Slip-and-falls and trip–and-falls are common occurrences on cruise ships and cause hundreds of injuries every year. Floridians who slip and fall or suffer another injury upon a cruise ship may bring a negligence or wrongful death claim against the responsible party. While these cases seem straightforward, they are rarely cut-and-dry, and injury victims must meet strict evidentiary and procedural requirements.
Recently, the Eleventh Circuit addressed an appeal from a Florida district court stemming from injuries a cruise ship passenger suffered after slipping on a puddle of water. According to the record, the woman slipped on a puddle and broke her hip shortly after boarding the cruise ship. She filed a complaint against the cruise ship for negligence, and the district court found in favor of the cruise ship. The lower court found that the cruise ship lacked a duty to protect the woman because its crewmembers did not have actual or constructive notice of the puddle that caused her fall.
Generally, in Florida, maritime law governs the liability of a cruise ship for a passenger’s slip-and-fall. In these cases, the plaintiff must make four primary showings to prevail:
- The cruise ship had a duty to protect the victim from a particular injury;
- The cruise ship breached that duty;
- The breach actually and proximately caused the victim’s injuries; and
- The victim suffered actual harm.
On appeal, the Eleventh Circuit reversed, finding that the lower court’s summary judgment in favor of the defendant was improper. In its analysis, the circuit court reviewed a prior decision in Carroll v. Carnival Corp and found that the relevant question is whether the cruise ship “had actual or constructive knowledge” that the pool deck where the woman fell could be slippery and therefore dangerous when wet. Moreover, evidence that a shipowner has taken corrective action can establish notice of a dangerous or defective condition. Here, the circuit court found that it does not matter that the caution sign was not placed exactly where the plaintiff fell. The fact that warning signs were posted on the pool deck in the area of the woman’s fall is enough to withstand summary judgment as to notice.
Have You Suffered Injuries on a Cruise Ship?
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries on a cruise ship, contact the experienced Florida attorneys at Friedman Rodman Frank & Estrada for assistance with your claim. Our attorneys have a long history of successfully representing injury victims and their families in their claims against negligent individuals, organizations, and businesses. In addition to Florida, cruise ship accident cases, our office handles claims stemming from other types of personal injury, wrongful death, and medical malpractice. We have secured significant sums of compensation for our clients and consistently provide injury victims with the respect, compassion, and zealous advocacy they deserve. Contact our office at 877-448-8585 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney on our team.