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Cruise Ship Passenger Slip and Fall Accidents on Wet Decks – What is the Cruise Line’s Responsibility?

Cruise Passenger Slip & Fall Accident.jpgSlip and fall accidents occur often on cruise ships. In fact, we regularly represent clients who were injured in slip and falls accidents while cruising. Injuries from slip and falls range from simple bruising and twisted ankles to torn cartilage, broken bones and ligament damage. The number one culprit for these accidents is wet decks; and, many times these accidents could have been avoided if the cruise line was more careful. The intent of this article is to explain the common causes of slip and fall accidents and the cruise line’s responsibility.

Why Do Slip and Fall Accidents Happen on Cruise Ships & What is the Cruise Line’s Responsibility?

Through there are countless reasons why slip and fall accidents happen on cruise ships, these are the most common.

Washing Down Decks
Cruise ships routinely clean their exterior decks by washing them down at night or early in the morning. Many cruise lines’ cleaning procedures require ship personnel to either cordon off the area of the deck being washed or place warning cones informing passengers of the wet and slippery deck. However, due to lack of proper training, forgetfulness or by being rushed, ship personnel tasked with washing the deck at times fail to take these precautions. Not being aware of the wet deck, passengers will walk normally oblivious to the danger. This causes accidents. Cruise lines are responsible for dangers they create. Should a passenger slip on a washed deck where the cruise line did not provide notice (or adequate notice) of the wet deck, the cruise line is liable for the accident.

Spilt Drinks and Food
Spilt drinks and food also cause slip and fall accidents. Cruise lines are obligated to conduct routine inspections of their decks and clean drinks and food that have spilled. However, as above, ship personnel sometimes fail to perform this duty. If the drink or food is on the deck for a period of time where a cruise line, if exercising reasonable care in inspecting and cleaning the area, knew or should have known of the spill, the cruise line is liable if the passenger slips.

Failing to Maintain Deck Surfaces
Failing to maintain deck surfaces frequently cause accidents. Most cruise ship’s decks are painted with a special paint that has anti-skid properties mixed in to make the deck safe when wet. However, these anti-skid properties break down over time especially in areas that see heavy foot traffic. When deck paint begins to ware, the coefficient of friction decreases and the deck becomes unreasonably slippery. If this happens, cruise lines are liable for the accident.

Selection of Improper Building Materials
Unlike failing to maintain a deck which at one time was safe but became unsafe due to ware, selection of improper building materials render the deck unsafe at the time of construction. Should a passenger slip on a deck that was unsafe because the materials selected were improper, the cruise line is liable for the accident.

Damages for Slip or Fall Accidents

Passengers injured due to the negligence of cruise lines are entitled to fair and adequate compensation for damages experienced in the past and to be likely experienced in the future. Such damages include:

  • Compensation for any bodily injury resulting in pain and suffering, disability or physical impairment, disfigurement, mental anguish, inconvenience, the loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life;
  • The expense of hospitalization, medical and nursing care and treatment; and,
  • Lost earnings for the inability to work.
Additional Information

Slip and fall accidents aboard cruise ships happen for a number of reasons and the cruise lines are liable for their negligent conduct. Click here for addition information about cruise line liabilities or contact our Florida Board Certified Maritime Attorneys.