Local CBS News 4 reports on a settlement reached yesterday between Carnival cruise line and a passenger trying to exit from a tender boat.
Elizabeth Reimer of Texas sailed out of Galveston to the Caribbean. When the cruise ship reached Grand Cayman, the cruise ship ferried passengers to and from the port via tender boats operated by a local company. Ms. Reimer was seriously injured when she fell trying to exit from a tender boat to the dock. The vessel moved away from the dock and her leg fell into the gap, breaking her tibia.
Cruise lines have a duty to safely transport cruise passengers to and from port. In many ports, the local docks can not accommodate large cruise ships and have to bring the passenger to and from the port via tender boats. The process is called "tendering."
Some cruise lines carry their own tender boats on the side of the cruise ships. Other cruise lines use local companies at the cruise port to tender the passengers.
Many accidents occur when the tender is not safely secured to the cruise ship or the dock. Some accidents occur because there is insufficient assistance provided by the cruise lines to elderly passengers trying to get ashore from the tenders. Other accidents occur during rough weather. Accidents occur on floating docks after the passenger get off of the tenders.
Some cruise lines try and deny liability for tender accidents, claiming that it is the responsibility of the tender companies or the local port facility. But there is a clear legal obligation of the cruise line in these type of situations. Indeed, there are cases indicating that cruise line have a duty of exercising a "high degree of care" for their passengers in safely transporting passenger to and from the cruise ships.
Ms. Reimer (who was represented by another lawyer in Miami) ended up settling her case for $125,000. The unusual thing about her case was that Carnival agreed to give her a 2 for 1 cruise certificate as a part of the settlement deal. It is our experience that the last thing an injured passenger wants is to cruise again. The cruise line often views the passenger as a liability and doesn’t want them back as a customer in the future. We have even handled cases where the cruise line insists that the passenger agree to never sail with them as a condition of the settlement.
The other unusual thing about this settlement is that there was no confidentiality provision. (Even the amount of the settlement was disclosed). So the video below was aired on the local CBS affiliate in Miami, CBS News 4:
Photo credit: beans-around-the-world.com
Video credit: CBS News 4 (Miami)