West Palm Beach Cruise Ship Injury Lawyer

Booking a cruise to visit a warm exotic location or explore a new place is an event people typically plan and save for over a significant period of time. The leisurely pace of this kind of travel, as compared to flying, allows passengers the opportunity to relax and disconnect from the stress and business of normal life. However, being on a ship in the middle of a body of water brings the risk of serious injury if something goes wrong, or a safety issue on the ship is not quickly addressed. If an injury does occur, who is responsible, and can passengers sue the cruise operator for negligence in a personal injury lawsuit? Contact our West Palm Beach cruise ship injury lawyers today, we can help.

Applicable Law

The first thing to know about suing a cruise line for an injury is that these companies are governed by maritime law, which governs vessels on the water, and not the normal tort law that regulates negligence cases on land. In addition, the negligence standard for cruise lines also differs because these companies are regulated by the rules that apply to common carriers. A common carrier is any company that transports goods or passengers on set routes for a pre-established rate, and in addition to cruise lines, includes air and train travel. Thus, cruise lines are required to exercise a high degree of care over safety of passengers, though an injured passenger must still show the company was negligent or acting with deliberate intent. Specifically, a company is liable if a reasonably careful ship operator would have known about the injury-causing hazard, and failed to warn or correct the issue. Note that the law does not expect an operator to foresee every dangerous hazard, so liability hinges on how foreseeable the dangerous condition was.

Cruise Tickets as Contract

The back of all cruise tickets have a lot of small-print legal language that many would overlook or ignore. However, these words form the basis of a contract that all passengers consent to when they purchase and use a ticket. The terms that travelers should take note of before boarding concern where the cruise line requires passengers to file any lawsuits and how long they have to make an injury claim. Designating where a party can file a dispute, known as a forum selection clause, is common among larger companies, and courts typically uphold their enforceability. The Supreme Court upheld the right of cruise ship companies to choose the venue in Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc. v. Shute. Most cruise companies choose Florida as the place to file suit since most are headquartered in this state, which means regardless of where the injury took place or where the injured lives, a lawsuit will need to be filed in a Florida court. Further, cruise lines also limit how long a person can make an injury claim, usually 12 months for a physical injury and much less time for non-physical injuries, so reviewing this information before getting onboard is key to knowing one’s legal options from the start.

Cruise ship employees may also be eligible to file a cruise ship lawsuit. Injured employees may be able to file a lawsuit for medical expenses, lost income, and living expenses (especially for employees who live and work aboard a ship) while they recover from their injury.

Major Cruise Ship Companies

Major cruise ship companies include:

  • American Cruise Lines
  • Azamara Cruises
  • Carnival Cruise Lines
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Costa Cruises
  • Crystal Cruises
  • Cunard Line
  • Disney Cruise Line
  • Holland America Line
  • Hurtigruten
  • Majestic America Line
  • MSC Cruises
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Oceania Cruises
  • Orient Lines
  • Pearl Seas Cruises
  • Princess Cruises
  • Regent Seven Seas Cruises
  • Royal Caribbean International
  • Seabourn Cruise Line
  • SeaDream Cruise Line
  • Silversea Cruises
  • Uniworld Grand River Cruises
  • Windstar Cruises

Do I have a Cruise Ship Lawsuit?

If you suffered an injury during such a trip, contact our lawyers to learn about the possibility of suing for negligence. The window to sue is usually very short, so talking with an lawyer as soon as possible to key to retaining all your legal rights. The law firm of Lesser Lesser Landy & Smith understands how devastating any injury can be, and we will fight to get the compensation you deserve. Contact our West Palm Beach cruise ship injury lawyers for a free consultation.

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