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Ninth Circuit Reviews Failure To Warn In Samuels v. Holland

A recent case out of the Ninth Circuit, which includes California, examined the duty of a cruise ship to warn passengers of dangerous conditions. In Samuels v. Holland American Line – USA Inc, et al. an injured passenger sued the cruise ship line Holland American. The passenger asserted that the cruise line had a duty to warn him of the dangers conditions that he might encounter swimming on the Pacific Ocean side of Lover’s Beach located in Mexico’s Baja peninsula.

In many situations, if you suffer injuries as the result of the carelessness or recklessness or others, you may be able to recover compensation such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and in some cases punitive damages. If you have suffered any personal injury it is important to speak to a Stockton personal injury attorneyimmediately to discuss your options and determine your next steps.

Here a passenger of Holland American Line, Gerald E. Samuels, was seriously injured while on a seven-day cruise. While the cruise ship was anchored in Cabo San Lucas, Samuels and his family visited nearby Lover’s Beach and began to play in the waves. Samuels had asked several Holland staff members regarding the safety of swimming at Lover’s Beach and had been assured that it was safe to visit.

After initially swimming in the Sea of Cortez, Samuels then proceeded to swim on the Pacific Ocean side of the beach. According to his observations, the waves weren’t particularly rough. However, as soon as Samuels entered the ocean he remembered feeling a “tremendous pull up and back and then being upside down.” Samuels struck his head on the ocean floor and sustained severe neurological damage. He was carried ashore by bystanders and is now classified as a “high-functioning quadriplegic.”

Samuels subsequently sued the cruise line alleging a failure to warn of the dangerous conditions, specifically that the cruise ship’s staff should have warned him of the dangers of swimming on the Pacific Ocean side of the back and that had he been warned he would not have entered the ocean.

Here, the court determined that the cruise ship did not owe a duty to warn Samuels of the dangers of the Pacific Ocean, stating that “the degree of care considered reasonable in a particular circumstance depends upon the ‘extent to which the circumstances surrounding maritime travel are different from those encountered in daily life and involve more danger to the passenger.’” Here, the court determined the cruise line did not have specific knowledge of the risk creating condition and as a result could not be help responsible for Samuels’ injuries.

Many times the failure to warn – especially where a dangerous condition exists – will lead to a negligence orpremises liability lawsuit. Often times passengers or vacationers unwittingly travel to unsafe locales filled with unforeseen risks. When an owner or operator of this land is aware of the danger and fails to provide sufficient warning of the danger – or act to make a condition reasonably safe – they may be found negligent. In these situations, you may be able to recover damages for medical costs, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

For more information, or if you have been harmed as the result of a dangerous condition, contact the dedicated Stockton personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Frederick J. Sette for an immediate consultation.