Many times, there are dangers associated with the shore excursions unknown to the passengers, which could include dangers created by the shore excursion company due to poor safety practices, or dangers created by the areas the shore side excursion companies take their passengers to. In a recent case in the Southern District of Florida, a passenger was injured while participating in a zip-line shore excursion in the Dominica. During the zip-line activity, the passenger was seriously injured when she crashed into padding attached to a tree.
The passenger filed suit in the Southern District of Florida and alleged the various theories of liability in an attempt to hold the cruise ship company liable, including the argument that the company was negligent in failing to keep the zip-line in a safe condition, and that the dangerous condition that caused the accident established that it was a company that did not comply with safety regulations that applied to the type of activity involved. The argument being that the cruise ship company knew or should have known of this fact, and therefore should not have sold the ticket for this particular excursion, and that the cruise line should have warned the passengers about the unsafe operation of the zip-line activity.
In the decision, the court quoted testimony from the cruise line which discussed the reasons for selecting this particular company. The cruise line stated that the company worked with other cruise ship companies, it had been in business for some time, and that they were unaware of any prior accidents similar to what happened to the passenger in this particular case. The court concluded, based on the evidence, that there was no reason for the cruise ship company to have known of any dangers associated with the zip-line operation, and that the cruise ship company reasonably relied upon the history of this company operating the zip-line activity and the lack of prior accidents. The court rejected the argument that there was a known danger that the cruise ship companies should have warned about. The court also rejected all the other theories of apparent agency, joint venture, negligent hiring and negligent retention.
Accordingly, the court dismissed the case with prejudice, leaving the passenger with only a right to appeal the decision, but receiving no recovery against the cruise ship company for the serious accident during the zip line shore excursion activity. The name of the case is Ceithaml vs. Celebrity Cruises.
Our firm is currently handling a very serious accident that occurred during a shore excursion when a bus was driven off a mountain road and turned on its side, causing serious personal injuries. In this particular case, the cruise ship company sold the excursion with the normal recommendations and representations, even though the company had a previous criminal conviction against it for poor maintenance and operation of the bus, which is exactly what happened in this particular accident as well. This should be a case where the court will recognize that the cruise ship company knew about unsafe practices with this particular shore side excursion company they were promoting and selling, and allow the passengers’ case to proceed forward on a negligent hiring and negligent retention theory. They should also be able to proceed on a negligent failure to warn theory, as well as a negligent misrepresentation theory.
Our firm has been handling injuries to passengers and crew members all over the world who have been injured on ships, as well as injured on personal watercraft at sea. We exclusively handle maritime cases.