Slips, trips and falls
Passengers can suffer an accident even before they leave port. Gangway injuries may occur as passengers embark and disembark. Slips and trips are common in the restricted space of a passenger cabin or shower / bathroom. Tripping up on stairways, in dining areas and near swimming pools is also a frequent hazard onboard a moving ship.
Ship movements or sea conditions can sometimes put passengers at risk from falling objects, which are not adequately secured on main decks, in dining areas and cabins. A sudden change in speed or course can cause passengers to lose their footing or create hazardous waves in the ship’s swimming pools.
Swimming pool accidents
Poorly maintained pools and Jacuzzis are a potential safety hazard. Not only do ‘wet areas’ present a serious risk of slipping on tiled surfaces but also uneven, cracked or broken tiles can cause stubbed or broken toes and tripping up incidents.
Pool depth markings are not always clear which can cause passengers to misunderstand where they can safely swim and lead to potentially fatal difficulties while in the water.
Many of the leading cruise lines do not employ lifeguards to supervise swimming pool areas and have indicated they have no plans to change their policy. Instead, they claim to follow the lead of hotel and resorts by providing clear and visible signs, which inform cruise ship passengers that a lifeguard is not present.
Drowning or near drowning accidents
Falling overboard is always a potential risk. Of the 96 passengers reported to have fallen into the sea from a cruise ship between 2009 and 2013, only one in five (20) were able to be saved, according to the Cruise Lines International Association.
Barriers surrounding decks should be properly maintained and checked, and life jackets and floats should be readily available.
Preventable accidents include mechanical defects with the ship itself, as well as any equipment available to use, such as:
- Climbing walls
- Flow Rider Surf Simulators - where a thin stream of water shoots up a sloped platform to create a wave-like flow of water.
- Gym equipment
- Bowling alleys
If you have an accident onboard a cruise ship the law is different to the law that relates to making a holiday injury claim which occurred at a hotel or resort. The Terms and Conditions contained in your holiday contract, which are supplied by both tour operators and cruise lines, are bound by regulations set out in the Athens Convention.
The Athens Convention – what you need to know
The Athens Convention applies to EU member states and has been in force in the UK since 1996.
Seagoing vessels owe a “duty of care” in the carriage of passengers and luggage by sea, and to passengers who are either getting on or off the boat.
The Convention operates in favour of the consumer. The fault is automatically presumed to be on the part of the carrier unless they can prove otherwise. This is different to claims under the Package Travel Regulations 1992, which require you to prove the carrier was at fault.
A cruise ship accident claim will almost always be in accordance with the Athens Convention and not under Package Holiday Regulations 1992.
You can still make a complaint for a ‘spoilt holiday’, according to Package Holiday Regulations 1992, but this will be a completely separate action.
It is also important to be aware that, under the Athens Convention, the Terms and Conditions:
- Only apply to cruises that start and finish in a UK port
- Do not apply to domestic cruises around the British Isles and the coast of Scotland.
If your cruise departed from a foreign destination, you may be able to proceed with a claim under the Package Travel Regulations 1992 but only if:
- There were no ‘stop-off’ ports of call in between
- Your tour operator is a UK company
A further important difference is the time you have to make a claim from when the accident occurred:
- 2 years - Athens Convention
- 3 years - Package Travel Regulations
A limit is imposed on the amount of compensation that can be claimed for personal injury or death.
All sea carriers must have insurance as they have a strict liability for passenger personal injury, fatality or any shipping related incident unless there is evidence to show the incident was caused by:
- Natural phenomenon of an “exceptional, inevitable and irresistible character”, or
- Wholly caused by a third party.
How Your Legal Friend can help you
We specialise in acting on behalf of anyone who has suffered from a holiday accident through no fault of their own while on board a cruise ship and wishes to claim compensation against a UK tour operator / cruise line.
With over 30 years’ experience in all aspects of international personal injury law, we can provide you with expert guidance and support every step of the way to secure you the best possible compensation. We can also help you to claim back any additional expenses you have suffered as a result of your accident, such as:
- Any medical expenses you had to meet while on holiday
- Time taken off work on your return from holiday
- Missing out on any holiday activities that your injury prevented you from participating in.
Throughout your claim, Your Legal Friend will help you every step of the way
- Work for you with no upfront fees
- No win, no fee - guaranteed
- 95% success rate for personal injury claims
- Over £200,000,000 successfully won in the last ten years alone
- Help and support you with your claim
- 30 years’ experience in personal injury compensation
Talk to us today
For an informal, confidential chat about making a claim with one of our expert personal injury solicitors, call us now on 01515505228 (calls free from landlines and mobiles). Or just complete the 'Start a new claim’ option on the right and we'll call you straight back.