American Passenger Killed after Inflatable Raft Capsized in the Arctic

An American woman traveling on an expedition cruise was killed after the inflatable raft capsized, sending all passengers on board into Arctic waters after the boat was struck by a wave. The specific cause of the woman's death is still under investigation. The cruise passengers were sightseeing near the 14th of July Glacier, and were all swept ashore after being thrown into the water. The ship is a part of a cruise line that promotes tours that give passengers the opportunity to see wildlife like polar bears and reindeer. There is no fixed itinerary, and the expedition staff on board select the route according to weather and sea conditions.

This recent tragedy follows a similar accident where a passenger died after the plane chartered for a day excursion crashed into a mountain. Maritime law requires carriers, or companies that are chartered to transport passengers, to use reasonable care and maintain a reasonable, safe means for a passenger to disembark. Carriers must render services in a way that gets the passenger safely ashore. Liability is also borne by the cruise line, as cruise ships are required to provide passengers with reasonable care under the circumstances. Expedition cruise ships, like the one navigating the Arctic described above, are required to apply that standard as they chart courses and plan tours based on weather and sea conditions. When these duties are breached and injury is caused by the breach, the at-fault carrier or cruise line is responsible for paying the damages incurred as a result of the accident. Damages can include medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages.

Passengers or family members of those who are injured or killed should quickly access the contract included with the ticket purchase. Tickets often have restrictions regarding where and when claims against the cruise line must be filed. Passengers onboard the ill-fated Costa Concordia cruise learned that they must file suit in Italy, even though the parent company, Carnival Cruise Lines, was based in Florida. Forum clauses also frequently include a deadline of when claims must be filed and which country's law will be applied in any decision regarding liability. This means that even when a passenger is American, the contract they signed when the ticket was purchased may limit the amount of relief available.

Injured cruise ship passengers or family members of deceased passengers face several roadblocks from cruise ship and excursion companies. Industry roadblocks have long-existed to insulate companies from liability. The Washington Cruise Ship Accident attorneys John Merriam and Gordon Webb have over 50 years of combined experience litigating personal injury accidents that occur on cruise ships. They work tirelessly to pursue every legal avenue available to find you the compensation you deserve. If you have been injured while on a cruise ship or during a day excursion offered as part of your cruise, contact our office for a free, confidential consultation at 877.800.1007 today.

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