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Liability of a Cruise Ship for Emotional Distress Claims

Under the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 1996, cruise ships may use ticket contracts to disclaim liability for emotional distress, mental suffering, and psychological injury claims by passengers. In other words, if a cruise ship issues a ticket stating that it is not liable for such claims, then a passenger may not recover damages for such claims in a personal injury action against the cruise ship. However, a cruise ship may not disclaim liability for emotional distress, mental suffering, and psychological injury that:

(1) was the result of physical injury to the claimant caused by the negligence or fault of an employee of the ship;

(2) was the result of the claimant having been at actual risk of physical injury, and such risk was caused by the negligence or fault of an employee of the ship;

(3) was intentionally inflicted by an employee of the ship; or

(4) involved sexual harassment, sexual assault, or rape by an employee of the ship.