When you saved and planned to take your family on a cruise vacation, you probably anticipated great food in massive quantities, unlimited forms of recreation, and top-notch entertainment. You probably did not contemplate experiencing serious injury because of the negligent conduct of a crewmember and the cruise line. Although the vast majority of cruise passengers escape from their time on the high seas without incident, many people suffer serious injuries each year. As you prepared for your cruise, you probably did not seek legal advice because you did not realize you agreed to a long, detailed contract with many unfavorable provisions. Many passengers never bother to look at the back of their cruise ticket while those that do rarely try to wade through the dense legalese. Our Miami cruise accident attorneys have highlighted several common provisions in cruise contracts that merit careful consideration by travelers.
Horrible Medical Care Is Not Our Problem: While the medical care on most cruise ships is perfectly acceptable, most passenger contracts include a provision stating the cruise line is not responsible for medical malpractice committed by its physicians, nurses, and other medical personnel, or staff. The language is designed to constitute a waiver of liability of the cruise ship when substandard medical care causes serious injury or wrongful death. The cruise line also will claim that medical personnel, who make errors or omissions, are independent contractors rather than employees to evade liability. An experienced Florida personal injury lawyer understands that being relegated to suing the physician, who often will not be a citizen of the U.S. or subject to jurisdiction in the U.S., will be less desirable because the doctor will have far less insurance coverage than the cruise line. Our lawyers have the experience and expertise to avoid these potential legal pitfalls.
Delay at All & We Are off the Hook: While Florida has a four-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims, this time is shortened significantly by the language in most passenger tickets. Failure to comply with the statute of limitations can have a devastating impact on your legal rights by barring your right to file a lawsuit after the expiration of the deadline. The provision in the cruise contract typically shortens this deadline to one year while imposing a six-month deadline to provide a Notice of Claim to the cruise company.
Submit to Law Favorable to Us: Generally, the relevant law in a lawsuit involving cruise-related injuries or fatalities will not be the local law of the state where you reside or even where you purchase your cruise ticket. Rather, the law that will decide your case will be international law, federal maritime law, or the law where the vessel is registered, such as Liberia, Panama, or the Bahamas. The cruise line will use the passenger ticket to select the applicable law. Maritime or admiralty law is extremely complicated ,so a relatively small number of attorneys have the knowledge and experience to handle cruise ship injury lawsuits.
Prepare to Take Us on Far from Home: Passenger ticket contracts contain a provision referred to as a “forum selection clause,” which is usually enforced. In recent years, courts have enforced federal forums selection clauses that are standard in ticket contracts and indicate cruise ship injury lawsuits must be litigated in Miami federal court, which means that the injury victim might not have access to a jury trial.
Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano: Seeking Maximum Recovery for Damages Sustained Due to Negligence
If you experience injury traveling on a cruise ship, our Miami cruise injury lawyers at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano will tenaciously pursue the fullest financial compensation. 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 have 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.