First, I’m going to share some of my settlements for accidents and injuries that happened while on a cruise ship. All the settlements in this article are before deduction for attorney’s fees and expenses.
Unfortunately, cruise lines often require that settlements are confidential. Thus, I can’t talk about all of my cruise ship accident settlements.
After I go into detail about some of my settlements, I’ll discuss cruise ship injury verdicts and lawsuits that are not mine.
$325,000 Settlement for Trip and Fall on a Cruise Ship (Broken Arm)
Lady tripped and fell over a threshold on a cruise ship. We claimed it was an optical illusion. She had surgery to fix her broken arm (humerus).
We worked with attorney from a different law firm on this case.
What is the average settlement for a broken arm? It will depend on whether the cruise line’s negligence caused your broken arm (humerus). Assuming that the cruise line was negligent, you then look at your damages.
In other words, how bad is the passenger’s broken arm?
For starters, surgery increases the full value of the case.
Proving liability and the seriousness of the injury are two factors that affect case value. However, it doesn’t stop there.
$24,750+ Settlement for Slip and Fall on Cruise Ship
Settlement against a cruise line when my client, a passenger, fractured a bone. She slipped and fell on water. It happened while walking on stairs on a cruise ship.
All things equal, a broken bone is worth more than a soft tissue injury.
$22,000 Settlement (After We Sued)
For a man in his forties who was injured while cruising on Carnival cruise ship Imagination. Our client, a resident of Baltimore, Maryland was sitting down on a tender on his way from the cruise ship to Grand Cayman.
The tender was apparently an independent contractor for Carnival. Fortunately, Florida law holds that the cruise line has a non-delegable duty to provide safety to passengers when the passenger is on a tender.
The rope connecting the tender to the “loading area” where the passengers were boarding the tender apparently snapped and the rope and a piece of metal flew and hit the gentleman. He reported his injury to cruise personnel immediately.
He visited the cruise ship infirmary later that day and their notes reveal that he had complaints of an injury and pain in his non-dominant shoulder.
How long did he get medical treatment for?
He received medical treatment for about 9 months. After that, he had shoulder impingement surgery.
This cruise passenger was with family at the time of this incident. He had several witnesses. Carnival disputed the fact that the injury victim’s shoulder surgery was caused by the accident.
I sued in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Carnival’s ticket contract requires that legal action against the cruise line be brought in federal court in Miami, Florida.
How Long Do You Have to Sue if You’re Hurt On a Cruise Ship?
An injured passenger must sue within 1 year of the accident. Otherwise, your personal injury case will be permanently dismissed.
Want an example of a cruise injury case getting dismissed?
Here it is:
A passenger slipped and fell on a Carnival cruise ship. She sued. But she sued after 1 year had passed.
It gets worse:
The injured passenger must notify the cruise ship of the particulars. For example, Carnival’s passenger ticket contract says that the passenger must give notice to Carnival within 185 days.
A federal appeals court has enforced this 185 day notice requirement as it applied to an independent contractor. Davis v. Valsamis, Inc., Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit 2018.
Cruise passengers should put the cruise line on notice as soon as possible after their injury or accident.
If you choose to hire a cruise injury lawyer, make sure to get one who is licensed in Miami’s federal court. We are.
For diabetic cruise ship passenger whose feet were severely burned when he walked on cruise ship outdoor surface which was unreasonably hot without proper warning. We were co-counsel.
Settlement for Cruise Employee’s Slip and Fall
For my client, a cruise line employee (crew member) who fell on a ship. He injured his knee. The doctor diagnosed him with a left medial meniscus rupture.
Ultimately, he had knee surgery. We settled his case. Most importantly, he was happy with the settlement.
How Long Does It Take for a Cruise Line to Settle?
First off, there is no guarantee that a cruise line will offer compensation to the passenger. I’m talking about cruise ship slip and falls and other accidents.
That said, cruise ship accident cases often take longer to settle than many other types of cases. For example, cruise ship injury claims usually take longer to settle than car accident cases.
Because cruise lines are usually self-insured. Up to a certain amount of course.
Therefore, in most cases, cruise lines don’t worry about owing more than a certain policy limit.
On the other hand, many car insurance policies are for low limits. For example, in Florida, many drivers only have $10,000 in bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance.
Take someone who is injured in a car accident. Assume the other driver has a $10,000 BIL insurance policy. Assume the accident caused the injured person to suffer a broken leg.
If the other driver was at fault, his insurance company should quickly pay the $10,000 BIL insurance limits.
If the insurance company fails to pay, they may be acting in bad faith. And if a jury later finds that they acted in bad faith, then they may owe any amount above the small $10,000 policy limit.
But cruise lines typically don’t face bad faith. This is because they are self-insured for a large amount. Most cruise injury claims are worth way under the cruise line’s self-insured retention.
Additionally, in most cruise ship accident cases, the passenger can’t file a consumer complaint with the state Department of Insurance. This is because the passenger often isn’t dealing with an insurance company.
$55K Verdict for Pain and Suffering for Cruise Ship Slip and Fall (Herniated Disc and Shoulder Injury)
This is not my case. A was walking on a Royal Caribbean gangway. It was raining.
He claimed that he slipped and fell on a Royal Caribbean gangway.
His lawsuit alleged that the slip and fall caused or aggravated his herniated disc and shoulder injury. Specifically, he was diagnosed with a rotator cuff tear.
The jury awarded $55,000 for his pain and suffering from this cruise slip and fall.
Passenger Sues Carnival for Trip and Fall (Broken Foot)
This is not my case. On October 22, 2016, Carmela Deroy was on a Carnival cruise ship. In particular, she was on the Carnival Valor.
She claimed that she tripped and fell on the hidden dip in the deck.
As a result, she broke her right foot. Since we use our right foot to driver cars, this may increase a foot injury lawsuit settlement.
Carnival extended the period for filing the lawsuit. (Typically, a cruise ship passenger has one year to sue.)
She hired a Fort Lauderdale, Florida personal injury attorney. Fort Lauderdale is about a 45 minute driver from Miami.
Why did she hire an attorney near Miami?
Because the Carnival ship traveled between at least one domestic (United States) port and one foreign port.
Thus, the injured passenger must sue Carnival in Miami, Florida. The passenger ticket requires it. There are no exceptions.
Passengers have lost out on injury settlements by not suing in Miami.
On February 20, 2018, Deroy’s attorney sued Carnival. Her lawsuit asked for:
- permanent bodily injury, pain, disability
loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life
aggravation of pre-existing condition
loss of the ability to earn money
loss of the pleasure of the complete cruise
and all other damages
This case is still ongoing. I will periodically try to check on this lawsuit. If it leads to a cruise ship injury settlement, I will write about it.
In many ways a cruise ship lawsuit settlement is similar to a hotel injury settlement. In essence, a cruise ship is a floating hotel.
Does Carnival Admit That Liquids (On Floors) Cause Passenger Injuries?
In Sampson v Carnival, a passenger’s attorney sued Carnival. This is not my law firm’s case.
In the lawsuit, the passenger’s attorney produced a Carnival document that talked about slip and falls.
On October 24, 2014, Angela Sampson slipped and fell on a Carnival cruise ship. It was the Carnival Inspiration. The ship sailed out of California. 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.
The 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:
In that same case, the passenger’s attorney also questioned a Carnival employee about another document. Here is Carnival’s document entitled “Areas of Most Potential Slip and Falls”:
On May 25, 2017, Sampson’s attorney filed a notice of settlement withe court. It said that Sampson and Carnival settled this case.
Unfortunately, like most cruise ship injury settlements, the settlement amount wasn’t mentioned.
Can You Use Prior Similar Incidents on a Cruise Ship To Get a Better Settlement Offer?
A passenger can try.
Why might prior similar incidents matter?
First off, prior similar incidents may show that the cruise line has notice of the hazard.
An injured person often needs to show that the cruise ship had notice of the dangerous condition that caused the injury. Specifically, the passenger must show that the cruise line knew about the hazard before the passenger’s accident.
Alternatively, the passenger can show that the cruise ship should’ve known about the hazard before the accident.
Therefore, the passenger should create a spreadsheet that shows every reported accident on each cruise ship. This means that the passenger should look at the court records for hundreds of past cases.
This will take weeks or over a month to do. This is yet another reason to hire a cruise ship injury lawyer.
A cruise ship lawyer should have a spreadsheet of every past similar accident for that cruise line. I’m referring to past similar accidents that are public information.
In a moment, I’ll show you a portion of my spreadsheet of lawsuits that passengers have filed against Carnival. But first I want to make a disclaimer:
Keep in mind that the passenger alleged that Carnival’s negligence caused his or her injury. Ultimately, it is up for a jury to decide if Carnival was negligent.
What Does a Cruise Lawsuit Spreadsheet Look Like?
As promised, here is just a small portion of a spreadsheet of passenger injury lawsuits against Carnival. You can find out more about these cruise ship injury lawsuits by ordering the documents online.
Evidence of similar occurrences may be offered to show a cruise line’s notice of a particular defect or danger. Similar occurrences may also show the size of the defect or danger involved. They can also show the cruise line’s ability to correct a known defect, the lack of safety for intended uses, the strength of a product, the standard of care and causation.
How do I know this?
Because past courts have said that this is the law.
Here are the cases where the value of prior similar accidents was mentioned: Sofillas v. Carnival Corporation, 2016 WL 5416110 at *2 (S.D. Fla. July 8, 2016)(quoting Hessen for Use & Benefit of Allstate Ins. Co. v. Jaguar Cars, Inc., 915 F.2d 641, 650(11th Cir. 1990); See, e.g., Whelan v. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., 2013 WL 5583966, at 2 (S.D. Fla. Aug. 16, 2013).
The similarity standard is relaxed when prior incidents are used to show notice. Ree v. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., 315 F.R.D. 682, 686 (S.D. Fla. 2016 (citing In re Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., 568 F.3d 1180, 1191 (10th Cir. 2009).
Does a Bigger Puddle Equal a Bigger Settlement in a Slip and Fall Case?
Yes, assuming all things equal. Let’s look at a passenger slip and fall lawsuit that involved a big puddle.
The case is Grayson v. Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc., 576 So.2d 417 (Fla. 3d DCA 1991). This isn’t my case.
Mr. Grayson claimed he stepped from the stairs directly into a puddle.
He said that the puddle was one to two inches deep and approximately six feet by twelve feet in diameter. Grayson alleged that he immediately slipped and fell. Basically, he stepped in a big puddle.
As a result, he was injured on this Carnival cruise. Carnival cruise lines asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit. Of course, the passengers didn’t want their case dismissed.
The passengers wanted to get their case to a jury. This is known as created a jury question.
The good news for the Graysons?
The appeals court refused to dismiss their lawsuit. The court said that:
the size of the puddle, was enough to present a jury question as to whether the puddle causing Mr. Grayson’s fall was created by Carnival’s employees.
I don’t know if this case ever went to trial. That said, the Graysons’ testimony that the puddle was big likely helped them get a bigger cruise ship injury settlement.
If the puddle would’ve been much smaller, the court may have dismissed the case. By smaller, I mean like the size of a quarter or smaller than that.
After a passenger slips and falls on a cruise, he or she should take photos of any puddle. Also, take photos of any warning signs.
Often times, there are warning signs. However, the warning signs are often not in the immediate vicinity of the puddle on the floor.
The passenger may get a better settlement if the warning signs were far from the puddle. Likewise, if the passenger’s view of a warning sign was obstructed, this may lead to a better settlement.
The passenger wants his case to get to a jury. Because at trial, a jury may award the passenger compensation.
Does Carnival Use Its Own Attorneys Do Defend Injury Lawsuits?
Often, Carnival uses its own attorneys to defend it for personal injury claims.
In other cases, Carnival will use an outside law firm to defend a personal injury lawsuit.
For example, a passenger sailed on Carnival’s Liberty cruise ship. This isn’t my case.
He allegedly told a Carnival employee that he was allergic to nuts. Nevertheless, a Carnival employee allegedly told the passenger that the Couscous didn’t have nuts. Subsequently, the passenger became sick.
The passenger claims that he fears eating at restaurants now. His claim is for his anxiety and emotional distress. On August 18, 2018, his cruise ship injury lawyer sued Carnival for his personal injury. The case is Wendt v. Carnival.
Carnival hired the Chartwell Law Firm to defend it. They are the same law firm that Whole Foods has used to defend it in South Florida personal injury claims.
The Chartwell Law Firm also defended an apartment building owner in a bathtub slip and fall case. That wasn’t my case. In that case, the tenant slipped and fell.
The fall caused his back to be sliced open. As a result, he had a keloid (raised) scar. The scar caused a burning sensation and other issues.
The tenant claim that the slow draining tub allowed grime to collect. He alleged that the grime made the tub unreasonably slippery.
On September 18, 2018, a jury awarded the tenant $179,689 for his medical bills, and pain and suffering. $150,000 of the verdict was for his pain and suffering. That case is Amado v. The Graham Companies d/b/a/ St. Tropez Apartments.
That verdict is higher than the average settlement for a scar.
How is a Cruise Ship Injury Case Different from a Car Accident Case?
There are too many differences to list them here. However, I want to discuss one big difference.
Cruise ship adjusters are tough to get a response from. They are typically bad at responding to emails, letters or phone calls.
Even though those auto insurers make offers for less than the injury claim is worth, there is one positive aspect. Claims adjusters from those car insurance companies are much easier to speak with than cruise ship adjusters.
Many car insurance adjusters quickly return phone calls. Unfortunately, cruise ship adjusters don’t. It may take ten phone calls to speak with a cruise ship claims adjuster.
I know. It’s pretty bad. Cruise lines are quick to take your hard-earned money to cruise with them. However, when it comes to payouts, they are terrible at answering the phone. Additionally, they are horrible at returning phone calls.
Want to see some of my injury settlements? Here are some of my personal injury settlements.
Want to Learn more about Carnival Cruise Line Accident Claims?
Check out these 8 must see articles:
- Carnival Cruise Slip and Fall Accident Claims
- Carnival Cruise Passenger Gets $2,998,155 for 6 Knee Surgeries from Slip and Fall
- $7,500 Verdict for Carnival Cruise Slip and Fall on Oily Substance
- Carnival Cruise Slip and Fall on Condensation or Slippery Tile Claim
- Passenger’s Slip and Fall on Carnival Cruise Dismissed Where No Substance on Floor
- Carnival Doesn’t Have to Give Past Incident Reports of Hazard that Caused Your Fall
- Court Lets Slip and Fall on Wet and Slippery Substance Go Forward vs. Carnival
- Carnival Cruise Slip and Fall Case Dismissed for Failure to Sue in Time
I want to represent you if you were hurt in an accident on a cruise ship.
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