Recently, a cruise ship passenger died after a shore excursion accident in St. Kitts. The passenger was traveling aboard the Carnival Glory, a ship which departed from Miami for 10 nights in the Eastern Caribbean. According to reports, the guest was participating in Snuba, a form of diving with air provided from above the water. This shore excursion was apparently booked through the cruise line. It is unclear what happened during the excursion, but the passenger experienced some sort of distress. An ambulance arrived some 20 minutes after it was called and pronounced the man dead at the scene of the accident.
Cruise Ship Liability for Shore Excursion Accidents
The cruise ship can be held accountable for shore excursion accidents dependent upon the individual circumstances of the accident. There are several issues that a court will consider in assessing the potential liability of the cruise line, including:
Waivers and Disclaimers
Passengers will generally be provided with an array of written disclaimers indicating that the off shore excursion is operated by a third party and the cruise ship will not be responsible for injuries sustained. The passenger ticket may contain language warning passengers that excursions are made solely for their convenience and at their risk. Prior to engaging in the activity, the passenger may be asked to sign an additional waiver holding the cruise line harmless in the event of injury or death.
However, several cases, including a recent Florida case entitled Smolnikar v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, have held that a cruise line cannot limit its liability for its own negligence. As such, even a properly executed waiver will not generally eliminate a cruise ship passenger's right to bring an action based on the cruise ship's negligence. Further, as outlined in the Smolnikar case, this rule applies to shore excursions as well as activities on the ship.
Liability can arise when a cruise line is negligent in its selection of a shore excursion company. Cruise lines have a duty to investigate the safety record of excursion operators before offering them to their passengers. This includes inquiring into the experience of the operator, their safety record, licensing, and more. If a cruise ship fails to conduct this inquiry and selects and unsafe company, resulting in harm to a passenger, liability can result.
Anyone injured in a cruise ship excursion should consult with an attorney as soon as possible. Cruise ships have powerful legal teams that will vigorously defend against all claims, but passengers who have the assistance of an experienced attorney can successfully bring their action and obtain the compensation they deserve.
Contact the Cruise Ship Accident Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano Today For Your Free Consultation!
Cruise ship excursions can be fun and exciting, but if the excursion company is not licensed and does not meet safety standards, your life could be in danger. If you or a loved has been injured while on a cruise, contact the Miami Cruise Ship Accident Lawyers at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano. Our outstanding cruise ship accident attorneys will diligently fight for your full recovery. We have over 130 collective years of experience representing cruise ship accident victims across South Florida and will put our considerable experience to work for you. Contact our firm as soon as possible to protect your legal rights. Our firm is proud to have received an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and is ranked as a top firm in South Florida by the Miami Herald. Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or you can visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.