Baltimore’s cruise port is one of the fastest growing in the United States. Located just a few miles outside of Baltimore’s Sky Hook Harbor and other attractions, thousands of passengers a week depart from the Port of Baltimore for cruises around the world.
Our Baltimore cruise ship accident attorneys have investigated many cases of passengers injured on cruises that left from Baltimore. Perhaps the most common type of Baltimore cruise ship claim we investigate are cases of people who have slipped and fallen on wet floors and slippery stairs located both inside and outside the ship.
Cruise ship floors, stairways, and gangways are often exceptionally slippery when wet because they use a variety of surfaces ranging from marble, tile, teak wood, and synthetic teak wood surfaces. These types of floorings are unreasonably slippery- from spills, seawater, humidity, wet feet and dripping swimsuits from pools, jacuzzis, water slides, and water parks and improper mopping and drying.
Cruise lines like Carnival have a variety of ways to warn passengers about the wet and slippery nature of their floors through mail-in room newsletter, during the embarkation orientation and muster drill, on the in-cabin TV, and with wet and slippery warning signs.
Unfortunately, many people who get hurt on Baltimore cruises don’t expect the floors, stairways, gangways, and pool decks to be as wet and slippery as they are. That is because of the very nature of being in a maritime environment in the open sea and the unusual flooring that is used by the cruising industry that is not common on land.
Some of the most common types of injuries that we see from our investigation of cruise ship accidents are those involving broken arms and legs. These fractures often result in the need for emergency surgeries. If the ship has a functional x-ray machine they can be diagnosed onboard
Sadly, the ship’s x-ray machines are not always working properly. On occasion, the ship’s doctors fail to identify, diagnose and treat the fracture. When this occurs the injured person may have both a slip and fall case against the cruise line as well as a potential medical malpractice case against the cruise line’s doctors.
Additionally, we also investigate spine and brain injuries that occur on cruise lines. These types of accidents can occur when a passenger trips and falls over an unmarked threshold in a hallway or balcony. From a slamming balcony door, an overly aggressive spa treatment, or when participating in an onboard activity like the artificial surf machine (FloRider), ice skating, zip lining, rock climbing, and more. Since cruise ships are not equipped with MRI machines and CT Scans, passengers who require this level of emergency diagnosis and care will need to “medically disembark” the cruise ship.
In cases where a passenger has to leave the ship for emergency medical care, there are several things that the cruise line must do to ensure the passenger’s safety. First, if shoreside medical care is needed in a foreign port such as Cozumel, the Bahamas, or Grand Cayman, the ship’s doctors need to speak directly with the receiving facility’s doctor to confirm that they have the ability and willingness to accept the patient. Not all shoreside facilities will accept an injured cruise ship passenger or one that is critically ill for a variety of reasons. However, the most common reason is money. Since US health insurance is not accepted by foreign hospitals- many will require that the patient or the patient’s family pay for the medical care in full upfront. This can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars- which most cruise passengers do not have on them in cash or available by any other means. Another equally costly option is transportation via air ambulance back to the United States or the country of residence of the injured or sick passenger. This can also cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. For these reasons and many more, our maritime injury and accident law firm in Miami strongly recommends that anyone who is taking a cruise, purchase emergency travel insurance BEFORE the cruise.
Cruise lines constantly try to sell their passengers alcohol. However, the minute someone is injured from falling on a wet floor, down a steep unmarked staircase, or claims to be the victim of a sexual assault or rape the cruise line is quick to blame the passenger for being drunk.
One of the first things our cruise lawyers will do when we investigate a case is request the CCTV footage of the alleged incident. Cruise lines are quick to “dispose” of the CCTV if it is not promptly requested, even in those cases, they will save little to none.
Not all accidents on cruises from Baltimore occur on the ship. Our shore excursion lawyers are experienced and successful in holding the cruise lines accountable when they have sold shore excursions to passengers and someone gets hurt. The most common type of excursion accident we see, are people who trip and fall on rocky or unpaved pathways, on slippery tour boat decks and steps, and even being assaulted, robbed, or raped on an excursion sold by the cruise line.
Our Miami cruise ship lawyers always recommend that if you are going to buy shore excursions, you purchase them DIRECTLY from the cruise line.
First, and probably most importantly- any shore excursion that the cruise line sells must be insured. This is crucially important because if you are injured on a shore excursion like zip lining in the Dominican Republic, snorkeling at Stingray City on Grand Cayman, or in a sightseeing bus accident in Costa Maya, Mexico- the insurance company will have the means to compensate you for your pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost vacation, travel expenses and time away from work. However, if you purchase the excursion or tour from some vendor in the port that offers a significant discount from the ship’s price, you will run the very strong risk that the tour operator has no license, no insurance, and no means for you to get compensation for your injuries.
Secondly, cruise lines are supposed to perform some kind of due diligence on the excursions that they sell. Although we have rarely found that they take this responsibility and obligation very seriously. But it’s better than nothing, although we strongly recommend you review the ship’s website, TripAdvisor, and other travel review sites to learn as much as possible about the excursion before you go to make sure that it is the right excursion for you.
Third, if the tour is delayed due to an accident, traffic, a mechanical issue with the tour bus, or simply gets lost- the cruise ship will wait for you to return. If you buy the excursion independently from the cruise line- and you get lost, robbed, hurt, or simply lose track of time because you forgot to set your watch to local time- the ship will leave you behind. It will then be up to you and at your expense to either meet the ship at the next port or to fly home. The cruise ship will pack your bags and ship your possessions back to you at your expense. On top of that, they will not reimburse you for your unused cruise days.
People with preexisting injuries, mobility issues, health concerns, and who are pregnant should avoid going on any excursion that may be challenging. For instance, if you have gait and balance issues, avoid obstacle courses, mountain hikes, and jet skiing adventures. Instead, opt for comfortable shopping, and art museum tours.
All of the major cruise lines like Carnival, Royal, Celebrity, Norwegian, Disney, Virgin, and MSC have very strict requirements on how, when, and where claims and law suites against them can be made.
For instance, if even you were injured on a cruise that set sail from Baltimore, your passenger ticket will contain small print requiring that all lawsuits be filed not in Baltimore, but in Miami, Florida’s Federal District Courthouse. All this has to be done within one year of the date of the incident.
Norwegian Cruise Line for example has a written Presuit notice requirement that they frequently use as a means to get cases dismissed. The Norwegian Cruise Line Presuit notice requirement forces passengers to write to Norwegian Cruise Line no more than 185 days from the date of the incident and before they file their lawsuit. Norwegian Cruise Line will frequently try to dismiss the case if the injured passenger or their lawyer fails to comply with this technical detail.
Since 1991, Aronfeld Trial Lawyers has been one of the leading cruise ship passenger injury law firms in the United States. We have investigated thousands of cases of injuries onboard major cruise lines.
We understand the complexities of international maritime law and have successfully sued Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC, Celebrity, Disney, and others on behalf of people who have been hurt on cruises from slips and falls, sexual assaults, rape, trip and falls, injuries on surf machines, ice skating rinks, children’s injuries and accidents on cruise ships, and more.
We offer free initial legal consultations and encourage our clients to contact us from the ship. We will speak to you about your potential case and advise you on how to protect your legal right to obtain monetary compensation from the cruise line when the cruise line has put its profits ahead of your safety.
Not all accidents, injuries, and incidents on cruise lines are viable cases. Understanding the difference between an injury and a personal injury lawsuit against a cruise line takes experience and understanding of the complex rules and regulations that apply to cruise law.
Call us today, and we will provide you with a free confidential consultation with a lawyer who sues cruise lines by telephone, Zoom, FaceTime, or Google Meet. If we take your case, you pay nothing in attorney’s fees unless we collect. Our Maritime injury lawyers work strictly on a contingency. If you don’t win you don’t pay.
We offer anyone who may have been injured while on a cruise an initial legal consultation free of charge by SKYPE, email, or telephone, toll-free at 1-866-597-4529. Our lawyers have a combined legal experience of nearly 50 years, holding cruise lines accountable for putting their profits ahead of your safety. Let our lawyers help you obtain the compensation you may be entitled to for lost wages, medical expenses, travel reimbursement, loss of the enjoyment of the cruise, and pain and suffering. Call us today. We are ready to help.
Miami-based Aronfeld Trial Lawyers was established by Board Certified Trial Lawyer, Spencer Aronfeld in 1991. The firm represents cases resulting in serious injuries in the areas of Defective Product Liability, Maritime Law, Automobile Accidents, Premises Liability, Cycling Accidents, Slip and Fall Incidents, Wrongful Death, Medical and Dental Malpractice, Civil Rights Claims, Workplace Injuries, Sexual Assault, and others. Every client receives the full benefit of our experience, our resources, and our commitment. The practice of personal injury law is our calling. We are a firm of high-profile, nationally recognized legal advocates who work for you, our client, never big business. All attorneys and staff members at the firm are bilingual speaking Spanish. To learn more, visit https://www.aronfeld.com/ or contact Aronfeld Trial Lawyers directly at (305) 441-0440.