Here, I discuss Carnival Cruise Lines slip and fall settlements (and verdicts). I go into detail explaining how much slip and fall claims against Carnival are worth.
We’ll also talk about mistakes to avoid. Otherwise, a judge can quickly toss the case. Permanently!
Also, check out my video on video on Carnival Cruise Lines slip and fall cases. It’s below.
However, if you prefer reading, just keep reading and enjoy.
Court Refuses to Dismiss Carnival Slip and Fall Lawsuit
This is not my case. On November 30, 2016, Iris Nathans was aboard the Carnival Pride. She fell on the floor of the Lido deck near the Apollo pool.
She fell and landed in a large area of water. The water was approximately six feet by four feet in diameter.
Nathans claimed that she walked from her lounge chair to the pool to watch her grandchildren. While looking straight ahead, she claimed that she slipped and fell in a pool of water that was not visible.
After she fell in the area of water, she felt her body and the area around her was soaked with water.
She hired a Miami cruise slip and fall lawyer. On October 9, 2017, he sued Carnival for her personal injuries.
She claimed that Carnival allowed the 6 foot by 4 foot area of clear pool water remained on its pool deck for at least and hour and a half without cleaning it up. She also claimed that Carnival didn’t put warning signs to warn her of the danger.
In the pre-trial statement, her attorney said that she couldn’t see the water because it was clear. Additionally, it blended into the deck and by shadows on seen on Carnival video footage.
Passenger Suffered a Broken Leg (Femur Fracture)
As a result of the fall, Nathans suffered a periprosthetic right femur fracture.
(A periprosthetic hip fracture is a broken bone that occurs around the implants of a total hip replacement. It is a serious complication that most often requires surgery.)
She suffered a 20% impairment to the right lower extremity and an 8% impairment to the whole person. All things equal, a high impairment rating increases the full value of pain and suffering.
Her attorney sued Carnival for pain and suffering, medical bills, mental anguish and more.
Carnival argued that the accident was captured on Carnival’s CCTV video. It argued that the video shows the passenger tripped on a reclining lounge chair prior to falling on the Lido deck. Therefore, Carnival said that the accident was caused by her own negligence.
On June 5, 2018, Carnival’s corporate representative, Monica Petisco, was deposed. Petisco said that Carnival’s investigation following Nathans’ fall found the deck was wet from guests transiting from the pool.
Carnival filed a motion for summary judgement. In other words, Carnival asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuit.
Carnival argued that the water on the floor was open and obvious. Therefore, Carnival argued, the passenger should’ve seen it before she slipped on it.
Passenger’s Engineering Expert Helped Her Case
The passenger’s attorney hired architect expert, Anthony Shinsky. On March 11, 2018, Mr. Shinsky tested the slip resistance of Carnival’s floor (near where the passenger fell).
This test was almost one and half years after Nathans slip and fall. However, that time frame was fine. In other words, waiting 15 months to test the slip resistance of the floor was valid.
Shinsky said that Carnival’s floor on the Lido deck was not slip resistant enough when wet.
Here is part of Shinsky’s affidavit:
The passenger’s attorney also argued that Carnival knew its floors can become slippery due to pool water. The lawyer used the Carnival Funtimes newsletter that was given to passengers on that cruise.
Here is the newsletter (I’ve put a red box around the warning):
If a passenger is injured in a Carnival slip and fall, he or she should keep a copy of this newsletter. It may help the passenger’s case survive dismissal.
Carnival hired an expert who examined the slip resistance of the ship’s flooring. Carnival’s expert was Zdenek Hejzlar, Ph.D. He wrote a very detailed and long report. In his report, he blamed the passenger for her fall.
On August 31, 2018, Judge Altonaga refused to grant Carnival’s request to dismiss the lawsuit. This will likely result in Carnival making an increased settlement offer to the passenger.
Her case will continue to trial.
Carnival Cruise Slip and Fall Settlement (Water/Condensation)
This is not my law firm’s case. On October 24, 2014, Angela Sampson allegedly slipped and fell on a Carnival cruise ship. It was the Carnival Inspiration.
Why does the cruise ship name matter?
With the cruise ship name, you’ll know the class of cruise ship. For example, the Carnival Inspiration is part of the Carnival’s Fantasy class of ships.
Why does a passenger who slips and falls need to know the Carnival’s ship class?
Because Miami judges may let a cruise passenger use other similar incidents (in the past) from the same class of ship to help prove his or her case.
OK. Back to this slip and fall lawsuit.
The ship sailed out of California.
The passenger sued Carnival for this slip and fall. However, the lawsuit was field in Miami, Florida.
Why did the passenger’s attorney sue in Miami?
Again, because Carnival’s passenger ticket requires lawsuits to be filed in Miami. At least for cruises that sail from the United States.
On September 1, 2016, the passenger’s attorney took the deposition (statement under oath) of a Carnival employee. This was the 30(b)(6) deposition.
What is the 30(b)(6) deposition?
It’s where the passenger’s lawyer gets to verbally ask Carnival questions about specific topics. Carnival must prepare a witness to testify on these topics.
Carnival produced employee Monica Petisco as its representative. Specifically, she was asked about two hours of questions about slip and falls. The passenger’s attorney focused on slip and falls on the Carnival Inspiration’s Lido decks. He also asked about slip and falls on any decks on Carnival ships with teak flooring.
The passenger’s attorney asked Carnival’s employee about different Carnival documents.
Does Carnival Admit that Spills Are Very Common?
One document said that spills are very common in high traffic areas like Lido Restaurant/Beverage Stations, public areas like Bars & Lounges. It also said that spills are one of the leading causes of Guest accidents.
Here is a Carnival training document about spills:
The passenger’s attorney also questioned the Carnival employee about another document. Here is Carnival’s document entitled “Areas of Most Potential Slip and Falls”:
Additionally, Carnival employee Petisco was asked about a photo of the Lido deck. That photo was taken when the ship was going to go into dry dock.
It wasn’t taken shortly after the alleged slip and fall. Here is the photo:
Petisco confirmed that the above photo showed the same area (that Carnival took photos of after Sampson’s alleged fall).
You see, shortly after a slip and fall, Carnival will take photos of the accident scene. And they might not give them to the passenger.
On September 16, 2016, the deposition of Chet Sampson was taken. Given the last name, I assume that is a relative of the passenger, Angela Sampson.
Chet said that the slip and fall happened about 10 feet from the pool. He said that the accident happened on the deck where the pool was.
Judge Won’t Dismiss the Slip and Fall (Passenger Not Aware of Wetness)
Carnival tried to get the case dismissed. Carnival argued that condensation on its Lido decks was open and obvious. The cruise line also argued that there was a warning cone on the deck.
Magistrate Judge Torres recommended that the judge should not dismiss the case. On February 10, 2017, Judge Lawrence King refused to dismiss the case.
King said Carnival failed to show two things.
First, Carnival didn’t show that the passenger was aware of the wetness of the cruise ship deck or that she could have discovered the danger through her ordinary use of her senses. Therefore, Carnival had a duty to warn her of the slippery deck.
Second, there was still a dispute over material (important) facts as to whether Carnival violated the a duty of care to the passenger.
About three months after the judge refused to dismiss the case, it settled. On May 25, 2017, Sampson’s attorney filed a notice of settlement with the court.
It said that Sampson and Carnival settled this case. Unfortunately, like most cruise ship injury settlements, the settlement amount wasn’t mentioned.
This case settled about 2 and 1/2 years after the slip and fall. As of September 20, 2018, Carnival is worth a whopping $46 Billion!
Therefore, Carnival has the money to pay a huge verdict. Hence, Carnival isn’t in a rush to settle.
Many slip and fall cases take longer to settle than a car accident case with limited insurance coverage. As you can see, different injury cases take different lengths of time to settle.
Also, many factors affect a personal injury case. As you can see from this case, Carnival argued that it wasn’t careless.
What happens if Carnival thinks that a jury won’t think that it was careless?
Carnival’s settlement offer will be lower.
Settlement for Slip and Fall (Carnival Cruise)
This isn’t my case. In Cosmo v. Carnival Corporation, Dist. Court, SD Florida 2017, Wayne Cosmo was a passenger aboard Carnival Corporation’s Miracle in August 2015.
He claimed that he fell on his right wrist during an organized game, near a pool, where he claimed the floor was wet and slippery.
According to Cosmo, he has suffered permanent damage as a result of fractures to his radius and ulna.
His injuries required surgery, including a right distal radius comminuted intra-articular fracture, distal ulnar non-displaced fracture, right hand neuropathy, right hand carpal tunnel syndrome. Basically, he had a bad wrist fracture.
An intra-articular fracture extends into the wrist joint. (“Articular” means “joint.”) Fractures that extend to the joint may cause post-traumatic arthritis, thus increasing the full value of the case.
He also claimed that the fall caused depression, anxiety, and an exacerbation of his pre-existing ulcerative colitis.
Doctor Diagnosed Passenger With CRPS (Which is Increases the Full Value)
Neurologist Dr. Kester Nedd diagnosed Cosmo with CRPS type II. CRPS type II is a chronic progressive syndrome. CRPS’s key symptom is chronic unrelenting pain which is described as a burning and pins and needles sensation.
CRPS’s chronic unrelenting pain causes people, like Cosmo, significant stress and lack of movement with tension in the effected area due to extreme pain. Doctors treat people with CRPS with potent pain medications.
CRPS adds major value to the full value of a personal injury case. This is because CRPS increases the full value of pain and suffering, and medical bills.
In fact, one of the largest personal injury verdicts against Carnival involved a lady who had CRPS. She also fell on a Carnival ship. (You can read about that case further below.)
Ok. Enough about CRPS for now. Let’s get back to this case.
Cosmo also claimed that the fall caused him to have depression, anxiety, and a worsening of his pre-existing ulcerative colitis.
As it typically does in slip and fall cases, Carnival tried to have his case dismissed beforetrial. Carnival’s goal is to get the passenger’s case dismissed before trial. This saves Carnival from having to pay its attorneys.
On the flipside, the passenger’s goal is to get his or her case to trial. If the passenger can survive Carnival’s attempt at summary judgment (dismissal), this usually adds value to the case. This is because Carnival knows there is a chance that a jury can find Carnival to be at fault. Additionally, Carnival has to pay fees to its attorneys.
In a slip and fall case against Carnival, the passenger must prove that Carnival knew or should have known that there was a dangerous condition on the floor. This is known as “notice”.
Carnival Tried To Get the Case Dismissed By Arguing It Had No Notice, Puddle Was Open and Obvious
Carnival tried to have the case dismissed by using several arguments. First, Carnival argued that it didn’t have notice of the puddle before the passenger fell. Carnival also argued that even if it had notice, the puddle was so open and obvious that the passenger should’ve seen it before he slipped.
What facts helped the passenger from having his case dismissed?
According to Cosmo, after going over the chair, he “then slipped and fell” in a “big puddle of water from the pool.” Cosmo testified that he estimated the rectangular or oval puddle to be approximately five-feet long and two-feet across.
Another court said that a jury could determine that a puddle’s [big] size is circumstantial evidence that the puddle had existed for enough time to put Carnival on notice of it. Erickson v. Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc., 649 So. 2d 942, 943 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1995)
Cosmo testified that the puddle was not readily visible. This helped Cosmo because he could argue that he wasn’t at fault for not seeing the puddle before he fell.
Further, Cosmo’s attorney hired an expert who measured the slip resistance of the deck. The expert said that it is below industry standards and is too slippery. Experts can be expensive.
Judge Says Puddle’s Size Could Be Evidence That It Had Been Long Enough to Put Carnival on Notice
The passenger submitted evidence that Carnival’s pool and deck supervisor noted that an area near the pool “was slightly wet due to continuous transit of guests entering and exiting the main pool.”
The judge said:
Assuming that the evidence establishes that the puddle formed as a result of swimmers dripping water, over time, as they exited the pool, a jury could conclude that the puddle’s size is circumstantial evidence that the defect had existed for a sufficient period of time to put Carnival on notice of its existence.
Carnival argued that the puddle “could have easily come from children splashing in the water as from people exiting the pool.” The judge said that this was a guess and can’t support and an inference, in and of itself, that Carnival lacked notice.
Lastly, the judge said that:
The deck where Cosmo fell is right next to a pool. Common sense would dictate that such closeness to an actively-used pool would result in the deck frequentlyaccumulating pool water. In fact, Phillips, the game coordinator, testified to as much: he acknowledged that “chances are,” the deck will not be dry prior to starting the game.
Lastly, Carnival was aware of a prior incident, approximately three months before Cosmo’s fall, where a passenger fell, on the Miracle, on the lido deck, in the pool area, while participating in the Last Man Standing game.
This passenger slipped on the wet floor while running to collect an item during one of the rounds of the game. Further, Phillips, the shipboard organizer of the game, acknowledged he was aware, prior to Cosmo’s fall, that participants in the game run, rush, and jump to compete.
And Cosmo testified that two other participants had fallen returning to the stage in the two rounds prior to his own fall.
Ultimately, the Court:
could infer from the record that Carnival was aware, or should have been aware, that the deck where the game was being played was wet; that when the deck was wet, it became slippery; and that, during the Last Man Standing game, participants were apt to run, jump, and rush.
There Were 29 Slip-and-Falls on the Lido Deck Aboard Carnival’s Spirit Class Ships
Cosmo submitted evidence that there have been at least twenty-nine slip-and-falls on the lido pool deck aboard Carnival’s “Spirit Class” ships, which includes the Miracle. The judge said:
Prior incidents are certainly sufficient to show that Carnival was on notice that the deck near the pool on the Spirit Class ships was in some way hazardous.
As you can see, prior incidents can greatly help a passenger’s slip and fall case.
Based on all the above, the court rejected Carnival’s attempt to dismiss the case based on lack of notice. It said the case should continue towards to trial.
Carnival also tried to argue that the passenger’s case should be dismissed because the risks associated with running during this game are open and obvious. Carnival also argued that the passenger should’ve known that the deck could have been wet based on its nearness to the pool.
Another fact that helped the passenger survive Carnival’s dismissal attempt was that he submitted evidence showing the floor was unreasonably slippery.
About 1 month after Cosmo survived Carnival’s attempt to dismiss the case, Carnival notified the court that the claims were settled.
Unfortunately, court records don’t mention the amount of the settlement.
Judge Dismisses Carnival Slip and Fall Case (Passenger Waited too Long to Sue)
This isn’t my case. In Pettit v. Carnival Corporation, Dist. Court, SD Florida 2015, a judge dismissed a passenger’s slip-and-fall case against Carnival Cruise Lines that was filed past the 1 year guest contract deadline.
In most passenger slip and fall cases against Carnival, the passenger has one (1) year to sue. This deadline comes from Carnival’s passenger ticket on its website.
Here is a screenshot of paragraph #13 of Carnival’s passenger ticket.
Minor children who are hurt may have more time to sue. For purposes of the time to sue, a “minor child” is someone who is under the age of 18.
Jury May Think Passenger Should’ve Been Looking at Stairs (While Walking Down)
In Carnival v. Jimenez, 112 So. 3d 513, 520 (Fla. 2d DCA 2013), a cruise passenger was awarded $7,500 for knee and hip pain.
Judge Says Passenger Was Wearing Flip-Flops and Slipped, But Did Not Fall
This isn’t my case. In Weiner v. Carnival Cruise Lines, No. 11-CV-22516, 2012 WL 5199604 (S.D. Fla. Oct. 22, 2012), the court said that “On or about August 16, 2010, Weiner and his wife were taking a walk along the promenade deck of the Valor, near the Java Cafe coffee shop, when Weiner, who was wearing flip-flops, slipped but did not fall.”
I believe the judge was implying that her wearing flip-flops may have been the cause of her fall. The value of a injury case is reduced by the passenger’s percentage of fault.
Neither Weiner nor his wife saw any liquid on the floor immediately before or after his accident. Nor did anyone else – even after a visual and tactile inspection of the area.
Passenger Wins $2.9 Million Judgment Against Carnival for Slip and Fall (Knee Fracture)
This isn’t my case. On May 13, 2011, a cruise passenger was awarded $2,998,155 from her slip and fall. Kaba slipped on a slippery deck on the Carnival Pride ship. (The Carnival pride is a spirit class cruise ship.)
Carnival Corporation agreed that it was at fault, and was legally responsible for any resulting loss, injury, or damage. This doesn’t happen often in a passenger slip and fall lawsuit. Or any slip and fall settlement.
Also, Carnival agreed that it was liable for Kaba’s loss of earnings, past and future medical expenses, and non-economic damages. “Non-economic” damages most often refers to pain and suffering compensation.
Those are some of the types of damages that you may be able to recover in a passenger cruise slip and fall case. The fall resulted in her fractured patella.
She got treatment on the cruise ship, which is similar to getting treatment at a hospital after an accident. It reduces a gap in treatment, which may weaken Carnival’s argument that the accident did not cause your injury.
She had six surgeries! Surgery increases the full value of a personal injury case.
She now suffers from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). Complex regional pain syndrome is a chronic pain condition most often affecting one of the limbs (arms, legs, hands, or feet), usually after an injury or trauma to that limb.
The bulk of the award was for past and future pain and suffering, which was for $2.16 Million.
I want to make something very clear. Most slip and fall cases against Carnival don’t result in a $2.9 million verdict. Or even a $1 million verdict. Or even a $100,000 settlement.
In large part because most slip and fall cases against Carnival don’t involve horrific injuries.
In Kaba’s slip and fall case, she had terrible injuries. Again, Kaba had six surgeries. Most passengers who slip and fall (and make a claim) don’t even have one surgery.
Crist v. Carnival Corp. 410 Fed.Appx. 197 (11th Cir. 2010) (Coming Soon)
Carnival doesn’t have to give you past incident reports of the dangerous condition
In Alexander v. Carnival Corporation, 238 F.R.D. 318 (S.D. Fla. 2006), Bertha Alexander sued Carnival Corporation d/b/a Carnival Cruise Lines. Bertha claimed that she slipped and fell on the lido deck on the Carnival Glory cruise ship.
Her lawyer wanted these reports to show that food being on this portion of the Lido (i.e. pool) decks of Carnival’s ships was on ongoing problem.
Passenger Injured When She Slipped and Fell on Puddle; Court Refuses to Dismiss the Lawsuit
In Erickson v. Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc., 649 So. 2d 942, 943 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1995), Janice Erickson and her husband were on Carnival’s cruise ship, T.S.S. Mardi Gras as passengers for a three-day cruise.
After initially boarding the ship, they went to the ship’s “workout” room for a game of ping-pong. As Janice was retrieving a ping-pong ball hit off of the table, she was injured when she slipped and fell in a clear puddle of water approximately three to five feet in diameter.
Before her fall, neither she or her husband had seen the puddle on the floor and they did not know how long it had been there.
Once again, the passenger’s case was better because she didn’t see the puddle before her fall.
Further, the Ericksons did not have knowledge of anyone else walking or slipping in the area prior to her fall. Since they didn’t see anyone else walking in the area before the fall, they could argue that the water didn’t come from anyone else.
Carnival tried to get the case dismissed by arguing that it wasn’t aware of the water on the floor before the fall.
The court refused to dismiss the case.
A Big Puddle May Get the Case to Trial
The court said that source of the puddle (i.e. ceiling leak) as well as the size of the puddle were sufficient to allow the case to go trial. This is because a jury question exists as to whether this hazardous condition existed for a sufficient period of time to charge Carnival with constructive notice and to invite corrective measures.
The court said:
The undisputed facts clearly reflect that this hazardous condition created was the result of some defect or flaw in the ceiling structure itself as opposed to some foreign object. Since a jury might reasonably conclude that a puddle of water three to five feet in diameter which had formed as a result of a ceiling leak was circumstantial evidence that this defect had existed for a sufficient period of time to place Carnival on notice of its existence, it was error to dismiss the case.
If You Settle Your Case with Carnival, Do You Have to Pay Back Your Health Insurer?
Maybe. The type of health plan that you have will determine if you have to pay back your health “insurer”.
The first question that must be asked is
Was the health “insurance” secured through someone’s job?
If the answer is yes, then the member needs to find out if the health plan is self-funded.
Assuming the health plan is self-funded, then the plan language will determine how much the member is required to reimburse the health insurer.
If the health insurance isn’t self-funded, then the state law that governs the contract will determine if reimbursement is required.
If the health insurance wasn’t purchased through work, then the state law of the health insurance contract will determine the amount of reimbursement.
As an example, let’s assume Betty, was injured while on a Carnival cruise that sailed from a U.S. Port. Assume that Betty lives in North Carolina.
(I’m using North Carolina in this example but you can also assume that Betty lives in New York or Virginia. As you’ll see in a moment, the result is the same.)
Betty has an individual health insurance plan. Basically, she did not purchase the health insurance through her work.
Since Betty lived in North Carolina when she purchased the health insurance, the state law of North Carolina controls whether Betty has to pay back the health insurer (for bills it paid) if she settles her injury case against Carnival.
Luckily for Betty, North Carolina doesn’t allow subrogation of medical or disability benefits. Bush v. Nat’l Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, PA, 124 F. Supp. 3d 642 (E.D.N.C. 2015)
Thus, in this instance, Betty doesn’t have to pay back her health insurance company.
The same is true is Betty’s health plan would’ve been from New York or Virginia. Both states don’t allow individual health plans to recover payments from a personal injury settlement.
If You Settle Your Case with Carnival, Do You Have to Pay Back Your Disability Insurer for Your Disability Benefits that Were Paid?
I use the same analysis as I do for health insurance above.
How Often Does Carnival Get Sued a Month By Passengers?
Very often. Carnival gets sued by passengers (for alleged negligence) several times a month. Here are just a few passenger lawsuits against Carnival in a ten day period.
They are not my cases.
The above screenshot is from a spreadsheet that I created. I looked at court records where Carnival was sued.
My spreadsheet is much bigger than the above image. I am using a portion of the spreadsheet as an illustration. You can click here to see more passenger lawsuits (for injuries) against Carnival.
Referral Fees to Out of State Lawyers for Carnival Injury Cases
If you are a licensed attorney in another state (or country), and you refer us a passenger who was hurt on a Carnival cruise, we can pay you referral fee for referring us the client. This is at no extra expense to the client.
However, for me to pay a referral fee, 3 criteria must be met. (A referral fee is also known as a co-counsel fee.)
First, the passenger must live in the state where you are licensed. (If a lawsuit is filed, and you appear pro-hac vice, then the client may not need to live in the state where you are licensed. However, we don’t sue unless it’s in the client’s best interest and the client consents in writing. That said, cruise injury cases are much more likely to require a lawsuit than typical Florida accident claims.
Second, you must agree in writing on the fee contract to assume joint legal responsibility and be available for consultation to the client.
Third, our fee contract will state the attorney’s fee split is 75% to me, and 25% to the referring lawyer. The client and both attorneys must sign the fee contract. If we are able to reach a settlement, you (and your attorney fee) will also be listed on the closing statement. The client and both lawyers will sign the closing statement.
Some Carnival Cruise Line Ships That I May Not Have Mentioned Above
Don’t Post Comments/Questions about Your Case Online
The same is true for posting any comments anywhere online, or sending emails to anyone.
Did Carnival Cruise Lines’ carelessness cause you to slip and fall? Were you injured in another type of accident, or somewhere in Florida?
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