A Beginner’s Guide to File Cruise Ship Overboard Lawsuit in 2024

Since 2000, about 284 people have fallen off cruise ships, while  41 have fallen from large ferries. That means an average of about 1.5 people per month. If you have suffered from an injury or your loved one has died due to a cruise ship overboard, filing a cruise ship overboard lawsuit can help you recover the losses and damages you incurred.

A report published by the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association showed that 92% of people who vacation at sea would book another cruise, while 65% said they consider cruising to be one of the best forms of vacation. With all these positive customer experiences, it is not surprising that the demand for cruise vacations has increased by more than 20% over the past five years.

Cruise ship overboard statistics

Since 1995, hundreds of individuals have fallen overboard from cruise ships and ferry liners, both passengers and crew members. Per data provided by a Sociology Professor and cruise expert, the passenger and crew overboard accident and disappearance rates for cruise ships and ferry liners are as follows:

  • The total number of overboard accidents to date is 268.
  • Twenty-five (25) individuals have gone overboard in 2015 alone – the highest recorded number of victims in history.
  • The average number of man overboard accidents and cruise ship disappearances per year is 12.8.
  • Only 16 of 74 people who have been documented falling overboard from cruise ships between February 2000 and May 2013 have survived.
  • Carnival Cruise Line has recorded 55 overboard accidents.
  • Royal Caribbean has recorded 39 overboard accidents.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line has recorded 20 overboard accidents.

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What you should do immediately after an accident

First things first: report your cruise ship overboard accidents and injuries to the cruise line as soon as possible, not only to receive a refund but also to have documented proof that the incident happened and that you reported it to authorities promptly. Keep a record of whom you speak to, what they said to you, and how the cruise line responded to your incident and injuries.

Unfortunately, injuries have steadily climbed over the same period. Injuries, which can arise from slips and falls, assaults, outright collisions, or even through the spread of bacteria and viruses, can ruin a vacation, resulting in physical and financial damages lasting a lifetime.

cruise ship overboard lawsuit

Common causes of cruise ship overboard accident

The usual reasons for overboard accidents among cruise ships are:

Acts of negligence, such as cruise ship overboard accidents, can lead to serious injuries, including broken bones, concussions, and internal organ damage.

Things to know before filing cruise ship overboard accident

In filing a lawsuit, check the restrictions, such as the deadlines to provide notice and ultimately file a cruise ship overboard lawsuit claim. These restrictions are buried in the fine print of a cruise ticket. Unfortunately,  most vacationers never read the information, which includes:

  • The passenger needs to provide written notice of a claim, including the facts giving rise to the injury, within 180 days.
  • cruise ship overboard lawsuit must be filed within one (1) year, or any claim will be forever barred. 
  • The passenger must file a lawsuit in specified location chosen by the cruise line regardless of where the passenger or the witnesses live. This location is usually in South Florida.
  • Most claims must be filed in federal court.

Failure to meet these deadlines will result in a claim being denied and any subsequent lawsuit being thrown out of court. Therefore, it is imperative that injured passengers meet with an experienced cruise ship overhead lawyer who can help navigate them through these and other strict rules for bringing a maritime claim.

One of the most mysterious cruise ship overboard accidents

On January 3, 2014, a mysterious accident happened aboard the Holland America cruise ship Veendam when an 88-year-old woman allegedly went overboard while sailing off the coast of Mexico. Passengers shared their curiosity on social media, with some saying the women died by suicide. Unfortunately, No one from the authorities was keen to share any information with the public.

But what happened?

According to news reports, the incident was ruled non-suspicious. This leaves us with intentional or accidental death. This is the piece of the puzzle we have yet to uncover. In essentially all of these “man overboard” cases, the cruise lines in control of the information report that the “man overboard” intentionally went overboard.

However, few witnesses claim that they saw the elderly woman standing outside her balcony stateroom, leaning over the balcony with her arms extended outward. Perhaps she slipped while standing on the rail and trying to reposition herself and then fell into the ocean? Though crew members allegedly stopped the ship and turned it around right away, it was too late. Lifeboats were sent to check out the victim, but by the time her body was recovered, she could not be revived.

Clearly,  there is more to this story than meets the eye. However, in the cruise industry, secrecy is kept perfectly.

Statute of limitation

Cruise ship overboard lawsuit are often subject to a one-year statute of limitations. This means that a cause of action must commence within one year from the accident; otherwise, the injured passenger or the next-of-kin of the deceased loses their right to pursue compensation.

If you experienced an injury on a cruise ship or while under their care or supervision, it is best to contact trusted cruise ship overboard lawyers well before this statute expires. Although the one-year statute of limitations requires action within 365 days for compensation, it’s recommended to report your accident as soon as possible for a chance at getting a full refund or max compensation. For example, with Carnival Cruise Lines, cruise passengers can acquire a full refund within 24 hours of departure.

Report your accident and injuries to the cruise line as soon as possible, not only to receive a refund but also to have documented proof that the incident happened and that you reported it to authorities promptly. In addition, you also need to have a proper record of whom you spoke to, what they said to you, and how the cruise line responded to your incident and injuries.

Why choose Ethen Ostroff Law?

Ethen Ostroff Law offers a user-friendly platform for helping people get maximum compensation from the cruise line. With help from our colleagues and networks, we can help you get access to the top lawyers to get a fair settlement out of a cruise ship overboard accident without any hassle. 

What are you waiting for? Contact Ethen Ostroff Law now at 610-510-8883 ( by calling this number, you consent to receive SMS updates from Ethen Ostroff Law) or Submit Form to get free consultation.

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