More about Referrals


Re: Cruise Ship, Boating, JetSki, injury cases

florida boat accident referrals

Confidence. Is there a bad connotation of that word when it comes to your practice? “Confidence” is defined as “the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust“. You and your client can trust and rely upon 25 years of experience in handling maritime injury cases in Florida. 25 years in handling cruise ship injury cases;  confidence in 25 years of handling boating and JetSki injuries.  

This is 25 years of representing claimants against: insurers, cruise lines, corporations, and individual defendants. Frank D. Butler, Esquire, a native of Florida, grew up on the waters of Florida as the son of a commercial fisherman. It was only natural that Frank would put his extensive knowledge and experiences on the water to work representing injured claimants and their families. 

Here is what to know:

  1. Cruise ship cases generally come with a 1-year statute of limitations
  2. Most cruise cases have to be filed in South Florida–and this is regardless of the residency of the claimant.
  3. There is a required 6-month notice provision to the cruise line of the injury by the claimant. 
  4. The cruise lines know which attorneys are not licensed in Florida
  5. The Florida statute of limitations for a boating or JetSki crash may be shorter than your state’s statute, or a federal statute may apply

The cruise lines will happily help you and your client exceed the statute of limitations. The cruise lines know the statute of limitations and they know where your client’s case must be filed.  Our firm handles referrals of cruise ship, boating and JetSki accident/death cases here in Florida. We gladly and strictly observe referral fees to our referring attorneys—both outside of Florida and in Florida.

If you would like to conference regarding a pending or potential case, do not hesitate to contact me, Frank D. Butler, Esquire, personally.  

Visit our website for more information.

Maritime Attorney Case Referrals

Dear Referring Counsel:

The undersigned is available for referral of maritime cases in Florida. What does that have to do with you and your cruise ship injured client, JetSki accident victim, or boating crash case? We see that many of our clients are from outside the State of Florida. Most cruise ship cases must be filed in Florida. Furthermore, for most cruise cases there is only a one-year statute of limitations to file these cases. There is also a notice provision in the ticket that must be observed and it is shorter than the one-year statute of limitations.

Why would you go with this law firm as opposed to any law firm in Florida? Google it. Check us out. Type in the name of our senior attorney, “Frank D. Butler”, and match that search term with Carnival Cruise Lines, or Royal Caribbean, or Norwegian, etc., and see how many cases come up. We do not just talk about pursuing cases and filing suit—when necessary–for the clients, we actually litigate cases against all of the cruise lines.

You can have assurance for your clients when you refer them to us that we actually do litigate against the cruise lines, as opposed to just settling every case before suit. Like everywhere, in Florida there are law firms who say they handle maritime cases, but can you find where they have filed even one suit against any cruise line.

The same goes for boating injuries, Jetski, and parasail cases that occurred in Florida. Those cases will almost always have to be filed in the State of Florida. Again, many law firms tell you they handle those types of cases, but do they even know what law applies—maritime v. state law—and do they know where the case should be filed—federal v. state court—if suit had to be filed. The scary part is that the statute of limitations for tort cases under maritime law is generally shorter than under Florida law. It is therefore critical for the attorney handling the client’s claim to know when and where to file suit.

For further information, check out our website at Maritime Accident Case Referrals

You can have the confidence of the following:

  1. 25 years of experience representing cruise ship, boating, JetSki, and parasail cases in Florida.
  2. We steadfastly honor referral fees to referring attorneys.
  3. Personal and involved handling of the client—no case managers.
  4. Direct frequent communication with the client.
  5. Scheduled updates on the case status to you.


When you get a cruise ship client or when you get a boat crash or JetSki accident that occurred in Florida, who do you trust with that case?  Do you keep the case and “see what happens”? In boat crashes electronic data is lost quickly, boats must be inspected before they are altered (even during inspection), JetSkis are disposed of or altered, cruise ship cases can only be filed in certain jurisdictions—overwhelmingly in Florida–and usually within one year. Have you sent out that 6-month notification required in the cruise ship case?

Trust is defined as “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something”. “Relations have to be built on trust”.

We have been practicing in maritime law and recovering for injured clients for 25 years. Out of State attorneys refer boating, JetSki and Cruise Ship cases to us with confidence because:

  1. Our record of success in recovering for the clients.
  2. They can trust our 25 years handling maritime cases throughout all of Florida.
  3. Attorneys handle all of our cases. No claims managers.
  4. The marine insurers and cruise lines know an out-of-state attorney cannot file suit in Florida without being licensed here.
  5. We know the cruise ship defense attorneys by first name.
  6. We know the maritime defense attorneys handling boating and JetSki crashes.
  7. We know Florida.

You have found the right attorneys. Referral fees are strictly observed and gladly paid to our referring attorneys.

Trust. You can trust 25 years of experience in handling maritime claims in Florida, both in pre-suit and in litigation. All cruise ship cases. All Florida boating accidents. All JetSki crashes.


If you have an existing maritime case or a potential case, do not hesitate to call us to discuss the case. We are available at the toll free 888-BOAT-LAW number or 727-399-2222 in Tampa Bay, and throughout all of Florida.



Filing A Claim Deadline, Frank Butler Boat Injury & Maritime Lawyer

One conversation we as attorneys never want to have is to explain to an injured client why a statute of limitations was missed on their claim. Be forewarned, on boating accident claims, cruise ship claims, JetSki accident claims, and parasailing accident claims, the statute of limitations is likely shorter than you think.  If maritime law applies to the injury claim the statute of limitations is governed by federal law, not by state law—and in many cases the maritime statute is shorter than state court law.

For cruise ship cases, the statute of limitations is generally only 1 year. (There is also a 6-month written notice provision which must be observed.)

For boating accidents, JetSki accidents, and parasailing claims, the statute of limitations is generally 3 years if maritime law applies.  Consider these two significant injury cases as illustrative examples, one distant in time and one very recent:

Case1: Negligence. Smith v. Brant Beach Yacht Club, 2018 WL 1605161 (N.J. 2018) (April 3, 2018)

Facts: Plaintiff injured when sailboat capsizes, leaving 16 year-old plaintiff in shallow water and is struck by propeller of boat driven by employee and owned by Brant Beach Yacht Club in Long Beach Township, NJ.

Date/Incident: July 23, 2014

Date of Suit: December 6, 2017

Result: Case Dismissed on defendant’s motion to dismiss as barred by statute of limitations.

The Uniform Statute of Limitations for Maritime Torts provides that: “Except as otherwise provided by law, a civil action for damages for personal injury or death arising out of a maritime tort must be brought within 3 years after the cause of action arose.” 46 U.S.C. § 30106.2 Traditionally, where federal admiralty or maritime law governs, state law may be used to supplement, but only to the extent that it is neither inconsistent nor conflicts with federal law. See Yamaha Motor Corp., USA v. Calhoun, 516 U.S. 199, 206–07 (1996). Accordingly, where there is conflict, “[g]eneral maritime law preempts state law to preserve the uniformity sought by Congress and the judiciary.” Anderson v. Varco Int’l, Inc., 905 S.W.3d 26, 28 (Tex. App. 1995) (finding federal maritime statute of limitations, not Texas law, controlled); see also Foremost Ins. Co. v. Richardson, 457 U.S. 668, 675 (1982) (noting that the federal interest in protecting maritime commerce can only be met if “all operators of vessels on navigable waters are subject to uniform rules of conduct” (emphasis in original)). “The very existence of a federal general maritime statute of limitations implies that it should be applied uniformly across the nation.” White v. Mercury Marine, Div. of Brunswick, 129 F.3d 1428, 1431 (11th Cir. 1997) (finding application of Florida’s discovery rule would improperly contradict the general maritime statute of limitations).

Case2: Product liability. Mink v. Genmar Industries, Inc., 29 F.3d 1543, 1547 (11th Cir. 994)

Facts:  Plaintiff injured on vessel built for racing driven at 80 mph in Gulf of Mexico where vessel had 2 seats but multiple passengers. Plaintiff fell to deck resulting in paraplegia. Claimed faulty design due to inadequate seating, no hand rails, etc.

Date/Incident: November 28, 1986

Date of suit: November 30, 1990

Result: Case dismissed by federal court on grounds of statute of limitations controlled by maritime law, not state court law. Even where plaintiff’s counsel tried to re-cast the case as breach of contract, negligent operation, negligent design and manufacture, breach of implied warranty, etc., federal appeals court confirmed that plaintiff’s counsel had missed the statute of limitations in this paraplegia case.

NOTE: Suits must be filed in Florida against Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Celebrity, and Disney as well as many other cruise lines, regardless of where the client resides or where the client boarded the vessel. You can have confidence in our experience and knowledge of the laws applicable to these cases. For 25 years we have handled cruise ship, boating, JetSki, and parasailing cases throughout all of Florida.

We are available for referral of clients injured on cruise ships. (Or those who were injured while on a boat, JetSki, or parasail, in Florida.) 

Referral fees are always gladly honored and strictly observed.  We are ready.

***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.



Having practiced in maritime law now for 25 years I have seen many boating crash and JetSki collision cases. Most of them involve maritime law. This matters greatly, because maritime law is not Florida law. The differences between the two bodies of law are enormous. 

Under maritime law a vessel owner can seek to limit a claimant’s recovery to the worth of the offending vessel—after the crash occurred. In other words, if the JetSki crashed and is only worth $500, the owner can ask to limit the recovery to that same $500. This law applies even to death cases and in serious injury cases. The law also applies even though there may be a large liability policy. The boat and JetSki insurers are well aware of the Limitation of Liability Act, a law which was passed by Congress in 1851. The initial purpose was to protect owners of commercial vessels; however, the U.S. Supreme Court has firmly held that the law applies to non-commercial vessels: like JetSkis and recreational boats. 

We have battled many of these Limitation cases in just the last 18 months up to the present. 


A large Florida law firm handled what they believed to be an easy boating accident case. They did not recognize that a Limitation Action had been filed against “all potential claimants”. When we received the case by referral—recognizing immediately the claim was vulnerable to Limitation–we quickly checked the federal court and found the Limitation action was already well under way. In fact, the time to file a claim for the injured claimant had already passed. Through extensive efforts we were able to convince the federal court to reverse its default against the claimant on a Motion For Reconsideration. (Such motions are rarely granted in federal court.) 

Boating cases and JetSki crashes are minefields because of the laws that apply to them. The statute of limitations is shorter than under Florida law, and maritime law applies to the majority of those cases that occur in Florida. 

A referring attorney can have confidence in our 25 years of experience in handling boat crashes, JetSki collisions, and cruise ship cases. We steadfastly and gladly pay referral fees to referring counsel. 

You don’t have to take a chance. We are ready.