Miami Slip & Fall on Cruise Ship Attorneys
Slip and falls are the most common causes of injury on cruise ships. Each year, hundreds of passengers, and even ship crewmembers, 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. We are familiar with the cruise lines’ defenses and we know how to overcome them.
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What You Need to Prove Your Miami Slip & 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 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.
Negligent Flooring Selection or Flooring Maintenance
Cruise ships are designed by the cruise lines and various shipbuilders and designers. Part of the design process involves selecting appropriate flooring surfaces for the various areas of the ship. When a cruise line implements an inappropriate flooring surface that is unreasonably slippery, the cruise line may be liable for causing a slip and fall.
For example, on the pool deck, the cruise line is well-aware that the area is going to be wet with pool water, sunscreen, spilled drinks, and rainwater. Therefore, the cruise line should install a flooring surface in this area that is designed to be very slip resistant when wet. However, oftentimes, the flooring surface selected is extremely slippery when wet. This results in many passengers slipping and falling even though they were being careful because the area was obviously wet. The flooring was just extremely slippery when wet.
Under these circumstances, even if there was a slippery when wet sign present at the scene, you would still have a case against the cruise line. Furthermore, it is likely that you are not the first person to have fallen as a result of this condition.
Failure to Appropriately Design Stairs
Cruise ships are required to use reasonable care in designing stairs and changes in elevation on their ships. This requires the cruise ship conform with reasonable and appropriate design customs that we are all familiar with on land.
These standards include:
- The tread and riser of the stairs be uniform from step to step.
- The treads are not excessively rounded.
- The top of the stairway be marked with a visual cue to alert people that a stairway is ahead.
- The stairs have a reasonable coefficient of friction.
Nevertheless, some ships have stairways that do not comply with reasonable design standards. When this occurs, some of the most important evidence will be the number of other people that had slip and fall or trip and fall accidents on the stairs before and after your incident. We have handled cases where dozens of people fell over a period of years due to a dangerously designed stair – and the cruise line never bothered to fix the stair.
Failure to Clean a Spill
The cruise line and its employees are required to use reasonable care to notice, warn, and clean dangerous conditions on their ships. Sometimes, the cruise line will admit that a puddle existed, and sometimes they won’t. However, in these cases, the biggest burden is proving that the cruise line knew, or should have known, of the dangerous spill.
Under maritime law, we must prove that the cruise line, through its employees either knew or should have known of the dangerous condition.
This can be done several ways, including:
- Through circumstantial evidence showing that the puddle or dangerous condition existed for a substantial period of time.
- Through showing that the cruise line employees were in the area but didn’t see the spill.
- Through showing that the employees saw the spill but did not timely act.
- Through showing that the spill was so large that the cruise line employees should have seen it and cleaned it.
Failure to Place a Warning Sign in a Safe Location
On cruise ships, the crew is usually instructed to mark a dangerous spill with a warning sign before beginning to clean the spill. We have handled cases where a crew member failed to place a warning sign in the correct area which resulted in a passenger slipping and falling and becoming severely injured. In this case, the crew member placed a caution sign in a main hallway to warn passengers but failed to realize that guests would be exiting an elevator and walking through the area of the spill without ever having the opportunity to see the caution sign.
How Do Cruise Lines Defend Slip & 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.
Common Injuries From a Cruise Ship Slip and Fall Incident
Some of the most common injuries resulting from a slip and fall accident on a cruise ship include:
- Broken or fractured bones
- Head or traumatic brain injuries
- Ligament injuries
- Orthopedic injuries
- Spine and nerve damage
- Cuts and bruises
While not as common, injuries can also occur from slipping and falling overboard. These accidents can result in:
- Hypothermia (stage 1, 2, or 3)
- Immersion syndrome, which affects heart rhythm and function
We can help you recover compensation for any of these injuries and more.
We Are Here to Help You Defend Yourself
In these circumstances, you need an experienced cruise ship 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, cruise line safety audits, safety focus groups, engineer’s reports, and the cruise line’s “confidential” incident report that documents your slip and fall.