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Cruise Ship Passenger Trip and Falls – A Maritime Lawyer’s Analysis

March 27, 2011 Cruise Ship Passenger Injury Law

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Trip and fall accidents occur often on cruise ships. In fact, our Florida Board Certified Maritime Lawyers regularly represent clients who were injured in trip and fall incidents against cruise lines such as Carnival, Norwegian (NCL), Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Costa, Oceania and Disney. Injuries from trip and falls range from simple bruising and twisted ankles to torn cartilage, broken bones and ligament damage. There are a number of reasons why trip and fall accidents occur on cruise ships. The intent of this article is to explain the common causes of trip and fall accidents and the cruise lines’ responsibility to their passengers.


Why Do Trip and Fall Accidents Happen on Cruise Ships & What is the Cruise Lines’ Responsibility?


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

Failure to Maintain Deck Surfaces and Stairs

Failing to maintain deck surfaces and stairs frequently cause accidents. Nearly all of the interior decks aboard cruise ships are carpeted. However, cruise ships see hundreds of thousands of passengers and crew walking the decks each year. This heavy foot traffic causes the carpeting to tear and or buckle up. Also, thresholds connecting the watertight doors and noising securing carpet to the staircases become damaged and pried up. This change in the level of the decking surface causes a tripping hazard. If this happens, cruise lines are liable for the accident caused by the damaged deck.

Dropped Objects

Dropped objects such as discarded room service trays, cups, packages and food also cause trip and fall accidents. Cruise lines are obligated to conduct routine inspections of their decks and clear all foreign objects from the decks. However, ship personnel sometimes fail to perform this duty. If the object remains on the deck for a significant period of time, the cruise line is liable if the passenger trips over the object.

Improper Deck Construction

Unlike failing to maintain a deck which at one time was safe but became unsafe due to ware, tripping hazarders are also cause improper construction of a deck. Cruise lines are liable for injuries to passengers who trip because a deck is built with unexpected rises and/or drops.

Failure to Warn

Cruise lines also have the obligation to warn of a dangerous condition. If a deck is made unsafe because of wear, dropped objects or improper building, the cruise line must post signs in the immediate area warning of the danger. Should the cruise line fail to warn and a passenger trips, the cruise line is legally responsible.


What Damages Can Be Recovered for Trip or Fall Accidents?


Passengers who trip and are 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.


Related Articles


Click on the below articles written by our maritime lawyers to learn more about cruise lines’ obligations to their passengers:


Additional Information


Trip and fall accidents aboard cruise ships happen for a number of reasons and the cruise lines are liable for their negligent conduct. For addition information about cruise line liabilities or a free consultation of your case, contact our Florida Board Certified Maritime Attorneys.