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A passenger aboard one of Princess Cruises' ships is suing over a disgusting injury that occurred in the ship's public bathroom. The lawsuit, which is, at its heart, the result of a slip and fall, claims the cruise company is responsible for the injuries the plaintiff suffered.
The passenger, who was on a vacation with her husband, went to use the public restroom while the ship was docked for repairs to its sewage system. When she reached the bathroom, she discovered that the toilet was overflowing with sewage. Before she could leave, she slipped and fell on the sewage, struck her face on the door, and was knocked unconscious on the disgusting bathroom floor.
Premises Liability and Maritime Law
A cruise ship company will generally be liable to its guests and passengers for injuries the guests sustain that are a result of negligence when the operator knew or should have known about the dangerous condition. However, whereas most other injury cases would be handled according to state law, cruise ships and operators fall under a different set of laws known as maritime laws. When an injury or conflict giving rise to a legal claim occurs on the high seas, it will be governed by maritime law and handled in the federal court system.
Limitations on Liability
Frequently, cruise ship operators will require passengers to agree to release their rights on their liability for injuries, or loss or damage to goods. Sometimes, the operators even sneak their releases and limitation of liability onto the back of the cruise ticket.
While not all releases and limitations will be deemed enforceable, some may be. Additionally, some operators may require passengers to willingly cut short their statute of limitations for all claims. While maritime law generally provides three years to file an injury claim, operators frequently sneak in 12 month (or shorter) notice requirements that effectively shorten the claim period.