According to a news report, a jury in Seattle recently awarded a man from Illinois $21.5 million in damages as a result of injuries he suffered while taking a cruise around the world with his wife and daughter. At the trial, the 61-year-old man alleged that one of the ship’s automatic sliding glass doors closed on his face and head due to problematic motion sensors, causing him to suffer an injury to his brain. As a result, he is now plagued by seizures, vertigo, and memory loss.
After the accident, a doctor on board the ship diagnosed the man with a concussion. However, tests later revealed that the man suffered more serious head injuries. Because of his injuries, the passenger struggles to perform previously routine tasks and was forced to sell his retail business.
At the trial, the man’s attorney offered evidence of 16 other incidents involving sliding doors on the cruise line’s ships over the last three years. The cruise line denied that allegation. The lawyer for the Illinois man also alleged that the cruise line withheld documentation relating to nearly 35 incidents involving automatic sliding doors on its ships, but the judge would not allow the lawyer to discuss the majority of those cases in front of the jury.
Common Carriers May Be Liable For Passenger Injuries
When most travelers buy tickets for a cruise, they look forward to swimming, sun-tanning, and shopping. They may even have images of Disney characters and unlimited amounts of food. If they allow themselves to think at all about something bad happening during their cruise, they may harbor thoughts of getting sea sick, coming down with some sort of stomach bug, or, in the absolute worst case, the ship running aground and having to be ferried to shore.
Any of these scenarios would no doubt ruin a passenger’s vacation, and some may even give rise to a possible boat accident lawsuit against the cruise line. But there are other, less obvious reasons that a cruise might take a turn for the worse and, in some cases, even cause permanent injury to a passenger.
Cruise lines and other common carriers owe a duty of reasonable care to passengers vacationing on their ships. By reasonable care, it is meant that cruise lines must act reasonably to provide passengers with a safe travel experience.
To meet this standard, cruise lines are required to regularly inspect their ships and repair any dangerous conditions known to exist on board. The duty encompasses ensuring that mechanical devices, like elevators, escalators, and automatic doors, are functioning properly and safely, and that floors, especially near pools and bars, are kept clean and dry to prevent a notorious “slip and fall.” Restaurants, malls, supermarkets, and retail stores all owe their customers the same type of reasonable care on their premises.
In Illinois, if a cruise line fails to take these steps, it is called negligence. If the cruise line’s negligence causes an injury to a passenger, the passenger may be entitled to recover compensation for monetary losses associated with his or her injuries, as well as for pain and suffering.
Have You Been Injured On a Cruise Ship or Other Common Carrier?
At Moll Law Group, we hope that your vacations are everything you dream they can be. Our lawyers are committed to helping improve the safety of all modes of transportation, including common carriers like cruise lines. But sometimes, no matter how much we do to improve the overall safety of the nation’s boats, planes, and buses, passengers are injured because of a carrier’s failure to maintain a safe travel environment. If you have been on a vacation and came home worse off than when you left, you may be entitled to recover for damages. With our experience and knowledge, we can help determine if your injuries are the result of someone else’s negligence and if you are entitled to compensation for your out-of-pocket expenses and pain and suffering. For a free consultation, call Moll Law Group at (312) 462-1700.
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