$2.5 Million Maritime Verdict for Cruise Ship Employee

We are proud to hold one of the top commercial litigation practices in the country.


As one of the nation’s leading injury litigation firms, Colson Hicks Eidson has represented many landmark personal injury cases of national and international significance. As a result of our reputation for success, our attorneys have been appointed as lead co-counsel on national multidistrict litigation cases, including those involving Ford-Firestone tire defects and the 2010 BP oil spill.

We have obtained numerous multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts for our clients, including maritime and cruise ship injury victims. In one such case, a cruise ship injury lawyer from our law firm represented a crewmember who sustained serious, debilitating injuries when he was attacked by another employee. Our attorneys obtained a verdict of $2.5 million from Celebrity Cruises for cruise line negligence and recklessness, as well as violations of maritime law.

All cruise lines must ensure that their passengers and employees are safe from the risk of serious injuries. If you suffered injuries while aboard a cruise ship, and you believe that a cruise line failed in their duty to protect you from harm, you may be entitled to a recovery for your damages. Many of these accidents occur in international waters and ports, which can complicate your claim. However, our cruise ship accident attorneys have successfully assisted many victims of cruise line negligence both in Florida and worldwide. We understand international maritime laws and have secured substantial victories as a result. Our lawyers represent clients hurt by the carelessness of another crewmember, passenger or cruise line. We also assist in passenger disappearances and injuries on a shore excursion.


Over the past 40 years, the attorneys at Colson Hicks Eidson have established a reputation for representing injury victims in cases against some of the largest, most powerful cruise lines in the world. We have litigated many cases against companies like Carnival Cruises and Celebrity Cruises as plaintiff’s counsel for both passengers and crewmembers. Our clients include those who sustained injuries in onboard cruise ship accidents as well as victims of shore excursion accidents, falls overboard and capsizing.

In one international case, our attorneys represented a client who worked as a chef aboard a Celebrity Cruises ship. At sea, our client began experiencing facial pain and severe headaches. The cruise line airlifted him to Santo Domingo, where surgeons implanted a pacemaker in an unnecessary surgery. As a result, our client experienced ongoing pain and disability. Our attorneys obtained a jury verdict of $1 million from the cruise line on behalf of our client.

Another case handled by our firm involved a victim of a severe diving injury in an onboard swimming pool. In this case, our client was paralyzed after diving into a shallow pool. Our attorneys argued that the pool lacked depth markers and “no diving” signs. We also demonstrated that the cruise line encouraged alcohol consumption, leading to our client’s intoxication and encouraging risky behavior. We settled this case for an undisclosed sum to the satisfaction of our client. Often, legal action in cases such as this spur change within the cruise ship industry, which routinely fails to enforce practical safety measures.


Cruise ship injuries may result from the negligence of anyone associated with the vessel, including the cruise line, equipment manufacturer, crewmembers and even fellow passengers. Some of the most common causes of cruise ship accidents and injuries include:

  • Improper ship maintenance
  • Defective equipment
  • Failure to adequately train crewmembers
  • Unsafe conditions, such as loose handrails, slipping hazards and more
  • Insufficient security
  • Assault
  • Lack of adequate safety equipment
  • Navigational errors, sometimes resulting in crashes or capsizing
  • Contaminated food
  • Onboard fires

In many cases, the cruise line can be held responsible for serious personal injuries and the wrongful deaths of passengers as well as employees. Sometimes multiple companies share interests in a single vessel, which may allow victims to recover from multiple sources. Additionally, other parties, such as parts manufacturers and individual passengers, may also share liability.

Cruise ships must abide by all maritime laws. These include the Death on the High Seas Act, the Jones Act and International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). Maritime regulations give these companies strict guidelines, which concern the handling of lifesaving equipment, regulating crew as well as navigation and control of the vessel. When cruise lines fail in this duty, passengers may have legal protection under the Shipping Act of 1984. Additionally, employees have rights under the Jones Act. Both laws allow maritime injury victims to seek compensation for their medical bills in addition to other injury-related expenses.


The cruise industry has come under incredible scrutiny for how they have handled the COVID-19 pandemic. Cruise ships were amongst the first major outbreak centers in the world after the outbreak in China. Evidence has emerged that cruise ship owners and operators knew that their passengers were at increased risk of contracting COVID-19, yet chose to continue operating as normal on board. Passengers, even those on ships that previously contained known COVID patients, played games, attended concerts, and ate at buffets. Thousands of passengers became ill, and many died due to COVID-19.

The team at Colson Hicks Edison is available to help those who were on a cruise ship that subsequently contracted COVID-19 and became seriously ill or catastrophically injured. The cruise lines made a choice to put profit over people, and they should be held liable for any negligent actions that caused illness or death on board.

Our nationally recognized firm also knows that the problem is not over. Recently, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced an extension of a “no-sail” order for cruise lines operating in US waters. However, this order will eventually be lifted, and cruises will again host thousands of passengers. But can we trust cruise lines to keep passengers safe in such confined quarters moving forward? There is still no treatment for COVID-19, and this virus will remain a major threat to passengers for the foreseeable future.

Moving forward, the team at Colson Hicks Eidson will be closely monitoring the actions of cruise lines. If cruise ship owners or operators fail to keep their passengers safe, we will not hesitate to hold them accountable

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At Colson Hicks Eidson, we are committed to providing our clients with the best possible legal representation in litigation. With our experienced attorneys, in-depth knowledge of the law, and commitment to our clients’ success, we are the go-to firm for complex civil litigation matters. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.