Enjoying your vacation on a cruise ship is a great way to blow off some steam and relax. Although crew members are there to ensure you have a luxurious experience, cruise ship negligence can lead to an unforgettable experience for all the wrong reasons.
Falling overboard and cruise ship brawls are more common than you think. On December 15, 2022, a massive fight broke out on an MSC cruise ship, leaving a passenger dead. Ehline Law and our personal injury attorneys understand how the cruise industry lobbies laws in their favor which is why we work closely with injured cruise ship passengers to protect their rights against corporate greed.
Let’s explore the details of the recent overboard passenger incident and the brawl that started. Can passengers sue the cruise line for overboard or a brawl? Read on to find out!
A woman fell from the MSC Cruises Meraviglia ship traveling from the Bahamas to Florida. When the incident occurred, the ship was on its way from Ocean Cay in the Bahamas and was due to arrive at Port Canaveral in Florida.
The 36-year-old woman went overboard 18 miles off Florida, prompting an investigation. According to Marisa Aebi, one of the passengers on the MSC Cruises Meraviglia ship, there was a siren and an announcement of a missing passenger at around 5 AM. Aebi went on her balcony to see what it was all about and saw spotlights and the ship turning, suggesting someone had gone overboard on the cruise.
Soon after the announcement, the US Coast Guard officials arrived in a 45-foot vessel and a helicopter to locate the woman. At around 7:30 AM, a pilot boat found the body of the missing passenger and alerted the officials. Despite quick action from the relevant authorities, the missing passenger was fatally injured and did not make it. The US Coast Guard has started investigating the cause of the incident.
Authorities are not sure how the incident occurred, but the situation worsened when a massive brawl broke out on the MSC Cruises Meraviglia ship after the crew members temporarily prevented the passengers from disembarking the ship.
DailyMail.com received exclusive video footage of the MSC Cruises Meraviglia ship that showed passengers in a massive brawl when the MSC crew members tried to prevent them from disembarking at Port Canaveral.
According to an official report, the US Customs and Border Protection arrived on the cruise ship to control the situation and arrested several passengers.
A spokesperson for the Italian Cruise Line stated that the cruise ship’s advanced detection systems immediately alerted the crew members of an overboard passenger, leading to an immediate search and rescue mission.
There are several causes of overboard incidents on cruise ships, including the following.
Wet floors and uneven surfaces are serious slip and fall hazards for all the guests on the cruise ship. Balcony barriers are pretty low, and it is easy for tripping passengers to fall from their balconies. A spilled drink on the terrace by a passenger on the floor above can cause the guest to slip and go overboard.
Passengers often lean on balconies to enjoy the clear views of the ocean, but a poorly built patio can turn their vacation into a nightmare.
A poorly designed balcony or lack of inspection and maintenance can cause balcony railings to break, leading to an overboard cruise ship accident.
In 2014 on MS Nieuw Amsterdam, a crew member raped a passenger, beat her up, and tried to throw her overboard to make the incident look like an overboard cruise ship accident. However, the passenger somehow managed to escape and alerted the authorities on the ship leading to an arrest.
In 2018, multiple fights broke out between cruise ship guests on the Carnival cruise ship, leading to several passengers being injured.
An overboard accident can occur after an assault carried out by a crew member or a guest, which is why there is a need for a proper investigation.
There is a massive supply of booze on cruise ships, and employees are often incentivized to convince passengers to spend their cash on alcoholic drinks. Too many drinks can cause passengers to go overboard. In 2013, Sarah Kirby went overboard after knocking down too many alcoholic beverages. Although she was eventually saved in a rescue and search operation, Kirby may never fully recover from the trauma she experienced that day.
Cruise ship guests may fight each other after a scuffle or an argument that blows out of proportion, leading to a brawl. However, there can be fights between cruise ship guests and crew members. There was a case where a crew member waited to be alone with an elderly guest and then pushed the passenger before assaulting them, resulting in common cruise ship injuries.
Whether an argument leads to a brawl or an intentional act of harm, Cruise Lines are liable for providing adequate security to ensure such incidents do not happen on their cruise ships.
Whether it is a damaged balcony railing that results in a cruise ship accident or an argument that turns into a brawl, Cruise Lines are responsible for ensuring the safety of its guest on their cruise ships, even during embarking and disembarkation. When an accident happens on a cruise ship that results in injuries, injured victims may be able to bring a cruise ship injury lawsuit.
Cruise ships must have sufficient security to protect their passengers from crew members with malicious intent or other guests with short tempers. Lack of security can lead to severe injuries for which injured guests can hold the Cruise Line liable.
When it comes to protecting their guests, Cruise Lines must ensure reasonable inspections or conduct routine maintenance to prevent any hazards from harming their guests. For example, cruise lines must ensure that their balcony railings are sturdy or allocate schedules for inspection to identify slippery surfaces or other hazards and take corrective action.
Failing to protect their guests can lead to negligence and cruise ship liability, for which injured passengers can bring a civil action.
In cases involving overboard passengers, there is a need for an impartial investigation to help determine the cause of the incident. In the rape case on MS Nieuw Amsterdam, if the crew member succeeded in throwing the passenger overboard, it would be challenging to determine the cause of the incident without an impartial investigation.
Injured victims must work closely with an experienced personal injury attorney to help investigate the accident and gather the evidence needed to pursue a cruise ship lawsuit against the negligent cruise line.
When family members lose their loved ones in fall accidents on cruise ships or at the hands of other guests or cruise ship employees, they may be able to bring wrongful death lawsuits against the Cruise Line.
Bringing a wrongful death action can provide the financial compensation grieving family members need following the death of their loved one, especially if the victim was a sole earner. However, pursuing a lawsuit against a Cruise Line is challenging, and surviving family members must reach out to an experienced personal injury lawyer for legal representation.
Whether you need help with a cruise ship injury claim or a wrongful death lawsuit, Ehline Law is an award-winning law firm with more than 15 years of experience. Our experienced personal injury attorneys can help increase your chances of recovering compensation.
Here are a few reasons why you should consider choosing our law firm for legal representation:
If you suffered injuries due to the negligence of a Cruise Line, contact us at (833) LETS-SUE for a free consultation, as you may be able to seek compensation.
Michael is a managing partner at the nationwide Ehline Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. He’s an inactive Marine and became a lawyer in the California State Bar Law Office Study Program, later receiving his J.D. from UWLA School of Law. Michael has won some of the world’s largest motorcycle accident settlements.