Maybe you were a passenger on a cruise ship, dinner boat, harbor launch, ferry or your neighbor's Catalina 30 sailing vessel. And maybe in your capacity as a passenger you were injured, sickened, or frightened for your life. Maybe the passage you paid for wasn't delivered. Maybe your luggage was lost. Maybe your image was taken and used by the cruise line against your wishes. Maybe you or your loved one was sexually harassed or assaulted. Maybe you were injured while walking from the vessel to your car. Maybe while on an excursion promoted by a cruise line, you were injured. All of these circumstances may give rise to a claim against a person, vessel and/or the legal entity committing the harm. Of course, you need to speak to your admiralty attorney about the full suite of various claims you may possess and against whom the claim should be directed. Still, it's worth exploring the general framework of these types of claims.
Let's consider the case of the injured passenger. This claim would likely arise under a theory of maritime negligence. In other words, if you were injured you'd claim that the defendants breached the standard of reasonable care that should have been afforded you under the circumstances. That's right, what is "reasonable care" will likely vary depending on the circumstances. What might be seen as "reasonable care" when the vessel is docked might not be "reasonable care" when the vessel is underway.
Your admiralty attorney can review with you the kinds of damages you can recover in a maritime personal injury lawsuit. It may include loss of past and future wages, medical expenses, pain, suffering, disability and emotional distress.
Whether arising aboard a cruise ship, harbor launch or fast ferry, seeking compensation for a maritime personal injury often requires the skilled knowledge of a maritime law practitioner. If you suffered a maritime injury, contact an admiralty attorney to discuss the unique circumstances of your case.
By John Fulweiler