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Kenneth J. Annis & Associates

Cruise Ship Injury

Cruises are usually fun vacations that people look forward to for months or even year. However, not every cruise ends up being the wonderful vacation that you are hoping it will be. Sometimes people are injured on a cruise ship, anywhere from a small injury like a bruise to a much more serious life threatening injury. Many times, the cruise company may be liable for the injuries that you have depending on the circumstances.

Premises Liability Premises liability is a legal concept that requires places that are open to the public (or paying customers like a cruise ship), must be reasonably safe for the purposes that it is used for. Whether or not a cruise line is liable for a cruise ship injury depends on the circumstances of the injury. Cruise lines are generally liable for any injuries that are the fault of their own negligence.

Negligence is another legal concept which indicates that a person or business was not operating in a way that a reasonable person or business would under the circumstances. Negligence only exists when there is a duty owed. In the case of a cruise ship, the cruise line owes its passengers a duty of safety. Negligence is when the entity breaches the duty that they owe. In this case it would be that the cruise ship was not as it safe as it should be under the circumstances. If a cruise ship injury is caused by the negligence of the cruise line, then the cruise line will probably be liable for any damages that stem from that injury.

Examples of Negligence Negligence can be a confusing concept, but hopefully these examples will help make the distinction clear.

  • Slip and fall on a puddle – Let’s say someone slips on a puddle on the deck of the cruise ship and falls. With only those facts it is impossible to know whether there was negligence or not. What you need to know is how, when, and why the puddle formed. For example, if the puddle was formed when a passenger a few steps ahead of the injured person accidentally and unknowingly spilled some water, it is probably not negligence because the cruise line had no reason to know about the puddle. However, if a customer spilled a drink two hours ago and several passengers complained to cruise ship employees about it and they still did not do anything about it, that is probably negligence. Similarly, if there was some defect in the deck that caused water to puddle in a certain common area, we would need to know whether the cruise line knew or should have known about the defect.
  • Injured on an excursion – Many cruises offer excursions for passengers where they go off of the boat and engage in activities. Whether the cruise line is liable will often be related to whether the cruise line is actually providing the excursion, and whether there was negligence. With some activities, there is an inherent risk of injury, such as with water skiing. However, if the cruise line is running the excursion themselves and the accident was caused by negligence, such as a drunk boat driver for water skiing, the cruise line may be liable.

Washington DC, Virginia, and Maryland Cruise Ship Injury Attorneys If you are injured on a cruise ship, it is important that you talk to a knowledgeable personal injury attorney as soon as possible to help you with any claims you may have. Our experienced cruise ship injury attorneys at Kenneth J. Annis and Associates cover the Washington DC, Virginia, and Maryland area. Contact us today.


1100 Connecticut Ave NW #645
Washington, DC 20036

Phone: 202-785-2244
Fax: 202-785-8181


We serve the following localities: Washington DC; Baltimore; Anne Arundel County including Annapolis and Glen Burnie; Prince George's County including Upper Marlboro, Hyattsville, and Bowie; Carroll County including Westminster and Eldersburg; and Montgomery County including Rockville, Germantown, and Bethesda.