Recently, several high profile cruise ship disasters have cast a negative light on the industry. The grounded Costa Concordia and the onboard fires on two Carnival lines, Triumph and Splendor, prompted the cruise ship industry to respond with the passage of a Passenger Bill of Rights. Unfortunately, our Miami cruise ship accident lawyers find that the rights set out in this document mostly either already existed or were subject to numerous qualifications.
The Bill of Rights was an attempt by the cruise ship industry to turn passenger’s attention away from the actual problems faced by those injured on cruise lines—the fine print. All cruise ship tickets contain fine print provisions that are designed to protect the cruise line in the event of an accident, even when the cruise ship itself acts in a negligent manner to cause the accident. They apply when a passenger is either injured or killed on a cruise ship.
For instance, on many international cruises, the cruise line will insert a provision in the ticket that limits damages in the event of any injury or death to around $70,000. When a passenger experiences a catastrophic injury or someone dies as a result of the cruise line’s negligence, this figure does not even come close to covering the actual damages.
The fine print will also contain a forum selection clause, requiring passengers file suit in only a particular court. For instance, all lawsuits against Carnival and Celebrity must be filed in a federal court in Miami, regardless of where the victim lives, where the ticket was purchased, or whether the accident occurred. The fine print thus deprives Florida residents of their right to a jury trial.
After the Costa Concordia disaster, injured passengers were shocked to learn that their claims had to be litigated in Italy. This clause, found within the cruise line ticket, was upheld despite the fact that many tickets were purchased in the U.S. by American citizens.
Port excursions are an essential part to any cruise trip. The cruise lines actively promote and advertise such excursions. They sell the excursion tickets and make considerable money off doing so. Yet cruise line tickets state that the cruise line is not legally responsible for any accidents occurring during excursions. In the event a passenger is injured during an excursion, a suit will have to be brought against the local company in their foreign territory. All of this exists without the cruise ship passenger’s knowledge before embarking on the excursion.
Even once the cruise ship passenger overcomes significant hurdles to get their case into court, they will face ongoing obstacles due to the fine print that often limits the admissibility of certain evidence. Passengers are often prohibited from using pictures or video they took in court.
Due to the many procedural and evidentiary issues faced by injured cruise ship passengers, it is vital that these passengers retain the assistance of an experienced cruise ship attorney who will protect their legal rights.
Greenberg Stone and Urbano: Assisting with All Cruise Ship Injuries
Most cruise ship passengers will purchase their ticket without giving much consideration to the fine print. When disaster strikes, the cruise line will attempt to hide behind the fine print in the contract. The Miami Cruise Ship Accident attorneys at the law firm of Greenberg Stone and Urbano have assisted in a number of major cruise ship accident cases. Our lawyers have over 130 years combined experience and will zealously fight for your full recovery following a cruise related accident. Our unmatched professional excellence has earned us an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell and acknowledgement as one of South Florida’s top-rated firms by the Miami Herald. Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule an appointment so that we can begin fighting for your recovery.