FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2010-01-25
Individuals who suffer an injury while on a cruise ship have a right to seek compensation for their injuries, but there are certain limitations that can affect those rights so it's necessary to be careful and aware. For example, most cruise lines place limitations in their contracts as to where they can be sued and when they can be sued. Passengers injured on cruise ships operated by Carnival Cruises, Royal Caribbean, NCL as well as many others, need to know what those limitations are so that they can protect their rights.
Your boarding pass is the first place to look. Many of the cruise lines such as Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian have a provision in the boarding pass that requires the passengers to provide written notice of their injury within six months of the injury. Furthermore these cruise lines place a one year limitation on an injured passenger's right to sue. Finally, many cruise lines designate Miami, Florida as the only place where they can be sued. Some even insist on being sued in federal court.
Thus, if you are injured on a cruise ship, on the tender which takes you to and from the ship, or even on a cruise sponsored excursion, it is important that you notify the crew in writing of your injuries. If you do not have the opportunity to put the ship in writing while you are still a passenger, you should send a certified letter to the cruise line informing them of your injury as soon as possible, but at least within six months of the occurrence. When you do so, make sure to include all of the information that the particular cruise line requires.
You should also attempt to hire an attorney as soon as possible since, in most cases, you will only have one year to file a lawsuit and most good lawyers will want to investigate the facts of your case before you bring the lawsuit.
Finally, and most importantly, you should seek medical treatment and follow all of your doctors' instructions. It will be helpful to your lawyer if you are able to provide him with a list of your treating doctors at the time that the attorney is hired.
Many times, the cruise lines will attempt to engage an injured passenger in negotiations in hopes of delaying a lawsuit beyond the one year period. Because the time limitation is so short, if you or a loved one suffered a significant injury aboard a cruise ship, it is wise to hire an attorney as soon as reasonably possible who has experience in litigating against the cruise lines.
If you have been injured in a Miami car accident, Florida truck accident, or due to someone else’s negligence, you should contact a Miami, Florida personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights.