Cruise Ship Accidents

Florida Cruise Ship Injury Attorney

If you have been injured we have 25 years of experience handling cruise ship cases
As one of Florida’s most experienced cruise ship injury lawyers, I am ready to help you demand justice. 
My accident & injury law firm handles maritime cases all across the State of Florida including the top cruising ports of Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Port Canaveral areas.  Call me today to discuss your case.  The consultation is free and there are no fees until you win your case.

30,000,000 Million People Will Cruise in 2019.

According to Cruise Lines International Association, a trade group for the industry, 1 million more people will cruise in the year 2019, there are projected to be 30 million passengers worldwide, an increase of 2 million passengers over 2018. It is no surprise that the majority of those cruises originated from North American ports.

Statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation show that for the years 2010 and 2011, 3 Florida ports were ranked the top three ports for highest number of cruise originations:

  1. Miami
  2. Ft. Lauderdale
  3. Port Canaveral
  4. Tampa was 7th in 2011, and Jacksonville was 14th.

10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW:

While a passenger is out at sea, they are not looking to get in any trouble; they have a fair expectation that they will be safe and their hosts will take the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe. Unfortunately, that is not the case for thousands of passengers. If another person’s negligence has impacted your life, you should immediately consult with a cruise ship injuries attorney. You are not alone. Here are some things which you really need to know:

  • There is generally a 1 year statute of limitations on most cruise ship injury claims.

  • Your cruise ticket is a contract and tells you where suit has to be filed.

  • You must give the cruise line notification of your claim! Check the ticket!

  • If you are injured on an excursion the cruise line may not be liable.

  • If you are injured on the vessel, the cruise line may not air evacuate you.

  • By statute a cruise line cannot make you sign a waiver of their negligence.

  • Travel insurance, one which includes medical coverage, is a good thing.

  • Most employees on the vessel will not be American citizens.

  • Your health insurance and Medicare may not apply outside the U.S.

  • Cruise lines claim that the doctor on the vessel is not their employee.

This list is by no means exhaustive but offers a good outline of commonalities. No matter which port you leave from, it is important that you act fast to protect your rights.

VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION:

Many attorneys advertise for cruise ship injury cases. There are more than 100,000 attorneys licensed in the State of Florida. Many attorneys say they handle maritime claims. It has been estimated that there are only approximately 200 attorneys in the State of Florida that handle maritime cases. Make sure the attorney you are considering has actually filed suit against the cruise lines, and that they are not just saying they do cruise ship work. The attorney you choose should be able to answer the following questions:

  • Where would I have to file suit against the cruise lines.

  • What is the statute of limitations, and what are my notice requirements.

  • How many cruise cases have you actually handled.

  • On how many cruise claims have you actually filed suit.

  • What were the results of any cruise claims.

  • Are you just going to refer out my claim to a maritime attorney.

  • Are you going to file my case in federal or state court. (It’s almost always federal court.)

HOW DOES IT WORK:

With a shortened statute of limitations—in most cases one year–it is important to get your claim to the cruise line.. Many times suit needs to be filed against a cruise line because the statute of limitations is at hand but the claimant has not yet completed all medical treatment. Make sure you are in the hands of an attorney who has practiced in maritime law. Make sure the attorney you use has actually litigated against the cruise lines. Many attorneys say they handle cruise claims, but actually only take in the case to refer it out to another attorney.

NOTE!! YOU ALSO HAVE TO GIVE THE CRUISE LINE NOTICE OF YOUR CLAIM!  DON’T WAIT TO CALL US NOW!

MOST COMMON TYPES OF CASES WE SEE:

  • Slip and falls. (On wet decks, on stairs, near buffet tables, near Jacuzzi and pools, in showers/bathrooms)

  • Injuries by mistakes of crewmen. (Dropping something, running over passengers, not cleaning up a spill, not repairing something which causes injury.)

  • Assaults by crew or passengers.

  • Equipment failure. (Chair, handrail, elevator, automatic doors, etc.)

  • Rough weather causing falls/injuries. (Vessel sails into bad weather.)

  • Injuries while passenger on an excursion.

  • Ship’s doctor mistakes.

  • Embarkation/debarkation injuries on gangways, docks, transport vessels.

  • Food poisoning, Novo-virus, tainted water supply.

  • Failure to evacuate injured passenger/failure to obtain medical treatment.

  • This is by no means a complete list.

WHY DO I HAVE TO FILE SUIT THERE?

25 years ago Congress slightly changed one law which had great implications on cruise ship claims:*YOU HAVE TO FILE SUIT WHERE IT SAYS IN YOUR TICKET.*The ticket between you and the cruise line is a contract into which you both entered. That cruise ticket tells you where you have to file suit if you are injured during the cruise. Most claims have to be filed in Florida. Some claims have to be filed in California. Some claims have to be filed in Seattle. You must file suit against the cruise line in the “forum” state regardless of where you live. Many of our clients are from out of State, but find they must file suit in Florida if they sailed with any one of several cruise lines that choose Florida as the “forum”.

If the attorney you are choosing cannot immediately tell you where your suit would have to be filed, then that means they are not handling many (or perhaps any) cruise ship cases.

Most claims have to be filed in federal court. Our endeavor on every case is to work to try to get the case resolved before filing suit becomes necessary. In many cases the cruise line is not making a fair offer to resolve the case, and the client decides they want us to file suit for them. (We do not file suit for you unless you say that is what you want us to do.)  If suit has to be filed, it does not automatically mean that the case will go to trial.

Only a licensed Florida attorney can file suit in Florida. You should choose an experienced maritime attorney.

CALL TODAY FOR A FREE EVALUATION

OF YOUR CASE: 888-BOAT-LAW.

WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH EXCURSIONS?

Excursions are tours, or rides, or rentals that a passenger takes with a third party that is not the cruise line. Excursions almost always occur outside of the United States. Whether the cruise line is responsible when a passenger is injured while on a third-party excursion is questionable. Right now the case law is not very favorable. We have prevailed on excursion cases. These are difficult cases. Excursions sometimes result in very serious injury or death. Excursions are not usually run by employees of the cruise line. Cruise lines routinely disavow any negligence of excursion companies—even if the cruise line has recommended the excursion.

***None of the foregoing is legal advice and is not meant to give legal advice. Each case is different. This is why it is important to contact us on the specific facts of your case. What you say in making the claim can greatly affect your outcome.

One of the least known aspects of having a cruise ship injury is the location where suit must be filed—if you have to file suit. As cruise ship injuries attorneys in Florida, when we handle cases for our clients, we make all efforts to get them resolved favorably and fairly without filing suit. However, in some cases the cruising companies do not make an offer that is commensurate to the worth of the case. At that point, the claimant has an option to take whatever offer is on the table or file suit. In the instance where suit needs to be filed, your lawyer needs to know where that suit needs to be filed, and in what court.

Choosing the Right Cruise Ship Injuries Attorney

If the cruise ship injuries attorney you are considering does not know automatically where a suit would have to be filed in your case—if you had to file suit—then that is a tip-off that they probably do not handle cruising personal injury cases. That sounds like a no-brainer that the lawyer would know where a suit would be filed; however, if a lawyer you have chosen gets that wrong—because in truth they do not actually handle ocean liner injuries cases—then you may be foreclosed from bringing your claim.

Many of the cases against cruising companies have to be filed in Miami. But not all of them. Even for the cases that do have to be filed in Miami, such as injury cases arising in a cruise, the cruise ship injuries attorney has to know which court — state or federal. The reported cases are full of cases that were not filed in the correct location, or were not filed in the correct court.

Important Things to Know For Your Case

Another aspect that is not widely publicized or not recognized by some passengers is that when a passenger buys a ticket on a liner they are entering into a contract with that cruising line. However, that ticket is typically filled with pages and pages of small print. If you sustain an injury onboard, some of your rights and responsibilities will be governed by that ticket (i.e. in that contract). One aspect we have already said is that the ticket book governs where you have to file suit. Another aspect is that you typically get a much shorter statute of limitations to file suit than is likely in your home jurisdiction.

There is one other aspect that is buried in the ticket book as well, and this is the injured claimant’s responsibility to provide notice to the cruising company of your injuries—and this notification must come well before you would file suit against them. The cruise ship injuries attorney you choose needs to know the answers to these questions to handle your case correctly.

888BOATLAW’s Cruise Ship Injuries Attorneys

Did you notice that many auto accident attorneys list that they also do ocean liner injuries and boating cases, in addition to possibly other cases like dog bites, medical malpractice, divorces, criminal law, bankruptcies, foreclosures, etc.? At our cruise ship injury law firm in Florida, we do not do any of those types of law. Make sure that the cruise ship injuries attorney you choose to represent you on your serious injury case actually does cases against the cruising lines. Visit our section on www.888BOATLAW.com for questions that any attorney who represents you must know. We know the answers to the questions.

For Non-Florida Residents

What if I live in another state? How does that work? We have represented countless numbers of clients who live out of state, they come to Florida ports and get on a boat, get injured while on their vacation, and then go back home to their original state. One thing to remember is that where you live would not change where you have to bring your claim. If your local auto accident attorney is representing you and is not licensed in the State of Florida, the cruising companies easily know this. They also know that if your lawyer is not licensed in the State of Florida, then they cannot file the claim for you if necessary. We are licensed here in the State of Florida, and Cruise Ship Injuries is what we do.

Go with a cruise ship injuries attorney at a law firm who knows the answers to the questions. With us, there is never a charge for consultation. Also, there is no charge to handle your case unless we win your case. Call today at 888-262-8529 or visit our office.

 

***None of the foregoing is legal advice and is not meant to give legal advice. Each case is different. This is why it is important to contact us on the specific facts of your case. What you say in making the claim can greatly affect your outcome.