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Who is liable for cruise ship accidents?

Florida is a popular place to board a cruise ship for a relaxing vacation on the ocean, and in fact, many major cruise lines are headquartered in the Sunshine State. However, for some people a dream vacation aboard a cruise ship turns into a nightmare if they are injured in a cruise ship accident. If this happens, cruise ship accident victims may wonder who they can hold responsible for the injuries and damages they suffered.

In general, if a person is injured on a cruise ship, the operator of the vessel will not be held strictly liable. Instead, there must be a finding that the cruise ship operator acted negligently or with willful intent. Negligence is determined based on whether a "reasonably careful ship operator" would have or should have known about the hazard. The law recognizes that even careful ship operators would be unable to anticipate every possible hazard.

Sometimes a cruise ship accident takes place because a crew member was negligent or acted with willful intent. However, even though "reasonably careful ship operators" cannot anticipate every action their employees will make, courts have general assigned liability to the ship operator in such circumstances. However, this does not apply to those working on a ship as an independent contractor, such as the ship's doctor.

Of course, the information in this post cannot replace the advice of an attorney or serve as the basis for any legal filing. The issue of liability is complex, especially in a cruise ship accident case. Therefore, those injured in cruise ship accidents will want to discuss their situation with a professional experienced in this area of law, who can provide advice on how the law applies to the facts of their client's specific case.

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