What Happens If Someone Dies While on a Cruise?

Cowen Edwards team of Florida accident lawyers will be there to help you after any injury on a cruise ship. While there’s a wide range of potential accidents, the most serious of them can cause fatal injuries. So, the question then becomes, what happens? Clearly, there’s legal mechanisms in place for this unfortunate situation. To learn more about your options, contact us today for a free consultation.

How is a Fatal Accident Handled on a Cruise?

When you book a cruise, the last thing you expect is to get into an accident, let alone deal with a fatal injury of your loved one. At the same time, these incidents aren’t unheard of–particularly in the context of a cruise ship. In fact, there’s a number of different things that can lead to fatal injuries on these ships:

  • Medical emergencies – Despite medical facilities onboard, some emergencies may lead to death if not promptly treated or if the necessary equipment or expertise is lacking.

  • Drownings – Accidents like falling overboard or mishaps during water activities can result in drownings.

  • Accidents on shore – While not on the ship, accidents during off-ship activities like transportation incidents or drownings on beaches can still happen.

  • Collisions – Though uncommon, collisions with other vessels or objects can occur, potentially causing fatalities if passengers or crew are injured in the impact.

  • Fires – Even with safety measures, fires can happen due to reasons like electrical faults or cooking mishaps, causing fatalities from smoke, burns, or structural damage.

Every cruise line responds to these accidents differently, and yet all of them likely have certain procedures in place to deal with a fatal accident. Most ships have areas where remains can be kept until the local authorities can investigate what happened and take over the process of transmitting the remains.

Should You Do Anything Differently When There’s a Fatal Accident on a Cruise?

Obviously, a fatal accident is an extremely traumatic event, no matter where it happens. However, when it happens on a cruise, it’s even more distressing because of questions about what to do next. In the immediate aftermath of the incident, your actions should be in line with other accidents:

  • Report what happened – The very first thing you should do is call for help. The ship’s crew can provide some immediate medical assistance. If it’s clear that the accident is going to be fatal, though, do everything you can before more extensive help arrives.

  • Follow instructions – Listen carefully to the instructions provided by the ship’s crew. They are trained to handle emergencies and will guide passengers on what to do next.

  • Cooperate with any investigations – If authorities investigate the incident, cooperate fully with their inquiries. This may involve providing statements or other forms of assistance to aid in their investigation.

It’s also important to respect the privacy of those involved, if you’re not directly involved in the incident. However, if you are directly involved, you need to understand what your legal options are in this situation.

Filing a Wrongful Death Claim After a Cruise Accident

Legally speaking, a fatal accident aboard a cruise ship still falls under a wrongful death claim. Different jurisdictions have different rules for any claim, but from the perspective of a Florida cruise accident, a wrongful death claim is still possible after an accident on a cruise. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Standing – The personal representative (executor) of the deceased person files the lawsuit, but any damages received goes to the victim’s estate, which can include:

    • The surviving spouse
    • Minor children or dependents
    • The deceased person’s parents

The personal representative lists all potential beneficiaries and follows Florida’s inheritance laws, prioritizing the closest surviving family members.

  • Damages – Damages available in a wrongful death claim are built around losses and other expenses involved, usually including funeral and burial expenses, loss of companionship and support, any pain and suffering, and any medical expenses.

  • Statute of limitations – Like other claims, Florida gives a two year statute of limitations to file a wrongful death claim.

While this situation is somewhat unique, it’s very important to remember that you still have legal rights and that in order to best approach this situation, it could be helpful to have our team on your side.

How Cowen Edwards Can Help After a Fatal Cruise Accident

When you lose a loved one, it’s an incredibly tragic experience no matter the circumstances. However, when it happens on a cruise, it can be even more devastating. While this situation raises questions, the main one is probably whether you need a lawyer. This depends on your needs, and Cowen Edwards’ team of experienced FLorida cruise accident lawyers can help. Through our experience and dedication, we have developed a proven track record of success helping clients. Generally, we can:

  • Investigate what happened
  • Help you gather evidence and evaluate your family’s losses
  • Guide you through insurance or legal proceedings
  • Make things easier for your family

We understand how emotionally taxing this time is, but we’ll be with you every step of the way to guide you through it. Contact us for a free consultation to explore your legal options during this challenging time.