Royal Caribbean Sued by Passenger for Injuries Sustained in Zip Line Excursion

Degloving Injury Royal Caribbean Zip Line Accident.jpgThe cruise passenger injury lawyers of Brais Brais & Rusak have filed lawsuit on behalf of a Texas woman against Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and a Honduran shore excursion operator for injuries sustained while participating in a zip-line excursion offered, advertised and marketed by the cruise line on its website.

The Complaint alleges that on the morning of September 3, 2015, our client paid for and participated in a Royal Caribbean advertised zip lining excursion offered by MC Tours at Roatan, Honduras. While zip lining from one platform to the other, our client followed the safety briefing by crossing her legs and lifting them as high as she could. Court papers assert that because there was too much slack in the line, when our client reached the other platform she violently struck her legs on to the front of the platform suffering severe injuries. The platform consisted of essentially a sheet of unpadded wood. Upon impact, the exposed wooden platform ripped the skin off her lower legs leaving bone, tendons and muscle exposed. Our client had open wounds on both lower legs, soft tissue loss measuring 18 x 32 cm on the left leg and 14 x 7 cm on the right leg. She underwent 11 operations consisting of incision, debridement and drainage procedures with wound vac exchanges and eventually skin grafts from skin taken from her left thigh.

The negligence claim against Royal Caribbean alleges that the cruise line was negligent for failing to warn the passenger of the dangerous condition of the zip line excursion including that the platform was not equipped with appropriate padding. The cruise line is also alleged to have been negligent in its selection and retention of the zip line excursion given that there are believed to be prior reports of safety issues with the zip line excursion. Other theories of liability asserted against the cruise line are apparent agency, joint venture and negligent misrepresentation. The case is currently pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Most passengers rely on the cruise lines to vet the excursion operators and believe that because the excursions are affiliated with the cruise lines they are safer and adhere to the highest safety standards. In most cases, passengers never deal with the excursion operators until the day of the excursion and even then, many do not realize the cruise line does not operate the excursion. While cruise lines often reject any responsibility for the negligence of alleged independent contractors despite earning substantial profits from them, the law recognizes that cruise ships have a continuing obligation of care for their passengers and the duty to warn extends “beyond the port” to place[s] where the passenger is invited to, or reasonably may be expected to visit.” See Carlisle v. Ulysses Line Ltd., SA, 475 So. 2d 248 (Fla. 3d DCA 1985).

Accordingly, where a cruise line knew or should have known of a dangerous condition, not apparent and obvious to the passenger, it has a duty to warn its passengers of such condition. Furthermore, the law imposes a duty upon cruise lines offering excursion packages to its passengers to vet their recommended excursion operators and stop offering such excursions with operators the cruise lines knew or should have known to by unreasonably dangerous.