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Determining liability in cruise ship accidents

Going on a cruise is a dream vacation for most people. But not every cruise trip turns out the way you imagine. Sometimes there are unforeseen circumstances or downright negligent circumstances that cause serious injuries to innocent passengers or even cruise ship workers.

There are a few things to note about cruise ships whether you are a passenger or a worker. The first is that cruise ships are considered "common carriers." What this means is that an individual or company is transporting people or goods on set routes. Common carriers must have safe premises and they must use the highest safety measures possible to ensure the safe transport of people. However, common carriers are not held to strict liability laws -- meaning that any injured victim would have to prove the intent or negligence of a common carrier in a lawsuit.

It is also important to note that if you are a passenger, the ticket that you purchase and use to get on the cruise ship is actually a legal contract. There will be a set of terms and conditions on the back of your ticket, and you should read these terms very carefully.

Determining liability in cruise ship accidents is tricky. The defining factor is whether or not a "reasonably careful ship operator" would have been unaware of the dangerous condition or negligence.  If the answer is yes, then it will be difficult to prove your case -- or to even have a case. If the answer is no, then you could have a case.

Source: FindLaw, "Cruise Ship Accidents and Liability," Accessed Oct. 31, 2016

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