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Cruise ship may have premises liability for slip and fall

Cruise lines are liable for negligent maintenance that leads to injuries to guests. Generally, the claim against a cruise ship for damages from a slip-and-fall accident will follow the same principles and procedures of a premises liability claim that occurs on land. This means that where a passenger slips and falls on a sticky but hard-to-perceive surface in the ship, she may collect damages if she prevails, just like in any similar tort case that occurs on land, including here in New Hampshire.

That fact was exemplified recently when a woman sued Carnival Corporation, d/b/a Carnival Cruise Lines, for damages she suffered from a fractured ankle that she received on Aug. 20 while on a cruise. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court where the cruise lines are available for service. She alleges in the complaint that she slipped and fell on a wet stairway located near a Jacuzzi and sustained the fracture.

The claim of negligence is that the cruise line should have protected its guests by putting a slip-resistant material on the slippery parts of the stairs. She claims alternatively that the defendant could have had employees monitor and clean the surface of all water. It is also alleged that, barring any other measures, that the company had a duty to the customer to post a conspicuous warning at the location.

In a premises liability claim made in New Hampshire or elsewhere, the essence of the negligence is that the owner allowed an unreasonably dangerous condition to exist with knowledge or imputed knowledge of its existence. In a case like the present one, the owner has a duty not only to repair and make safe any known dangers, but it must go out and make reasonable inspections for dangerous conditions. Where a dangerous condition has gone unattended and no inspection was made to find it, knowledge of it will be attributed to the owner where the owner should reasonably have known of the danger. An owner may escape liability by posting a conspicuous warning of the specific danger at the site.


Source:, "Woman blames Carnival Cruise Lines for slip-and-fall injury", Wadi Reformado, Dec. 22, 2016

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