Firm News

Can I Sue a Cruise Line If I Got Sick or Was Injured While Aboard?

People typically book a cruise intending to embark on a relaxing vacation filled with delicious food and plenty of sun. Not many of them expect to come home sick or injured from what was meant to be an enjoyable experience. 

Maritime law, also known as admiralty law, governs nautical issues and private maritime disputes and is quite different from land-based state and federal laws. Because claims against a cruise ship involve unique aspects of maritime law, they can be quite difficult to navigate. Many people may find themselves confused as to whether they are truly able to file a claim against a negligent cruise line. We’ve put together some helpful information on what to do when you think you may have a claim against a cruise line.

Common Cruise Ship Accidents

Most cruise ships are large and full of crew and passengers when at capacity. Unfortunately, more people means a greater risk of injury or illness—and a ship doctor isn’t necessarily equipped to handle certain incidents. 

“While a cruise ship will have a doctor on board to treat passengers, they oftentimes practice below the standard of care that is expected of a healthcare professional,” says Gary Alan Friedman, a top attorney at Friedman & Friedman. “This could leave injured or ill passengers with lingering or worsening effects.”

There are a number of accidents that can happen on a cruise ship and lead to injury or illness. Here are some of the reasons a passenger might visit the cruise ship’s doctor. 

  • Medical malpractice by the ship’s doctor – The ship’s doctor may provide inadequate treatment for sick or injured passengers, leading to further harm. 
  • Slipping or tripping and falling – A fall is another common accident that can lead to injury or even death in severe cases. This is often the result of a failure to provide proper maintenance. 
  • Assault – Unfortunately, assault is not unheard of on a cruise ship. It’s the cruise line’s responsibility to ensure the duty of care to passengers.
  • Recreational accidents – Many cruise ships have pools, mini golf, and other recreational activities onboard. It is the cruise line’s job to make sure that these recreational activities and locations are safe for patrons. 
  • Norovirus – This type of virus is very contagious and often creates symptoms that mimic the stomach flu.
  • Food poisoning – Food poisoning is caused by eating undercooked, spoiled, or contaminated foods. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon on a cruise ship and is often the result of negligence during food preparation.

What to Do If You’ve Been a Victim of Cruise Ship Negligence

The list above represents a small number of the kinds of accidents that can occur. If you’ve experienced any type of accident or illness while aboard a cruise ship, you may be left wondering whether you are a victim of cruise ship negligence, and, if so, what you should do. If you at all suspect you may have a claim against a cruise line, it’s critical to consult an attorney knowledgeable in maritime law, such as those at Friedman & Friedman. We will be able to evaluate your experience and provide appropriate guidance.

If you suffered from an illness while on a cruise ship, gather as much evidence as possible to substantiate your claim. How many other people became sick? What kind of symptoms did they show? Did the crew take any extra precautions, such as cleaning potentially contaminated areas? Were there any health announcements or warnings given? These are just some of the questions you’ll need to answer while gathering evidence, but they are an effective starting point. 

In the event that you become injured while on a cruise ship, you should record as much detail and evidence about the event as possible. Make sure you file and obtain a copy of any accident reports, as well as document the site of the incident as thoroughly as possible. This can be done by taking pictures of the scene and injuries, obtaining statements and information from witnesses, and seeking medical attention immediately. 

Act Fast

In general maritime law, personal injury claims must be filed within three years of the incident. Unfortunately, victims of cruise ship negligence must file a claim within a year of an incident. Victims are also required to send a written notice of a claim within six months of the incident. This makes it critical for victims to contact an attorney as soon as possible in order to avoid losing time. 

The Attorneys at Friedman & Friedman Can Handle Your Case

With a short statute of limitations for cruise ship personal injury claims, you’ll need to act fast in obtaining legal counsel and seeking compensation. If you suffered sickness or injury while on a cruise, the experienced attorneys at Friedman & Friedman can help. We’ve earned a reputation for success when dealing with cruise ship accidents and cruise-related medical malpractice—resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for our clients. We’ll put our considerable experience to work in order to get you the compensation you deserve, regardless of maritime laws and massive corporations. Don’t wait to seek out help—contact us today. 


Wed Aug 28, 9:14am