Cruise lines make significant efforts to keep their passengers happy (sometimes at the expense of their employees), but when a passenger is injured, the cruise line's attitude can change, according to a lawyer who represents cruise-line passengers and employees.
If, as a passenger, you slip and fall or are assaulted, the cruise line is no longer your friend, Michael Winkleman, a maritime lawyer for Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina, and Winkleman, told Business Insider.
"Anytime anything bad happens, the cruise lines go into adversarial mode," he said. "All they're looking to do is protect themselves. They're not really concerned about protecting you or helping you."
The Cruise Lines International Association did not respond to Business Insider's request for comment.
When a passenger is injured, one of the ship's security officers will take a statement from the passenger using questions that could help the cruise line defend itself in court, Winkleman said. The officer may, for example, ask what the passenger could have done to avoid the incident that led to the injury. But shortly after being injured, a person is not in the right state of mind to defend his or her interests when being questioned, Winkleman said.
If a passenger sues a cruise line, the cruise line will ensure that case is tried in a federal court, which will require a higher standard of evidence and often have a stricter judge than a state court, Winkleman said.
"The deck is certainly stacked against the average person who gets hurt when you're going up against a cruise line," he said.
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