Are cruise line companies responsible for sexual assaults committed on their ships? Because cruise ships are one of the few places that have no police officers or any other law enforcement figure within a car ride away, they need to take special precautions to ensure that their passengers are safe.
Does the cruise ship hold any responsibility and can they be sued for physical and emotional injuries? There is no clear-cut answer, but how liable the company is depends on the answers to several questions:
1. Was the ship well lit and were passengers provided with adequate and properly functioning locks on their cabin doors?
2. Was the ship adequately staffed with personnel and security guards?
3. Were ship employees well screened with thorough background checks? The victim on the Disney cruise followed the assailant because she thought he was a security guard. In this case she was mistaken, but according to Cruise Line News, sexual assault by crew members are not uncommon and ships rarely report crimes involving their crew, potentially making them more liable in the future.
4. Did the cruise ship have previous knowledge that a particular passenger was causing trouble or was dangerous, either through passenger complaints or from a prior incident on that cruise? If so, were any steps taken to prevent any future incidences with this passenger?
The most important thing a sexual assault victim can do is seek immediate medical attention and report the crime to ship personnel. The FBI and U.S. Coast Guard should be contacted immediately. Once the victim is home, a legal expert can assist in providing information and compensation for injuries, both physical and emotional.
If you have any questions about an assault that took place on a cruise ship, Goldstein and Bashner can help you determine who is responsible and collect the damages you are owed. We have extensive experience in dealing with sexual assault cases and understand that sexual assault victims have serious emotional injuries in addition to physical injuries. If you or somebody you care for has been the victim of a sexual assault, please contact our lawyers today for a free case evaluation and to discuss any questions and concerns you have.