Cruise Ship Accidents

The most common causes of boating injuries and fatalities are: Capsizing, Falling Overboard & Collisions.

Oakland Boating Injuries Lawyers - Brodsky Micklow Bull & Weiss LLP
Northern and Southern California Boat Accident Information

If you have been injured in a recreational boating accident, you need skilled and experienced legal representation to help you identify your claims and the best way to present them. Boating accident cases can also involve difficult strategic choices between state court personal injury litigation and federal maritime jurisdiction. Sometimes you'll also need to name as a defendant a government agency, such as the Coast Guard or the Army Corps of Engineers.

Don't trust your boating injury case to a general practitioner. No matter how skilled he or she may be as a trial lawyer, an attorney unfamiliar with maritime law and admiralty jurisdiction might easily overlook considerations that could be critical to the success of your case and the size of your settlement or verdict. Contact the experienced Northern and Southern California boating injuries attorneys at Brodsky Micklow Bull & Weiss LLP for thorough and reliable advice about your options.

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Cruise Ship Accidents

Both crewmembers and passengers could potentially be injured while aboard cruise ships. Should a crewmember be hurt, he or she may have claims for compensation under the Jones Act, while passengers may be able to bring a personal injury-type claim for negligence under federal maritime law. Whether a cruise ship is considered a "vessel" is to be determined in court. Status as a "vessel" under maritime law affects which law may be applicable, and could have a significant impact on the overall outcome of the matter, including how much and what types of damages are ultimately recoverable. After vessel status has been determined, a jurisdiction must be decided upon for the case. determined.

If you have suffered an injury while aboard a cruise ship, as either a crewmember or a passenger, call a maritime law attorney to discuss your possible remedies under federal law.


When injuries occur, liability rests with the owner of the cruise ship. The owner of the ship owes passengers, crewmembers, visitors and invitees a duty of reasonable care to protect them from injury or at least warn them of any dangerous circumstances aboard the vessel. The dangerous circumstances must be those that are known to the ship owner or should have been known by a hypothetical "reasonable ship owner."


When a passenger is injured by a crewmember, the liability assigned to the ship's owner may vary based on the circumstances and the court hearing the case. Some courts have held ship owners strictly liable for actions of their employees based on a "common carrier" or on agency theories. Other courts have held that there must be negligence by the carrier/ship owner before there can be liability for any action committed by a crewmember.

Liability for assaults and injuries inflicted by fellow passengers could also depend on the circumstances. If the assault occurred because of the negligence of a crewmember in, for example, continuing to serve alcohol to an obviously drunk passenger who later assaulted another passenger, then the ship owner may be held ultimately responsible. Similarly, if the ship owner knew that there were dark and semi-secluded yet easily accessible areas of the ship where passengers had been assaulted in the past but made no attempt to block access to those areas and another assault occurs, liability could exist.

Medical negligence

A medical negligence claim on a cruise ship differs depending on the jurisdiction. In most jurisdictions, cruise ship owners have the duty to hire competent medical doctors but might not be liable for the treatment decisions made by these staff members once due diligence in hiring has taken place. In other courts, however, the cruise ship owners may be liable for the negligent or reckless actions of their medical staff when treating passengers or crewmembers. You should contact an attorney knowledgeable in maritime law to determine the applicable medical negligence law in your jurisdiction.

Defenses by cruise ships

Under federal law, cruise ships may have a one year statute of limitations for personal injury claims provided that the limitation is contained within the "contract of passage" (most commonly the ticket itself) and the passenger is given reasonable notice of the time limit and its effects on his or her rights. It is important to have a copy of your ticket or other notification of this rule, and the court must find that the notice was both clear and legible. Cruise ship contracts may also have provisions such as choice of law, choice of venue, arbitration instead of trial and other "forum selection" clauses. It is important to speak to an attorney about provisions in your contract to determine if you have a claim.

Also under federal law, cruise ships can include a provision in passengers' tickets limiting their liability for emotional distress or physical injury. An important caveat to this is that the disclaimer of liability is not effective if the injury is caused by negligence of the ship owner or its employees, and that negligence caused the passenger's physical injury. These disclaimers are also not applicable in cases of sexual assault or rape.

Speak to a personal injury lawyer

If you or a loved one has been injured while aboard a cruise ship, it is important to contact an attorney knowledgeable in cruise ship litigation to determine your possible personal injury claim.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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