Slips and Falls
Slips and falls are the most common causes of injury on cruise ships. Each year, hundreds of passengers, and even ship employees, have slip and fall accidents due to improperly maintained or cleaned decks, floors, and carpeting. While slip and fall accident cases may seem clear and straightforward, they are not. Because these accidents are so common, the cruise lines have become skilled in defending them. At the Flanagan Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Law Firm, we are familiar with the cruise lines’ defenses and we know how to overcome them.
What Do You Need to Prove in Your Slip and Fall Case?
The cruise line and its employees have a responsibility to use reasonable care under the circumstances to provide you and your family with a safe environment that’s free from dangerous conditions. This means that to prove your case, you must show that the cruise line negligently or intentionally did not provide a reasonably safe environment. Furthermore, you must prove that this failure caused you to slip and fall, suffering injury.
For example, if a cruise line allows a puddle of liquid or tripping hazard to remain for an unreasonable amount of time without cleaning the spill or warning passengers about the danger, they may have failed to provide a reasonably safe environment. Likewise, if a cruise line places flooring material that is known to be very slippery when wet near water, like on a pool deck, an argument could be made that the safety of passengers was disregarded. In these circumstances, the cruise line has created a dangerous and known safety hazard for which they may be held liable.
How Do Cruise Lines Defend Slip and Fall Cases?
One of the most common tactics cruise lines use is to blame the passenger. Cruise lines routinely argue that the passenger was not paying attention when he or she slipped, or that the cause of the fall was “obvious.” They sometimes even argue that the passenger caused the slippery condition.
Cruise lines also use the passenger’s lack of knowledge about the cause of the slip to their advantage. When a passenger slips and falls due to unexpected liquid on the floor or deck, the passenger usually does not know how or when the liquid was spilled, where it came from, or even what the substance was. If the passenger knew this information, then the fall likely would have been avoided. After the passenger falls, it is typically too late to gather this information. The passenger is distracted by the trauma of the fall, is in too much pain, or is too confused to examine the condition. Once the passenger leaves the scene for medical care or to report what occurred to ship employees, the cruise line often dispatches employees to clean the area and put down a “wet floor” sign. Only after the area is cleaned will the cruise line take photographs to document the so-called scene of the accident.
The cruise line will then attempt to show these photographs to the jury to demonstrate that they acted appropriately and were not at fault. Cruise lines also routinely obtain statements from employees, called witness statements, who will claim that the area was regularly cleaned and/or well-maintained. If the cruise line obtains witness statements from employees or passengers that do not support their defense, the cruise line will frequently claim these witness statements to be “confidential” or “privileged,” and they will attempt to avoid giving these helpful statements to the passenger.
In these circumstances, you need an experienced injury lawyer to handle your case and to thwart the cruise line’s defenses by discovering evidence in your favor including, but not limited to, video surveillance footage, photographs, witness statements, records of prior slip and fall accidents on the ship, and the cruise line’s “confidential” incident report that documents your slip and fall.
If you’ve been injured because of slipping or falling while on a cruise ship, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our firm today at (888) 216-8699 to discuss the merits of your case!