Causes of injuries on cruises
On the cruise ship two types of persons can be injured, paying passengers or crew members. Both types of injured persons may have different legal claims. The claims can vary based on the types of injuries suffered, persons responsible for the injuries and the law applicable to claims. Some examples of claims are negligence, medical negligence or assault. In general, shipowners are responsible for the injuries of passengers or crew members, as the owners are obliged to provide a safe environment and protect people on board from known or foreseeable risks.
There may be situations where injuries are not caused by unsafe conditions on board, but by another person on board. These situations can be personal injuries or medical negligence. If a crew member assaults another passenger, the shipowner may be responsible, in some jurisdictions, for the actions of their employees. In other jurisdictions, the shipowner may not be responsible for the actions of the employees unless the claimant (injured party) can prove that the owner (employer) hired a dangerous crew member or knew about the likelihood of a crew member to commit violence and did not fire that crew member or try to prevent the violence.
Jurisdictions may also declare owners of ships responsible for the employment of incompetent doctors and medical personnel, but they cannot declare them responsible for the actions of their medical personnel when treating passengers. Some other courts may declare shipowners responsible for actions taken by all employees, no matter if they are crew members, doctors or other members of medical staff. Potential claims and responsible parties depend on the situation, the applicable law and the court hearing the complaint. Since many factors can affect the type of claims that an injured party can have or the juridiction that applies to the claim, it is important to talk to your lawyer about your situation.
Many crew members do not feel comfortable speaking out against their employer’s negligence because they are afraid of the consequences.
There have been cases of cruise lines persecuting and firing crew members because they complained of poor working conditions or because they claimed that their employer should change a certain policy due to an incident. Such behavior is not legal, and if you speak against the employer and experience retribution in return, an attorney can help you sue the employer.
In theory, working on a cruise ship sounds glamorous. You travel the world on a comfortable ocean liner and visit exotic destinations that you might not otherwise have seen. But anyone who has ever worked as a crew member on a cruise ship will testify that it is not as glamorous as it seems. Crew members usually work long hours for little pay and live in tight quarters.
You are a crew member, and you are responsible for many things. For example, the satisfaction of the guests as well as their security and safety. It is most helpful if you do not have to worry about whether the employer has best interests for you. While in employ, it is helpful to you know that if you ever get hurt during working hours, you will have the best treatment.
Crew members are exposed to dangerous working conditions, long hours, demanding supervisors and inadequate medical care. If you have been hurt as a crew member, you are entitled to the so called “Maintenance” and “Cure” benefits. You can also sue the cruise company for negligence, for their failure to provide timely, proper and suitable medical care, as well as for unseaworthiness.
Many crew members suffer injuries after working as waiters or porters for many years. These injuries are commonly referred to as "cumulative trauma disorder" (“CTD"). These types of injuries occur often after years of lifting heavy services trays. They can manifest as arthritis or degenerative conditions.