Cruise ship companies like Carnival Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, and other carriers market to and welcome children as guests on the ship for both short and long term trips. As such, cruise ships should be constructed and maintained in a reasonable manner that under maritime law. The cruise ship operator had a duty to remove or limit hazards and to put reasonable necessary safety measures for both children and adults. All interior and exterior passageways should be constructed and maintained according to applicable ship, building, and safety codes. When an adult or child is injured as a passenger on a cruise ship, the cruise ship line, company, or operator is not automatically or strictly liability. There must be a showing of fault or liability for the incident at issue. This is commonly referred to as negligence which requires the proof or showing of four elements to establish a legal case or claim: Duty, Breach of Duty, Causation, and Damages.
It was recently reported by a number of media outlets that an eight year old girl who was a passenger on the ship – Glory – operated by Carnival Cruise Lines fell approximately 20 feet while inside the atrium area of the boat. It was reported that the medical team for the ship was soon thereafter on the scene to attend to the child. The incident took place while the ship was docked at the Port of Miami. Since a serious injury occurred in the form of a death, there will be a full investigation by government authorities as well as an autopsy. Concurrent or subsequent to the criminal investigation, there can also be an investigation by the family, private investigators, engineers, and, yes, a legal team hired by the family of the child. Again, it should be noted that a cruise ship is not automatically liable for every single injury or death that occurs on a boat. Negligence or fault must be established to support a civil case or claim if one is pursued by the family of the child. You can read more about the Carnival Cruise Lines incident involving the 8 year old girl who fell at Girl as a Result of Fall at Port of Miami – Carnival Cruise Lines.
It should be noted that cruise ship legal cases are much different than other types of injury cases like ones involving an automobile accident or a slip and fall while at a store or shopping center while on land. The cruise line ticket can define and control time limits and court or forum choices for a legal case. In addition, there are strict time limits by law for cruise ship / maritine cases.