Most personal injury lawsuits follow similar legal guidelines, but cruise ship lawsuits can be very different. If you are injured on a cruise ship in Florida, filing a lawsuit might fall under Florida state law, federal law or international maritime law.

Cruise ship liability and “duty of care”

The liability for cruise ships regarding passenger accidents is higher than that of other types of businesses. Most cruise ships are considered “common carriers” and are obligated to provide beyond reasonable care for passengers — protecting them from physical harm and ensuring they arrive safely to the destination port.

Responsible parties in cruise ship injuries

If a passenger is injured on a cruise ship, there are several parties who may be held liable. Injured cruise ship passengers may be able to file a lawsuit against the owner of the ship, the company operating the cruise ship, the charter company responsible for the cruise or even the company that sold the cruise ticket. In addition, if a third-party individual or entity on board the ship caused the injury, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against that party.

Common types of cruise ship injuries

There are several types of injuries on cruise ships that can lead to lawsuits. Some of the most common include:

  • Slip and fall injuries (unsafe premises)
  • Injuries or accidents in pools or on waterslides
  • Injuries from recreational activities onboard the ship
  • Injuries occurring in on-shore excursions
  • Sickness from contaminated food or unsanitary conditions, such as Norovirus infections (Norwalk virus)
  • Cruise ship fires resulting in injuries
  • Falling overboard
  • Dock or falling object accidents
  • Medical negligence or medical malpractice

Cruise ship lawsuit restrictions

When you go on a cruise, you’re required to sign your cruise ship ticket. These tickets contain contracts that spell out the liability of the cruise line with regard to passenger safety and well-being. It’s important to read the fine print on a cruise ship ticket and understand your legal rights in the event of injury.

Most cruise ship ticket contracts have prerequisites that must be met in order to file a personal injury lawsuit. Typically, the statute of limitations — the time period following an injury in which you’re permitted to sue — is shortened from the 4 years permitted by Florida law, to a period as short as 6 months, usually no longer than 1 year.

Other common prerequisites include a requirement that an injured passenger warn the cruise line of his or her intent to file a lawsuit with a written statement, and that the location in which a lawsuit can be filed is limited to the state of Florida, and must be filed by a Florida law firm.

If you’re injured in a cruise ship accident, you should consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible. The Miami trial lawyers at Baron, Herskowitz, and Cohen have successfully represented clients in cruise ship injury lawsuits and personal injury claims of all categories. Contact us today to discuss the details of your cruise ship accident or personal injury case.

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