Florida Court Considers Premise Liability Argument in Cruise Ship Lawsuit

October 14, 2020

Cruises are a time for relaxation and fun. However, cruises can often turn into a nightmare when someone is injured onboard the ship. When this occurs, an injured party can bring a Florida premises liability lawsuit against the cruise company alleging that the company is responsible for the dangerous condition that caused their injury. In a recent case, a Florida court was tasked with deciding whether a cruise ship could be held liable for a plaintiff’s injuries on the ship. Ultimately, the court concluded that the cruise ship was responsible because the employees knew about the dangerous condition that led to the plaintiff’s injuries.

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was on the fourth day of a Caribbean cruise when she sustained significant injuries to her shoulder. As she returned from the buffet line, the plaintiff was forced to take a step toward the food station where she tripped over a cleaning bucket. She spent the remainder of the cruise bedridden and still suffered from constant pain months after the accident. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the cruise line, claiming it did not keep its ship safe for guests. Ultimately, the court decided that the defendant could be held liable for the plaintiff’s injuries under a premises liability theory.

Because the plaintiff was injured on property that was not her own, the cruise line had a legal obligation to keep the premises safe. This means that it must protect the guests from any unforeseeable harm. In bringing a premises liability lawsuit, a plaintiff must prove that a defendant knew or should have known that a particular hazard existed. In cases where the defendant is the owner or is the company itself, the knowledge of a dangerous condition can also be attributed to an employee and their actions. This is because owners assume liability for the actions of their employees while they are on the job.

In this case, the court held that the cruise line had knowledge of the dangerous condition and could be held liable. By placing the bucket with dirty water in a highly-trafficked buffet pathway, the court found that it posed a danger to anyone who walked by. The court noted that at least one cruise ship employee must have known about the bucket and that its location posed a substantial danger. Because of this, the court concluded there was enough evidence to establish the cruise ship’s notice of the hazard. Thus, the defendant was liable for the plaintiff’s injury under the premises liability theory.

Because premises liability cases can be very complex, and the success of a case can hinge on the specifics of the accident, potential plaintiffs should contact an experienced premises liability attorney to help them with their claim.

Have You Been Injured on a Cruise Ship?

If you or a loved one has been injured on a cruise ship, or on another person’s property, contact the Florida premises liability attorneys at the Grife Law Firm. With decades of experience handling all types of personal injury cases, we will handle your case with skill and determination. To discuss your case with a knowledgeable attorney and to schedule a free consultation, contact us today at 855-998-0770.