Gangway Accident Injury

What is the Gangway?

The Gangway is the bridge passengers and crew use to embark and disembark a cruise ship. The gangway connects the vessel to land, and is an essential and frequented part of any cruise ship journey across the major lines. Gangways come in many shapes and sizes; some can be very large and steep while others are shorter passages with a greater angle. According to Cruise Critic, Gangways are often made of fiberglass, steel and aluminum.

Why Are Gangways Dangerous?

According to the Mariner Safety Research Initiative, thousands of gangway related injuries take place every year across major cruise lines. Gangways are much more dangerous than many people realize. Oftentimes, Gangways are not sturdy enough for passengers to safely traverse, resulting in slips, trips and injury-causing falls. The gangway might also be wet from the ocean and lack sufficient traction for passengers looking to steadily walk across. The angle of the gangway also makes it rather difficult for passengers to safely use, as they are often at a steeper incline than regular land bridges or anything found on the ship. 

Gangways are also notoriously dangerous for the assemblers, as constructing the passageway is a very difficult job and cases of serious injuries are frequent in the process. The most common types of gangway related injuries and accidents are: 

  • Drowning
  • Slipping 
  • Head Trauma
  • Fractured bones 
  • Torn ligaments 
  • Death

What Should I Do If I Am Injured On A Gangway?

Cruise Lines such as Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Holland America all have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their gangways. Cruise lines are not only in charge with the security of their passengers on the ship, but also have a legal duty to maintain and protect their passengers around the ship as well. Although injuries can happen anywhere, and especially on gangways, there is still a strong chance that the accident could have been avoided if the proper maintenance was practiced. 

Personal Injury Lawsuits on Cruise Ships Caused By Gangway Accidents

Cruises are synonymous with relaxation, adventure, and unforgettable memories. However, amidst the allure of boundless horizons exists a sobering reality: accidents can happen, and when they do, the consequences can be devastating. One of the more dangerous areas on a cruise ship is the gangway – a seemingly harmless passage that has led to many personal injury lawsuits.

The gangway, the link between the ship and the shore, serves as the primary pathway for passengers to embark and disembark. Despite its importance, this transitional space is full of hazards, ranging from slippery surfaces to uneven footing. These hazards, when combined with the bustling activity typical of cruise ship terminals, create a breeding ground for accidents.

Personal injury lawsuits arising from gangway accidents encompass a variety of scenarios, each with their own set of complexities. Slip-and-fall incidents are among the most common, often occurring due to wet or poorly maintained gangways. Passengers may also sustain injuries while navigating crowded gangways, especially during embarkation and disembarkation when the influx of passengers is at its peak.

Determining liability in gangway-related personal injury cases can be complicated. Cruise ship operators owe a duty of care to their passengers, requiring them to maintain safe conditions aboard the vessel and during the embarkation process. However, pinpointing the party responsible for the accident – whether it be the cruise line or a third-party contractor – requires a thorough examination of the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Jurisdictional issues further complicate matters in cruise ship injury cases. Maritime law, rather than traditional tort law, often governs these disputes, introducing a unique set of legal principles and procedural nuances. Additionally, the terms and conditions outlined in the passenger contract – typically a ticket or booking agreement – may contain clauses dictating where and how lawsuits can be filed, potentially limiting the options available to injured passengers seeking recourse.

Despite these challenges, individuals injured in gangway accidents aboard cruise ships have pursued legal action with notable success. Settlements and verdicts in such cases have ranged from compensation for medical expenses and lost wages to damages for pain and suffering, highlighting the potential for accountability within the maritime industry.

Prevention remains the cornerstone of mitigating gangway-related accidents and subsequent lawsuits. Cruise lines must prioritize proactive measures such as regular gangway inspections, implementation of non-slip surfaces, and adequate staffing to manage passenger flow during embarkation and disembarkation. Furthermore, enhancing passenger awareness through signage and announcements can empower individuals to navigate gangways safely.

While the allure of a cruise beckons with promises of adventure and relaxation, it is essential to recognize the potential risks lurking beneath the surface. Gangway accidents represent a sobering reminder of the perils that can accompany maritime travel. By fostering a culture of safety, transparency, and accountability, cruise lines can navigate the waters of personal injury litigation while ensuring that passengers embark and disembark with peace of mind.

Accidents aboard cruise ships can turn a dream vacation into a nightmare, but you don’t have to face the aftermath alone. If you’ve been injured due to negligence or misconduct on a cruise ship, seeking legal assistance is vital. At Aronfeld Trial Lawyers, we specialize in representing clients involved in cruise ship accidents in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale/Port Everglades, Port Canaveral, Galveston/Houston, Tampa, New Orleans, New York, Port of San Juan Puerto Rico, and many more locations.

Our team is dedicated to providing exceptional legal services to those seeking justice and compensation for injuries sustained onboard cruise ships. Whether you’ve experienced a slip & fall, a trip & fall, wrongful death, physical or sexual assault, or any other type of accident, we’re here to help you navigate the complexities of maritime law.

Cruise lines often fail to provide adequate safety for passengers, but with Aronfeld Trial Lawyers on your side, you can fight for the compensation you deserve. Our experienced attorneys understand the nuances of maritime law and will work tirelessly to ensure your rights are protected.

Remember, maritime cases have strict deadlines, requiring claims to be submitted within 180 days of the incident and suits filed in Federal Court in Miami, Florida. Regardless of where the accident occurred or where you’re from, Aronfeld Trial Lawyers represents clients from around the world.

Don’t wait to seek justice. Call Aronfeld Trial Lawyers today, and let us fight on your behalf to ensure maximum compensation is awarded. Your journey to justice starts now.

How We Can Help

Aronfeld Trial Lawyers has been successfully representing injured Cruise Ship passengers for over 30 years, and has brought many victims of cruise ship negligence the justice and compensation they deserve. If you or somebody you know has been involved in an accident that took place on a gangway, you might be entitled to compensation. Contact our office today so we can begin the fight for you!


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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 AccidentsPremises LiabilityCycling AccidentsSlip and Fall IncidentsWrongful DeathMedical and Dental Malpractice, Civil Rights Claims, Workplace InjuriesSexual 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 or contact Aronfeld Trial Lawyers directly at (305) 441-0440.