Can I Sue a Cruise Line For an Injury?

Cruises are meant to offer fun to family and friends who want to go on trips throughout the year. However, as with anything, it is possible that you could become injured even on one of these fun adventures. If so, where do you turn and what do you do? Can you sue the cruise line for any injuries sustained?

Types of Common Cruise Line Injuries

  • Slip and Fall Accidents: Most cruise ships have pools, restaurants, dancing venues, and slippery decks – these are opportunities for slip and fall accidents to take place. One should always take pictures of the conditions that led to the injury, and photographs of the injury itself. Also consider documenting whether or not there was warning of the slippery condition.
  • Food Poisoning: Tainted food can spread quickly on a cruise ship, including stomach flu. This is often due to the close proximity of the passengers. Terms and limitations printed on the ticket will sometimes allow for refunds in the case of food poisoning.
  • Missing Persons: In 2011, the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act was signed into law. This act requires ships to report all disappearances and crimes involving U.S. citizens to the Coast Guard and FBI.
  • Wrongful Death: Personal injury law will allow the surviving family members of a victim to pursue lawsuits on the basis of wrongful death when a cruise ship operator was negligent. These deaths may be due to suicide, accidental drowning, or foul play by another passenger. Wrongful death cases rest heavily on evidence.
  • Sexual Assault and Rape: Sexual assault and other crimes became difficult to investigate prior to the passage of the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act. However, victims of rape or other forms of sexual assault should immediately notify ship authorities that are required to report all such incidents.


The things mentioned above such as slip and fall, drowning, and food poisoning are all common injuries and can fall on negligence. To win a negligence lawsuit with a cruise ship line, one must be able to show that the cruise ship had a duty to care for you, that the duty was breached, and the breach caused you injury and damage.

Under Kermarec, created by the U.S. Supreme Court in Kermarec v. Compagnie Generale, cruise lines have a duty to provide passengers with reasonable care. This duty usually requires that the cruise needs to take reasonable steps to protect you, such as properly refrigerating and preparing food that could prevent food poisoning. If the cruise ship failed to take these reasonable precautions, then it breached its duty of care.

Further, you will then have to show that the breach of duty was a direct cause of your injury. You must ask yourself, did you fall because the cruise didn’t lay out mats to prevent slipping? Or were you inebriated and running despite warnings not to do so? The cruise ships’ negligence must have been at least a contributing factor in your injury. You will then be able to win damages against it in your suit.

If you have been injured on a cruise ship, you may wonder if you have a case. You should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to find out more and get a review of your claim. Contact MDL today for a free consultation.