What Are The Legal Implications Of Cruise Ship Accidents?

Cruise ship accidents can turn a relaxing vacation into a nightmare. The fallout from a passenger’s misfortune may include various medical and financial difficulties; If injuries are a result of medical negligence onboard, consulting a medical malpractice lawyer might be essential. Along with having to cut a vacation short and possibly having to delay their return back home or to work. If these headaches become too much for a passenger to bear, litigation may be required to help ease some of the burden.

All cruise ship accidents are relatively unpredictable, but some of them are preventable:

  • If a passenger slips on a deck and falls, the cruise line can be responsible for not placing a wet floor sign near the scene.
  • If a passenger becomes heavily intoxicated and injures themselves or others, the company can be liable for over-serving the passenger.
  • If the boundary of a ship’s deck is old/improperly secured and a passenger falls overboard, the cruise line may be responsible for not thoroughly inspecting the ship.

A company can be deemed responsible for a passenger’s injuries even if it occurs while the ship is in port and the passenger is on land
, as the passenger is the responsibility of the company for the entire duration of the trip.


When injured passengers choose to file a claim, many of them are not aware of the unique stipulations that come with maritime law. According to legal precedent, in order for a company to be considered liable for an injury or accident, it must be proven that the company was at fault, due to negligence or knowing endangerment. Consulting with a personal injury lawyer can provide clarity on these complex legal matters.

Some cruise lines will print a passenger’s rights should any legal action be needed on the reverse side of a boarding pass
. This information could include conditions regarding where a lawsuit against a particular company can be filed, which is usually where the headquarters of the company are located. The ticket may also mention a specific timeframe in which an injured passenger can file a lawsuit, called a statute of limitations. This statue of limitations tends to vary across companies. When passengers buy their tickets and willingly board the ship, they are acknowledging that they understand and will comply with these stipulations.

As stated before, a lawyer must be able to prove that a company was liable in the situation in order for an injured passenger to have a credible case. In most instances, if the injury was directly caused by a careless action by employees of the company, a passenger should consider legal representation. But if the injury or ailment cannot be traced back to the company, then the case is more difficult to prove. For example, if a passenger contracted an infectious illness from another passenger who showed no discernible symptoms, the passenger who contracted the disease would likely not be able to file a suit.

Regardless of the injury sustained, it is important to consider speaking with a legal representative if an injured passenger feels a company is at fault in any way.

Attorney Terry Bryant

Attorney Terry BryantTerry Bryant is Board Certified in personal injury trial law, which means his extensive knowledge of the law has been recognized by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, setting him apart from many other injury attorneys. The 22 years he spent as a Municipal Judge, Spring Valley Village, TX also provides him keen insight into the Texas court system. That experience also helps shape his perspective on personal injury cases and how they might resolve. This unique insight benefits his clients. [ Attorney Bio ]