused your injury in order to recover your damages. The cruise line can argue that you were comparatively negligent in causing the accident.
Contributory fault of the passenger will diminish proportionately the amount awarded as economic and noneconomic damages, but will not bar any recovery. What that means is that if you are partially responsible for your injury because you weren’t paying attention or were running or otherwise acting in a manner in which a jury could hold you responsible to some degree, your recovery will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to you.
Often passengers will receive treatment for their slip and fall injuries from different medical providers in diverse locations. Medical evaluation and treatment can start onboard the cruise ship and progress to the emergency room of the port of debarkation, then to the passenger’s hometown doctor or hospital and potentially to specialists in the passenger’s hometown or even to a regional trauma center specialty medical group to assisted living or rehabilitation centers. All of these medical records need to be collected by the law firm within a short time period in order to make a pre-suit demand well before the typical one (1) year statute of limitations expires.
More importantly however, in order to assist the injured passenger to reach the best possible medical result as quickly as possible while properly documenting and justifying the claim from a medico-legal perspective and obtaining a final evaluation and report detailing the client’s diagnosis, prognosis, disability rating and anticipated future medical expenses, it is both supremely important yet very challenging for the cruise ship injury attorney to “medically manage” the client’s medical care across all those geographically diverse and unfamiliar providers. To that end the experienced cruise ship injury law firm must work closely with its injured client to carefully manage his or her medical care with the goal of efficiently reaching maximum medical improvement (“MMI”) and identifying what resultant disability the client will be left with and in identifying how that disability will affect that client’s life going forward.
As you can see, slip or trip and fall injuries while on cruise ships, while sounding somewhat simple to attempt to settle, are actually very complicated with many interrelated and moving parts. These cases require experienced and competent cruise ship injury lawyers that can guide and medically manage the client’s care through the process of obtaining full and fair compensation from the cruise line. Charlip Law Group, LC has that experience and would like to assist you in making both your medical as well as your financial recovery. Contact us today.
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Charlip Law Group, LC is located in North Miami, FL and serves clients in and around North Miami Beach, Miami Beach, Miami, Hialeah, Opa Locka, Dania, Key Biscayne, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Pompano Beach, Broward County and Miami-Dade County.
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