Are Cruise Ship Workers Protected by Maritime Law?
Last week, we wrote about how a cruise ship employee died during a safety drill on the Harmony of the Seas, which is the world’s largest cruise ship. At the time, the ship was docked in France. Due to the fact the accident took place in another country, some may be confused about what the rights of cruise ship crewmembers are while they are abroad.
More often than not, we hear more about the injuries and safety of cruise ship passengers. However, cruise ship workers are still vulnerable to negligence that can cause injuries and even death. Typical cruise ship crewmember injuries include:
- Disk-related back injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Amputation injuries
- Exposure to illnesses, such as the noro virus
Injured Cruise Ship Crewmembers Must Consult a Maritime Attorney
Usually, when a cruise ship worker sustains and injuries, the cruise line throws mounds of paperwork at the employee to fill out. Buried in this mound of paperwork is normally a liability release that would allow the cruise line to get away with not paying damages for the injured crewmember’s medical bills, emotional trauma damages and lost wages. As an injured maritime worker, it is extremely important for you to consult with a maritime attorney before you sign anything. An attorney can make sure you’re not accidentally signing away your rights to compensation following a cruise ship injury.
When a maritime worker is injured in U.S. navigable waters, they are protected by the Jones Act. However, if a cruise ship worker becomes injured, the laws that protect them become more confusing because most cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean and Carnival, are incorporated in foreign countries. Ships that are registered and fly their flags in foreign countries, such as Panama, the Bahamas or Bermuda, avoid all U.S. federal labor laws and safety regulations. This means typical maritime laws may or may not protect injured cruise ship crewmembers, depending on where their cruise line is incorporated. A maritime attorney can help determine if you are protected under U.S. maritime law.
Latti & Anderson LLP is a maritime injury law firm that fights for those injured at sea. We fight to ensure injured maritime workers are aware of their rights and have what they need to recover.