Have you ever been on a cruise? Many Australians enjoy taking holidays on a cruise ship, but sometimes that enjoyment can be interrupted by an injury. In this article Richard Faulks talks about what options you might have in terms of compensation if you are injured during your cruise.

The contract

When you arrange your cruise trip, you enter into a contract with the cruise company. That contract, which is often only available online, sets out any restrictions in terms of liability if an injury occurs. These terms are sometimes called ‘exclusion clauses’. The contract is also likely to specify which law will apply to any action that may be brought. This will most likely be the law of the state or territory where the cruise embarks from.

When might compensation be payable?

In many cases, there will be certain implied terms in the contract that apply to the cruise. These statutory guarantees are generally implied by the Australian Consumer Law, which would apply where the business providing the cruise is a corporation that is trading in Australia.
Those implied guarantees are important because they’ll generally not be excluded by any clause in the contract (exclusion clauses). Those terms mean that the company providing the cruise must behave reasonably and provide a proper product or service.
In addition, if the injury arises out of a breach of duty of care by the company or its employees, that may give rise to an action in negligence.
In either case, it will be necessary to show that the injury occurred, not simply because of an unexpected accident, but because there was some failing on the part of the cruise company.

What should I do if I’m on a cruise and suffer an injury?

If you are injured during your cruise, you should first make sure that the incident is reported to someone in authority. If an incident report is prepared, which it should be, it’s important to obtain a copy.
In most cases there will be CCTV footage of the incident. You should request a copy of that footage or information about where it can be obtained. As with any injury, you should seek medical help immediately. You should also get copies any medical records relating to the injury or treatment.
If possible, you should also take photographs of the place where the incident occurred. It’s also important to keep a diary or record relating to the incident and any discussions held after it. All of this information may help in any subsequent claim.

What type of compensation might I recover?

Although it’s a complex legal question, the law relating to damages or compensation that will apply will be the law applicable to the contract, which is likely to be the place where the cruise left from.
Although it’s not without some uncertainty, it’s probable that if that particular state or territory has a law that limits the damages recoverable in a civil action, that law will apply to the claim relating to the cruise ship injury. In other words, if, for example, the law of New South Wales was the applicable law, the restrictions that apply to civil liability in that state would likely apply to any claim for injury, either in contract or for breach of duty of care.

How can we help?

In any situation where you’ve been injured, you should seek legal advice about the options available to you. Our Personal Injury team can advise you about any potential claim for compensation you may have. To find out more contact us on 02 6285 8000 or by email.

*The content of this article is provided for information purposes only, and we do not accept any liability for reliance upon the information contained in this article.  This information cannot be relied upon as legal advice.