Slip and fall cases are some of the hardest cases to prove. This is especially true for those that take place on cruise ships.
The vessel must exercise reasonable care under the circumstances that its passengers are protected from injury. However, before a carrier can be held responsible for a passenger’s injury in a slip and fall due to a transitory substance, a party must show that the carrier either created a problem or that it existed for a sufficient period of time to allow a carrier to clean up the area.
Traditionally, the party was restricted in their ability to prove liability unless there was an eyewitness who could testify that they warned the carrier of the existing substance and that the carrier failed to clean the area. If the injured party then slipped and there was evidence such as footprints or dirt in the transitory substance, it could lead to a reasonable inference that the substance had been there for a period of time long enough to allow someone from the ship to clean it up before someone slipped on it.
Recently, several cruise lines have instituted their own standard of conduct. They are called Safety and Quality Management rules (SQMs). These rules set forth, among other things, a systematic plan for inspection and cleaning transitory substances on the ship’s decks. These manuals can be very helpful along with the checklists in proving the length of time a transitory substance was on a ship’s deck and whether or not the internal rules and regulations themselves are reasonable.
Due to the more complicated details that go along with cruise ship slip and falls, it is important for individuals injured on cruise ships to retain an attorney familiar with the internal workings of the industry itself. Otherwise, the injured person may not have access to all manners of proof.
It’s important not to forget that laws at sea are very different from those on land. If you find yourself hurt on a cruise, make sure to immediately call an attorney experienced with maritime issues because you may have less than a year to file a claim!
Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by artur84
Mark Hanson, Esq. is the Director of Litigation at LaBovick Law Group. Mr. Hanson is respected for his aggressive representation in personal injury and admiralty. He was one of only seven attorneys statewide recognized in the Aviation, Admiralty & Maritime category.