Cruise ships have been in the news frequently lately, because of some very bad experiences they have been providing to passengers. At the end of August, news was released that three upscale cruise ships had recently failed their CDC inspections because of poor record keeping and food handling, storage and debris violations, and other issues. The CDC typically conducts two surprise inspections per year.

Although most passengers on cruises have a great time and enjoy their experiences, some recent well-publicized problems on cruise lines have made travelers hesitant to take a cruise. Some of the problems include:

–          Crimes aboard cruise ships – probably the most well-known of which is the suspected murder of a newlywed in 2005 in the Mediterranean;

–          In 2010, a fire aboard a cruise ship stranded passengers off the coast of Mexico for several days without air conditioning or hot showers;

–          In 2012, a cruise ship in Italy ran aground and partially sank, killing 32 people;

–          Earlier this year, an engine fire aboard a cruise ship caused power outages, overflowing toilets and food shortages and had to be towed to shore;

–          Another ship on the same cruise line had propulsion system problems earlier this year;

–          A third cruise ship on the same cruise line lost power and some of its toilets stopped working; and

–          In March of this year, there were three separate outbreaks of norovirus on cruises.

Obviously, these problems are not common, but they do occur. Cruise ships operate with low paid staff that work long hours under stressful conditions, and problems can occur as a result. In addition, in any situation in which hundreds or thousands of people are in a confined space, problems can occur.

By law, cruise ships are considered “common carriers”, which means they transport people in exchange for a fee. Planes, taxis, buses, subways, and other forms of transportation are also considered common carriers. Under law, common carriers are expected to exercise the highest degree of care and diligence in protecting the safety of their passengers. If they fail to do so, they can be held legally responsible.

If you take a cruise, and your cruise ship fails to exercise a high degree of care in transporting you to your destination, and you are injured as a result, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. You may consider filing a lawsuit under state or federal law. In some cases, however, it may be best to seek compensation directly from the cruise line rather than through the courts if you were not injured but merely inconvenienced.

At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that cruises should make every effort to provide their passengers with a safe voyage, and if they fail to do so they should be held legally responsible. If you have been injured or sickened aboard a cruise ship, call Micha Star Liberty, San Francisco personal injury attorney. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Micha Star Liberty works with clients in the San Francisco area, including Oakland, Tracy, Hayward, Berkeley and Fairfield. Call her today at 415-896-1000 or 510-645-1000. She is happy to give you a free consultation on your case.

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