Brawls On Cruise Ships: Cruise Line Liability
Cruises are among the most popular vacation options due to their many amenities, exciting shore excursions, and countless on-board activities. According to the Port of San Francisco website, there are more than 100 cruise ship calls every year. Plus, around 400,000 passengers pass through on their way to destinations along the California Coast, Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, and many others. However, several incidents over the last few months indicate that violence is on the rise on cruise ships. A recent brawl made national news when an argument over a pool-side chair turned into a group of around 30 passengers punching and kicking each other.
This incident and others have raised questions about cruise operators’ liability for violence, and in particular their duty to protect passengers from harm. If you were injured under such circumstances, you may have legal remedies under California law. An Oakland cruise ship injuries attorney can explain the process for recovering compensation, but a summary is also helpful.
Liability for Cruise Ship Operators: Cruise lines are required to provide passengers with a safe environment during their trip, taking reasonable care to ensure they do not suffer harm because of foreseeable dangers. When they fail in this duty and a passenger is injured, a victim may qualify to recover compensation. Cruise ship liability is different from other accident claims, so keep in mind two important points:
- Your contract for passage may include a disclaimer of liability or waiver clause, but these are not enforceable in many cases.
- The statute of limitations is much shorter for more cruise injury claims, with some companies imposing deadlines of less than 1 year.
Cruise Line Negligence and Violence: The duty to provide a safe environment for passengers does include taking precautions to prevent violence, brawls, and assault. For example:
- Almost without exception, violence is linked to overconsumption of alcohol and drink-free packages. Cruise operators must establish policies and train staff in responsible beverage service.
- In most cases, there are no arrests for physical violence. Passengers are not deterred by the threat of punishment.
- The ever-expanding volume on massive cruise ships puts thousands of passengers in close quarters, when alcohol-fueled tempers can flare among guests.
Cruise Companies are on Notice: There have been enough physical fights and violent encounters in recent years to put cruise lines on notice. They have simply refused to make changes that would ensure passenger safety. These companies can no longer rely on the excuse that violence and criminal acts are not foreseeable. Still, cruise operators will employ other defenses to defeat your claim, so getting legal help is essential.
Contact an Oakland Cruise Ship Injuries and Accidents Lawyer Today
Violence on cruise vacations puts all passengers at risk, but it is more likely to occur when operators do not comply with their legal duty. For more information about your rights, please contact Venardi Zurada, LLP at our offices in Oakland or Walnut Creek, CA. You can set up a free case analysis with an experienced cruise ship accidents attorney.