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Date Modified: March 19, 2024

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For many, cruise ships can be an exciting, fun, and thrilling experience, but for others, it can be a nightmare. Accidents on a cruise ship can leave you with severe injuries and emotional trauma; in some cases, it can even lead to wrongful death.

Ehline Law and our Texas cruise ship accident attorneys have protected injured passengers’ rights for over a decade. Our cruise ship injury attorney has extensive experience in laws surrounding the cruise industry and handling cruise ship claims. Contact us to learn more about your rights as an injured passenger.

Common Cruise Ship Accidents

All sorts of accidents can happen on a cruise ship which can cause severe injuries to you or your family members. Some examples of cruise ship accidents include the following.

Shore Excursion Accidents

Shore excursions are activities offered to cruise ship passengers, either planned by the cruise companies or a third party. Car accidents, slip and fall accidents, drowning, and other types of accidents can occur during shore excursions, leaving passengers injured or leading to their death.

  • We won’t let you sign a settlement without real pay money.
  • We don’t spend our money buying expensive cars and radio ads.
  • We take on fewer cases, meaning you get top-priority results.
  • We have the financial resources to stave off any insurance company’s procedural parlor tricks or legal loopholes.
  • Reviewing and filling out time-consuming paperwork.
  • Conducting investigative case research on you or your loved one’s behalf.
  • Responsibility for proving your lost income. (Financial support after California electrocutions, seizures, wrongful death, etc.)

Medical Malpractice

Every cruise ship has an infirmary or medical clinic treating passengers for minor injuries. Nurses and doctors working on cruise ships often are contractual, meaning they are not the cruise line’s employees. Delay in treatment, misdiagnosis, or sub-standard medical treatment offered to passengers can put them at risk of further injuries or permanent damage.


According to the US Department of Transportation, there were 101 allegations of sexual assault on cruise ships in 2019 and 82 in 2018. 55% of the crimes on cruise ships reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are sexual assault cases, making it a threat for women and minors aboard a cruise ship.

Besides assault, there have been many incidents in the news where crew members have attacked passengers, especially the elderly.

Negligent Operations

Many cruise ship accidents occur because of negligent operation, and these happen due to a lack of training or reckless behavior by cruise ship operators. Negligent operations can result in collisions with objects and other ships, causing injuries to passengers.

Slip and Fall Accidents

Slip and fall accidents are common on cruise ships, especially when boarding tender boats. Recently mopped floors without warnings to passengers also lead to such accidents.

Cruise Lines International Association released a report in 2016 that revealed 19 people, on average, fall off cruise ships annually, and between 2009 and 2016, there were eight fatalities arising from overboard incidents.

Overboard incidents occur when passengers drink alcohol and get drunk, and some incidents do not even get reported, making overboard accidents a serious concern.


Lack of maintenance or faulty equipment can result in cruise ship fires, which are dangerous for passengers as they can provide very few chances for escape.

CruiseJunkie revealed 79 fire incidents on cruise ships between 1990 and 2011.

Disease Outbreaks

The most common illness on a cruise ship is norovirus, a very contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea.

In 2022, cruise lines reported two outbreaks to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, affecting 3% of the passengers or crew.

In 2021, Viking Ocean ship reported 120 people infected by the Vibrio and E. coli bacteria. Although there has been a decrease in disease outbreaks due to fewer passengers traveling, it is still a cause of concern, especially when traveling reaches its full capacity.

Michael Ehline:


  • Inactive U.S. Marine
  • Former Los Angeles City Attorney Law Clerk
  • Former California Court of Appeal extern
  • Avvo 5-star rated lawyer
  • Multiple Superlawyers Rising Star Winner
  • Multiple Nominee – US News-Best Lawyers
  • We hire the best medical doctors with years of experience helping wounded, grimacing patients
  • Legal researcher
  • Appellate attorney
  • Litigator
  • USMC work ethos.

Common Cruise Ship Injuries

Depending on the type of accident incurred, passengers can sustain a range of injuries, including:

  • Burn injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Broken bones and fractures
  • Concussions
  • Rape
  • Drownings.

Whenever a passenger experiences an injury aboard a cruise ship, they must receive immediate medical treatment regardless of the severity of the cruise ship injury.

Following their medical treatment, they must consult with experienced Texas cruise ship attorneys to learn about their legal options.

Injured Passengers Must Act Quickly If They Wish to Recover Compensation

Before signing up for a cruise, passengers go through a lot of paperwork, including a disclaimer. It is essential to read the disclaimer before signing any paperwork to know about your rights. Cruise ship companies require passengers to sign waivers to avoid liability, but these may not be valid depending on the law that may apply at the time.

On the back of a cruise ship ticket, it may mention the period you can file a claim for injuries sustained on a cruise ship. Such disclaimers allow cruise ship companies to shorten the statute of limitations to a year or less. Some cruise ships require injured passengers to serve a notice of personal injury claim within six months of the incident.

If you’re injured, you must act quickly and speak to experienced cruise ship accident lawyers for legal advice.

What Law Applies When You Are Injured on a Cruise Ship?

Many laws apply to cruise ships, which vary depending on where the ship is at the time.

The state law may apply to your case when you’re injured within three miles of a US port. However, if you’re injured at sea, your cruise ship injury case will be governed by maritime law. In the event that you’re injured in a foreign country, the specific country’s laws will apply.

Where Do You File a Lawsuit Against a Cruise Ship?

Details on your ticket will mention where you can file a cruise ship accident lawsuit. Generally, cruise companies require injured passengers to file a lawsuit at their headquarters, which may be inconvenient for those who live in other states or countries.

Pursuing claims against major cruise lines such as Norwegian Cruise Lines, Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, and many others requires a firm understanding of the laws and rules. Injured passengers need to work with experienced cruise ship accident lawyers.

What You Should Do Following a Cruise Ship Accident

The steps you take following an accident can help determine the outcome of your cruise ship accident case.

Our Texas cruise ship accident lawyers have mentioned the following important steps injured passengers should take following an accident:

  • Document the incident by photographing the accident scene, taking witness contact details, and reporting the incident to the captain.
  • Immediately seek medical attention.
  • Request the crew member or the captain to give you a copy of the accident report.
  • Contact your cruise ship accident attorney.

How to Protect Yourself When on a Cruise

Many people plan on having their dream vacation on a cruise, sailing the high seas, visiting exotic locations, and enjoying some of the best food. Cruise trips are popular because they offer everything in one giant ship, and no one thinks twice about any accidents on the vessel.

However, our Texas cruise ship injury attorney recommends taking the following actions when you’re on a cruise. It can help protect you during your travels.

Read Your Ticket

We all avoid reading disclaimers written in tiny fonts and quickly sign on documentation. However, you must read this particular disclaimer behind your cruise ticket. It mentions your rights as a passenger and additional information about the time limit you have to file a suit and the location you must file it.

In most cases, you have one year to file a lawsuit against the cruise line, and if you hire an attorney after that period, you lose your rights to recover compensation.

Check the Cruise Ship’s Flag

Some cruise companies operate from out of Panama or the Bahamas, which means the United States law will not apply to those cruise lines. Identifying the vessel’s flag is important as it will help determine the laws governing your cruise ship accident lawsuit.

Medical Care Standards

The medical care standards vary from one cruise ship company to the other, and most do not offer high-quality medical care to injured passengers. If you’re sick or suffer injuries, you may become another victim of medical malpractice.

A cruise ship company may have a psychiatrist as their ship doctor. It is important to stay wary, have them tend to your medical injuries or sickness, and get your injuries checked properly at a hospital after the cruise trip.

An experienced cruise ship accident lawyer can hold the cruise line responsible if their medical care causes further injuries to a passenger.

Stay Cautious

It’s easy to get comfortable while on vacation on a cruise ship, but it is important to stay cautious as crimes do occur on cruise ships. Stay aware of your surroundings and always keep your children close to you.

Why Should You Contact a Texas Cruise Ship Accident Lawyer?

Cruise lines are notorious for rejecting and denying claims, especially those injured passengers without legal representation. The industry is highly unregulated, and some lobbyists prevent laws against cruise companies’ best interests, which is making profits.

Cruise lines have a massive legal budget, and going against them alone can put you in a vulnerable position. The laws surrounding cruise ship injury claims are complex, and you need to identify which rules apply to your case.

Our experienced Texas cruise ship accident attorneys can assess your cruise ship accident case and help navigate the legal waters. We will identify whether the maritime law will apply to your case or any other and hold the cruise ship responsible for your injuries.

Ehline Law has recovered $150 million in compensation for our injured clients. Our Cruise ship accident lawyers have extensive experience pursuing claims against cruise lines. The following are some of our successful verdicts/settlements against cruise companies.

  • Doe v. Doe – $4.88 million (cruise ship assault)
  • Doe v. Doe – $1.4 million (sexual assault involving a minor)
  • Passenger v. Cruise Ship$150,000 (slip and fall accident)

Schedule a Free Consultation with Ehline Law Cruise Ship Lawyers, Texas

If you suffered injuries in an accident on a cruise ship that was not your fault, contact us at (833) LETS-SUE for a free consultation, as you may be eligible for compensation. Our cruise ship accident lawyer will evaluate your case and hold the cruise company responsible for your loss.

Military Base Accidents:

Michael Ehline is an inactive U.S. Marine and world-famous legal historian. Michael helped draft the Cruise Ship Safety Act and has won some of U.S. history’s largest motorcycle accident settlements. Together with his legal team, Michael and the Ehline Law Firm collect damages on behalf of clients.
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Michael Ehline

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We pride ourselves on being available to answer your most pressing and difficult questions 24/7. We are proud sponsors of the Paul Ehline Memorial Motorcycle Ride and a Service Disabled Veteran Operated Business. (SDVOB.) We are ready to fight.