Cruise Ship Crew Member Injuries

Posted on Monday, April 24th, 2023 at 6:45 pm    

Working on a cruise ship offers unique experiences and opportunities and involves inherent risks and potential hazards. Understanding your rights and legal options is crucial when pursuing compensation for job-related injuries. An experienced cruise ship injury attorney from Louis A. Vucci P.A. can help you recover the money you need. Below, we dive into the legal issues surrounding cruise ship crew member injury cases.

Potential Risks to Cruise Ship Crew

Some dangers that cruise ship crew members frequently encounter on the job include:

  • Unsafe work areas: Wet floors, improperly stored items, or poorly maintained equipment can cause slip-and-fall accidents, leading to severe injuries.
  • Accidents due to employer negligence: Cruise lines have an obligation to maintain equipment and follow legal safety requirements. Failure to do so can result in injuries to crew members.
  • Harsh work conditions: Crew members often work long hours in physically demanding roles. That can lead to soft tissue injuries, back problems, burns, or exposure to illnesses like norovirus.
  • Pirate attacks: Cruise ships sailing in dangerous international waters may face pirate attacks, potentially leading to hostage situations, injuries, or kidnappings.

Relevant Laws and Rights

Maritime law is a complex subject, especially concerning compensation for injured workers. That said, there are three key laws and legal concepts that govern cruise ship crew injury claims, and they are:

  • The Jones Act: In the United States, the Jones Act covers maritime workers’ rights. Those include compensation for injury-related costs through maintenance (ongoing expenses) and cure (medical expenses) provisions. Even if you suffer an injury on a vessel registered in another country, certain provisions of the Jones Act might apply to your case.
  • Unseaworthiness Doctrine: Ship owners have a duty to provide a seaworthy vessel. The owner might be liable for damages if you sustained injuries due to the ship’s unseaworthiness.
  • Flags of convenience: Cruise lines may often register their ships in foreign countries to avoid stricter regulations, potentially leading to poorer working conditions and fewer crew member rights. However, you might be able to work around these lax regulations with help from a knowledgeable cruise ship crew injury attorney.

Common Cruise Ship Crew Member Injuries

Crew members on a cruise ship frequently sustain severe injuries, including:

  • Soft tissue or back-related injuries: Crew members often perform physically demanding tasks, such as lifting heavy materials or bending over to clean the deck. These activities can lead to sprains, strains, fractures, or spinal disc damage.
  • Burns: Fire hazards exist on cruise ships, and explosions, steam injuries, or kitchen fires can potentially cause severe burn injuries to crew members.
  • Exposure to illnesses: Crew members are sometimes exposed to foodborne illnesses, such as norovirus, which can range from mild to severe and even become life-threatening in some cases.
  • Slip and fall accidents: Wet or slippery surfaces, poorly maintained equipment, and cluttered work areas can lead to slip-and-fall accidents. Those often result in broken bones, fractures, head injuries, or spinal injuries.
  • Falling objects: Overloaded shelves, improperly secured equipment, or items falling from heights can cause head trauma, lacerations, or other injuries.
  • Machinery accidents: Crew members working with or around machinery may suffer injuries due to malfunctions or lack of proper maintenance, including crush injuries, amputations, or entanglement injuries.
  • Chemical exposure: Handling cleaning agents or other chemicals on board may lead to chemical burns, respiratory issues, or skin irritations.
  • Overexertion: Long work hours and physically demanding tasks can result in overexertion injuries, such as muscle strains, fatigue, and heat-related illnesses.
  • Repetitive stress injuries: Performing repetitive tasks may cause injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, or bursitis.
  • Mental and emotional distress: Traumatic accidents or hostile work environments can lead to mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

What to Do If You’ve Been Injured at Work on a Cruise Ship

Your actions immediately after sustaining a job-related injury can significantly affect your case’s outcome and how much compensation you receive. If you suffer an injury while working on a cruise ship, here’s what you need to do:

  • Seek immediate medical attention from onboard first aid or medical staff.
  • Document the incident with detailed records, including photographs, if possible.
  • Consult a lawyer with experience handling maritime cases before contacting your insurance company.
  • Notify your employer per their requirements, but avoid saying anything that an insurer might see as you admitting fault for your injuries.

Our Firm Protects the Rights of Injured Cruise Ship Crew

The cruise ship crew injury team at Louis A. Vucci P.A. is here to protect your rights and help you recover fair compensation for your work-related injuries. Call us today at (786) 375-0344 or visit our contact page for a free consultation.