Home Cruise Safely Cruise Ship Pool Deck: How Slippery is Too Slippery?

Cruise Pool Deck

By Hon. Thomas A. Dickerson of eturbonews.com

A substantial number of accidents aboard cruise ships involve slips, trips and falls on liquids including spilled beverages and rainwater on pool decks and elsewhere [see Dickerson, Travel Law, Section 3.03 (2015)].

Should a lawsuit be filed by an injured passenger alleging that the cruise line was negligent, what must be proven? As noted by the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Sorrels v. NCL (Bahamas) Ltd, 2015 WL 4619887 (11th Cir. 2015), a slip and fall case, the presentation of expert testimony regarding the “coefficient of friction” of the surface slipped on may be helpful.

In the Sorrels case, the Court noted that “In the early morning hours of April 14, 2012, Mrs. Sorrels exited the lounge of the Norwegian Sky, and made her way onto one of the adjacent exterior pool decks. The deck was wet from rain. After walking approximately 100 feet on the deck, Mrs. Sorrels slipped and fractured her wrist. Mr. And Mrs. Sorrels (the Plaintiffs) sued NCL for negligence under maritime law, which governs the liability of a cruise ship for a passenger’s slip and fall”.

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