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Court Finds in Favor of Plaintiff in Florida Cruise Ship Lawsuit

A Florida appellate court recently issued an opinion in a lawsuit stemming from head injuries a three-year-old girl suffered after falling through a guard rail on a cruise ship. Evidently, the girl’s mother filed a lawsuit against the cruise line, claiming that it was liable for the negligent creation and maintenance of the guard rail, and its failure to warn of the danger. The trial court found in favor of the defendant, reasoning that there was no evidence that the cruise ship had actual notice of the specific alleged risk-creating conditions.

The plaintiff appealed on several issues, including a claim that there was a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether the defendant should have known that children could climb through the guard rail and fall. The record indicated that there were questions of fact regarding exactly how the girl fell; however, the complaint stated that the guard rail posed a risk of falling to children because children could pass or climb through a gap in the rails and fall to a lower deck. On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the lower court failed to view the evidence in a light most favorable to the plaintiff, which it must do in a summary judgment motion.

Under the law, evidence that a cruise ship owner took corrective action can establish notice of a hazardous condition. Corrective actions include warnings to passengers about a danger that a situation poses. However, there must be a connection between the warning and the condition. In this case, a passenger testified that crew members conducted a safety drill at the beginning of the cruise, where they warned people not to climb up on the rails or sit on them. She also testified that crew members explained that there had been passengers that had fallen off.

The cruise ship company’s representative testified that the company equipped the cruise liner with guard rails to prevent people from getting from one side to the other. Moreover, an ineffective guardrail is dangerous, and a child that can get through a wide space may suffer the obvious danger of falling. Finally, the representative testified that the company knew that the deck’s guard rail was climbable. Considering this, the court held that a reasonable jury could infer that the defendant knew of the dangers of the railings. Ultimately, the appellate court concluded that the trial court erred in finding in favor of the defendant.

Have You Suffered Injuries on a Cruise Ship?

If you or someone you know has suffered injuries in a Florida cruise ship accident, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Robert Dixon. The attorneys at our law firm provide clients with free consultations to discuss their injury cases. We have a history of providing clients with top-notch representation, often resulting in substantial compensation being awarded to our clients. We understand how daunting these types of lawsuits can be, and take every step to ease the burdens associated with the process. We do not collect any fees or costs unless we can recover compensation on your behalf. Contact our office at 877-499-4878 to schedule a consultation with an attorney at our firm.

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