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Important Provisions Potentially Limiting Liability in a Cruise Passenger’s Ticket Contract

Cruises are not inexpensive and often provide a once in a lifetime vacation experience.  While cruises offer convenience and a variety of activities, these activities, facilities on the ship, and organized shore excursions in ports of call can result in cruise ship accidents like debilitating injuries, illnesses, and wrongful death.  Cruise lines rely on a wide range of strategies to avoid liability for harm to passengers caused by negligent and/or intentional acts or omissions of employees of the cruise line.

The tactics utilized by cruise lines to avoid paying injury claims begin before passengers even board the cruise ship.  The ticket contract purchased by passengers is filled with language and provisions that are designed to limit a passenger’s rights and remedies in the event of an accident or malicious act that causes ticket purchasers to suffer injury.  Although few people take the time to read the fine print on the back of their ticket before boarding the ship, this is a prudent course of action that can assist you in making better decisions if you are the victim of a cruise ship accident.

Cruise Line Ticket Contact Provisions Used to Stack the Deck against Passengers

While there are many ways that the passenger ticket contract might be written to limit your rights and remedies if you are injured during your cruise, some common examples include:

  • Most cruise tickets significantly shorten the permissible period of time that you have to file a lawsuit against the cruise line for injuries on the cruise or a shore excursion. The time limit indicated might be as short as one year though you would have significantly longer under federal law or the laws of any U.S. state.  The time limit for a slip and fall, for example, would be four years under Florida law.
  • Almost all cruise ticket fine print specifies the location and court with jurisdiction to hear a personal injury claim, referred to as a “forum selection clause.” In many cases, the city/court designated to hear the case will not be a location that the passenger visited during the cruise.  Frequently, these cases must be tried in federal court in Miami where there is no right to a jury.  Because maritime law, admiralty law and the law of other countries might control your case based on the fine print on the ticket, it is important to talk to an experienced Florida Cruise Injury Attorney.
  • Cruise ticket contracts generally impose a mandatory notice requirement of 120 to 180 days on passengers before they can pursue a legal claim against the cruise company.
  • When you are injured by any worker on cruise ships under most ticket contracts, including physicians, nurses, entertainers, spa workers and other personnel, they are designated as independent contractors who work directly for you rather than the cruise line. In other words, the ship’s doctor is your service provider, rather than a service provider furnished by the cruise ship.  This provision is intended to insulate the cruise company from liability for negligence of people working on the cruise line.

Our Miami Cruise Injury Lawyers understand the strategies that can be used to navigate past these potential traps, which include limited exceptions to these rules.  Our lawyers have experience dealing with the limitations buried in passenger cruise tickets and successfully litigating these provisions when representing injured passengers.

Greenberg Stone and Urbano:  Seeking Maximum Recovery for Damages Sustained Due to Negligence 

 If you are the victim of negligence or sexual assault during a cruise, our Miami Cruise Ship Lawyers at Greenberg Stone and Urbano will tenaciously pursue the full compensation you deserve.  For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our skill and dedication has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.


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