While posing for pictures aboard the 14th deck of the Carnival cruise ship LIBERTY, a three year old girl slipped through the rail and fell down the stairs from the 14th deck to the 12th deck, approximately 12 to 15 feet. The toddler was knocked unconscious and according to reports may have sustained a broken jaw. The young child was evaluated by medical personnel aboard the ship and a decision was made to return to homeport in Galveston, Texas and transfer the child to a hospital. The ship was met by an ambulance and the toddler was rushed to The University of Texas Medical Branch. Fortunately, the child was alert and stable at the time she was transported.
Maritime law holds the operator of a vessel owes all persons aboard the vessel a duty of reasonable care under the circumstances to avoid causing personal injury and to warn of any dangers of which he knows or should know. Kermarec v. Compagnie Generale Transatlantique, 358 U.S. 625 (1959).
Ordinarily, if the cruise ship does not create the dangerous condition, the cruise ship must have actual or constructive knowledge of the condition and the opportunity to cure or warn to give rise to negligence. While it is unknown at this time what caused the toddler to slip through the rail, if the dangerous condition is one which was created by the cruise ship, notice is not an essential part of the cause of action. McDonough v. Celebrity Cruises, Inc., 2000 AMC 257 (S.D.N.Y. 1999).
If you or a loved one are injured while aboard a cruise ship, it is imperative you act quickly to protect your rights. Provisions in the passenger contract ticket may substantially affect your claim, including where you have to file suit and the time within which it must be filed. We are an established maritime and admiralty firm experienced in protecting the rights of people injured by the negligence of vessel operators, including cruise lines. If you would like to learn more about your legal rights under maritime law, contact our firm.
VIDEO CREDIT: KTRK-TV in Houston