Florida Cruise Ship Accident Attorneys
Cruise line accidents occur in various forms, from slips and food poisoning to herniated disks, fractures, dismemberment, and even death by drowning. Unfortunately, maritime laws that govern cruise ships are complicated and not very passenger-friendly, so it is important to hire a knowledgeable Florida cruise ship accident lawyer to protect your rights and make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
Cruise Line Accidents and Maritime Law
Maritime law provides a number of statutes to protect those on cruise ships from accidents. Unfortunately most of them pertain more to staff and employees, not passengers. For instance, while cruise staff can seek compensation through the Jones Act, passengers have considerably fewer protections.
Cruise ship operators owe passengers what is called a duty of “reasonable care.” This means that they are required to provide a reasonably safe environment from cruise ship injuries, which includes warnings about potential dangers, such as slippery decks, dangerous equipment, or wobbly gangplanks. However, the term “reasonable care” is open to interpretation, and the passenger is responsible for proving that the company was negligent in causing the cruise ship accident.
As with most personal injury accidents, there is a statue of limitations for cruise ship accidents. Injured passengers sometimes have less than a year to submit personal injury claims against cruise operators. Several cruise lines have special clauses inserted in the contract of carriage (often explained in the fine print on the back of passengers’ tickets) that can shorten the statute of limitations even further, sometimes down to six months.
Most cruise operators require injured passengers to sue them in a specific city, which often makes it more complex for the passenger. The “forum selection clause” usually found in the fine print on the back of ticket, can hinder the injured passenger’s chance of legal compensation, if they have not complied with the forum selection clause. This is a perfect reason why cruise ship injuries victims should only turn to an experienced maritime/admiralty law attorney for a cruise ship accident.
Cruise Ship Accidents & Claims
First, as soon as the accident occurs, you should file a written report with the security office of the cruise ship, keeping a copy for yourself. A member of the cruise staff may try to have you sign a waiver or other document to exempt them from responsibility, but it is imperative that you not sign anything. You should also take photographs of the scene of the accident, and write down the name and contact information of any eyewitnesses.
After you arrive home, contact an experienced maritime attorney as soon as possible. Cruise line accidents are a special area under admiralty and maritime law, and compensation can be determined by a number of factors ranging from the type of accident to the home port of the cruise line or even the foreign country where the cruise ship is registered, so it is essential that you contact a cruise ship accident lawyer to protect your interests and ensure a successful case.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured on a cruise ship, contact us right away to set up a free consultation with a qualified cruise ship accident lawyer at LaBovick LaBovick & Diaz. Call us any time at 561-655-1777 or toll-free at 1-866-LABOVICK (522-6842). Don’t wait!