Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (RCCL) is the world’s largest international cruise line. In 2018, RCCL announced the 228,081- ton Symphony of the Seas cruise ship. When 6,680 vacationers are dancing, drinking, and living freely out at sea, the chances of being injury become a lot higher.
With more than 20 innovative ships in service, two exclusive island destinations for passengers, and daring new features such as RipCord by iFLY (the first at-sea skydiving experience), RCCL has a lot to offer passengers – and many opportunities for injuries. When you board a cruise ship, you aren’t expecting to suffer an injury. Yet even on vacation, harmful accidents can occur.
Common Cruise Ship Accidents
While many vacationers are soaking up the sun, gambling at the casino, or waiting to zipline above the deck, unexpected injuries can occur, causing long-term pain and possibly creating significant life changes.
Not only is it important to know your rights, but every passenger should know the most common causes of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line injuries:
- Slip and fall accidents – These types of accidents are the most common on cruise ships. Wet floors in the dining rooms or outside deck, luggage left in cabin hallways, and wet or defective stairs are a few causes of slip and fall accidents
- Food poisoning – Although RCCL provides a healthy environment for its passengers, food poisoning spreads quickly in an enclosed space like a cruise ship
- Technical problems – Elevators and escalators malfunctions can result in possible serious injuries and deaths
- Swimming pool accidents – Slip and falls are common near the slippery deck where children spend most their time splashing. Other accidents include, drowning when a life guard is absent or injuries from defective swimming pool steps
- Falling overboard – Unfortunately, there have been previous cases where passengers have fallen overboard due to not properly installed stair handrails
- Assault – Sad to say, but passengers are in danger of being assaulted or sexual assaulted by crew members and other passengers, resulting in physical injuries and log-term trauma
Common Injuries from Cruise Line Accidents
Injuries vary from mild to severe while on a cruise ship. This is mainly because the lack of proper medical facilities and assistance out at sea. Depending on the size of the cruise ship, RCCL only has one to three doctors and three to five nurses, and depending on the severity of the injury that may not be enough medical assistance for one passenger.
Common injuries include:
- Neck, back, and shoulder injuries
- Brain injuries
- Spinal Injuries
- Fractured or broken bones
- Severe cuts and burns
- Bacterial illnesses from food poisoning
- Emotional trauma
When the worst happens, here’s how to file a claim against RCCL.
Maritime Laws and Filing Restrictions
Bringing a lawsuit against Royal Caribbean cruise line for onboard injuries requires a different process than other personal injury claims. Cruise ship injuries involve elements of maritime law, a distinct body of law that governs offenses and activities on water vessels. There are also different filing deadlines and liability concerns you must consider. Here are three things to know about filing a claim against RCCL:
- Maritime laws require plaintiffs to prove fault. A common carrier owes the highest degree of care to its passengers. However, unlike typical strict liability cases, passengers must prove negligence or intent to harm to bring a claim against a carrier. This involves having evidence of the cruise line’s failure to exercise due care, resulting in injury.
- Your cruise ticket is a legal contract. When you purchase your RCCL ticket and board the ship, you agree to a legally binding contract that bars you from pursuing injury claims against the cruise line. Your ticket will outline specific exceptions to the rule (typically negligence claims or intent to harm) as well as important information such as when and where to file.
- You must file your lawsuit at the cruise line’s headquarters. Despite being highly inconvenient for passengers who live out of state or even in a different country, cruise ship liability waivers state that injured passengers must file claims in the state of the company’s headquarters. Most courts will uphold this clause as reasonable.
Filing a claim against a large cruise ship company like RCCL requires a firm understanding of these rules and many others. It is often in an injured passenger’s best interest to work with an attorney for these personal injury cases. An Cruise ship accident attorney can investigate your accident, help you determine the defendant(s), and gather any evidence relevant to your case.
Where to File Your Claim
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line has its headquarters and legal team in the Port of Miami – just a few blocks away from the United States District Courthouse where injured parties must file all RCCL claims. Keep in mind there is a strict statute of limitations for filing cruise line claims. The Royal Caribbean passenger cruise ticket states you must give the headquarters a notice within six months for any injury or death.
If you are not from Miami, this can create traveling issues for you during litigation. Entrusting your case to Miami cruise injury attorneys can give you an in-state advocate, and a connection to your case from far away. The team at Stein Law can file an RCCL passenger or employee injury claim on your behalf, and keep you updated about your case when you are in your home state.
The most important factor in your case against RCCL is your ability to prove negligence. This hinges on the court ruling that a “reasonably careful ship operator” would have done something different in the same situation – such as knowing about a faulty staircase railing and taking steps to repair the issue. Although it’s impossible for a cruise line company to foresee all dangerous conditions, RCCL has a duty to reasonably prevent harm to passengers.
If you suffered an injury on a recent cruise with Royal Caribbean, contact your local Florida attorney, Brandon Stein, for a free consultation at 877.STEINLAW. You can describe your accident and find out whether your case has merit.