Cruise Ship Personal Injuries
Ocean cruises are one of the fastest growing vacation choices for Americans. By choosing cruise ships as a way to vacation, travelers are able to visit unique locations, while experiencing the comfort and luxury of a cruise ship. However, because these cruise ships operate on the ocean—a sometimes volatile and harsh environment—the chance for injuries and fatalities is ever present.
In anticipation of personal injury claims, the cruise lines fill their cruise tickets with hurdles that complicate matters for injured passengers. While most passengers view the ticket simply as a piece of paper that permits them to embark on their vacation, it is, in fact, a contract that may govern certain aspects of the relationship between passengers and cruise lines in the event of an injury during the voyage.
Cruise passengers rarely read the pages of fine print on the contract of passage, yet they will be bound by those terms if the language is sufficiently conspicuous. Some of the more common limitations on passengers’ legal rights contained in these tickets are:
- Provisions that require passengers to provide written notice of their claim before they can file a lawsuit. In some instances, passengers only have a matter of months to place the cruise line on notice of their claim.
- Provisions that reduce the normal time period for bringing a lawsuit. Congress has passed a federal statute that requires passengers to institute a lawsuit within three years of the accident. However, the cruise ticket may further limit the claims period to as little as six months.
- Provisions that require lawsuits to be filed in specific courts. These are known as “venue selection clauses.”For example, lawsuits against Holland America Line typically must be brought in Seattle, Washington, and lawsuits against Carnival, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Celebrity Cruises typically must be brought in Miami, Florida. Lawyers at BoatLaw, LLP are licensed to prosecute claims in both Washington and Florida.
Without the aid of an experienced maritime attorney, passengers’ rights can slip away without warning. Even with prompt action, those who are injured may find themselves frustrated and confused by the complexity of the legal processes they are confronted with when they are injured aboard a cruise ship. For this reason, prosecuting claims against cruise ship companies is not for the inexperienced. It is important that if you were injured on a cruise ship, you are advised by a qualified attorney.
Additionally, if you are a crewmember of a cruise ship and you were injured while subject to the call of the vessel, you are entitled to certain benefits, such as maintenance and cure, and may be entitled to further compensation under the Jones Act.
At BoatLaw, LLP, we have been successfully prosecuting injuries at sea for over thirty years. We know the ins and outs of litigating against cruise ship companies and have the experience necessary to competently, efficiently, and successfully handle your cruise ship claim. We offer an initial consultation free of cost and without any obligation. Call 1 (800) 262-8529 today to speak with an experienced attorney at BoatLaw, LLP.