Cruise ship accidents and claims involve unique aspects of maritime law that apply only to cruise ships, which is why these types of cases are sometimes referred to as falling under cruise ship law. While much of the general maritime law applies to cruise ship injury cases, there are special circumstances that apply just to events that occur on cruise ships. For example, cruise lines always insert special provisions into their passenger ticket contracts, which is generally a permitted practice under federal law, that shorten the length of time in which a passenger may file a lawsuit against the cruise line to one year, whereas the normal statute of limitations for admiralty and maritime matters is three years. Also, cruise lines always designate, within their passenger tickets, the only location where they can be sued. This is referred to as a forum selection clause.
However, there are exceptions to these unique rules. For example, in Boehnen v. Carnival Cruise Lines Inc.778 So.2d 1084 (2001) Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals ruled that the shortened statute of limitations imposed on a passenger by way of the contract on a passenger’s ticket did not apply to mentally incompetent passengers that did not have a legal guardian appointed pursuant to 46 U.S.C.§ 183b(c). The various court decisions and laws that create exceptions to certain rules demonstrate why hiring an experienced cruise ship accident lawyer is one of the most important decisions you can make if you are harmed or injured on a cruise ship.
Our Legal Team is Ready to Take on the Major Cruise Lines
Most of the major cruise lines are based in Miami, Florida (as are we), and as a result, they select Miami, Florida, as the location where lawsuits must be filed and litigated. There are other cruise lines which require cases to be in filed in California or Washington state, and fortunately we have attorneys licensed in California and Washington. In almost every case where passengers have been unaware of the forum selection clause or have otherwise chosen to ignore it and filed a lawsuit in another jurisdiction, the lawsuit has been dismissed leaving the passenger with no means of recovery against the company. These unfortunate cases demonstrate why hiring experienced maritime accident lawyers who have both the legal skills and resources needed to successfully initiate and litigate claims against major cruise lines is so important. Some of the companies our cruise ship lawyers will handle claims against include:
This list is not all-inclusive, but rather, it is comprised of some of the largest cruise lines our attorneys routinely sue. However, our attorneys also have experience with litigating claims against third-party vendors that often contract with major cruise lines such as Starboard Cruise Services, which is a third party retail company that often contracts with many of the major cruise lines to provide onboard retail services. So, regardless of how you were injured or who is responsible, you should always contact the maritime accident lawyers at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. to have your claim evaluated by an experienced attorney who can help you understand your legal options.
Cruise Ships Registered in a Foreign Country
Almost every cruise line vessel is registered in a foreign country and flies a foreign flag. Due to this, the law of the country of registration of the vessel could potentially apply to events that occur on the cruise ship, but the laws of some foreign countries could be less favorable to the plaintiff than the laws in the United States in most cases. Consequently, this aspect of certain cruise ship accident claims can create unique opportunities that experienced admiralty attorneys can use to gain a legal advantage.
For example, an accident that occurs on a ship that begins its voyage in Miami could fall under the jurisdiction of Florida state law, federal law, or the law of the country the vessel is registered with, and international treaties that apply to events and occurrences that happen aboard the ship can add an additional level of legal complexity. To an inexperienced attorney, the overlap and interplay between these different areas of law might seem like an obstacle, but our at-sea injury attorneys view these cases as an opportunity to evaluate which body of law would be both applicable to your unique situation and most favorable to your legal position.
Common Cruise Accident & Injury Types
Maritime law is a very specialized area of legal practice, and at times, it can be confusing, even to cruise ship lawyers who are moderately familiar with maritime law in general, and while there are things you can do as an aware and alert passenger to avoid an injury while you are vacationing on a cruise ship, accidents can and do happen with a high degree of regularity. Some of the most common events that occur on cruise lines and have been pointed out by the news media recently include:
What Should I do After being Involved in a Cruise Ship Accident?
Due to the numerous ways a cruise ship accident can occur, many accident victims often ask “What should I do after an accident on a cruise ship?” or “What steps should I take if I am injured on a ship?” The answer to these questions often depends on the type of accident you were involved in and the circumstances surrounding how your accident occurred, but as a general matter, you should:
- Make sure you file and obtain a copy of an accident report or a report of a crime
- Document your accident as much as possible including taking pictures of the accident scene, obtaining the contact information of any witnesses, and recording the names of any of the crew members to whom you report the accident.
- Seek medical attention immediately with the medical staff on the ship.
- Contact a cruise ship passenger injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Moreover, the maritime lawyers at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. have created a free cruise ship lawyer app that you can download to help you record, track, and gather evidence following an accident that can later be used to strengthen your claim.
Why Choose Our Firm?
At Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A., we are dedicated to helping all those who have been injured on a cruise ship recover the compensation they deserve for their pain and suffering. Our firm is AV-rated, meaning our lawyers maintain the highest level of ethics in all we do and we work diligently to make sure your rights are fully protected. Our firm has recovered more than $300 million dollars for our clients many of which were cruise ship passengers. Our proven performance record and long history of dedication to protecting the rights of individuals injured on cruise ships is one of the biggest factors that differentiates Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. from other law firms, but these accomplishments would not be possible without a staff of maritime lawyers that possess the skill, experience, and determination needed to effectively litigate each claim our law firm accepts.
In fact, our clients appreciate the confidence that comes with knowing that all of our attorneys are experienced and familiar with the laws and regulations that will affect their case. The level of knowledge and expertise our cruise ship lawyers possess is further demonstrated by that fact that our attorneys are regularly featured in the media for their superior knowledge of maritime law, and as most accident victims know, having an experienced lawyer on your case is an essential element to ensuring that your case reaches a resolution that benefits you, the victim.
Common Types of Claims Our Cruise Ship Accident Lawyers Accept
Our cruise ship lawyers have extensive experience representing both passengers and crew members who have sustained injuries at sea while on board cruise ships or other vessels. Injuries that occur on the high seas are very different than those that take place while on land. On-board injuries to both passengers and crew members can be extremely severe – if not catastrophic – often becoming life-changing incidents or even fatalities. Maritime cases may be difficult to litigate, given that cruise ships always include fine print in their cruise tickets and contracts, but with the help of a cruise ship injury lawyer, claims initiated by an injured passenger or crew member can be evaluated, litigated, and tried successfully. Some of the most common types of claims our cruise ship injury lawyers accept include:
With over 165 years of combined experience in assisting victims and loved ones of those involved in a wide array of maritime and admiralty cases, our cruise ship injury lawyers will offer you superior legal counsel to ensure you obtain the highest possible recovery for your injuries. Having already achieved numerous successful verdicts for those involved in cruise ship accidents previously, our law firm has a demonstrated history of striving to ensure that we obtain the best possible resolution in each case we handle for our clients. Due to this, you will know you chose to work with the right cruise ship injury lawyer when you have our law firm on your side fighting for your rights.
How can a Cruise Ship Injury Lawyer Maximize the Value of My Claim?
Achieving a favorable recovery for a maritime personal injury or fatality case requires lawyers that have specific knowledge of the laws that govern maritime matters. These types of cases can be difficult due to the advantages companies in the cruise ship industry have including:
- Non-disclosure policies that attempt to prevent them from releasing the names of those who are hurt, go missing, or who sustain fatal injuries.
- The commonly used arguments that courts in the United States have no jurisdiction over what transpires over international waters.
- The lack of responsibility cruise lines commonly assert when dealing with injured crew members and passengers in order to give accident victims the impression that their claim is not valid.
Our maritime lawyers understand the numerous legal tactics cruise lines typically use and have a proven track record of overcoming these obstacles in order to ensure that accident victims are the ones that benefit from the legal framework of the domestic or foreign legal jurisdiction a particular claim falls under.
Frequently Asked Questions
With over 150 years of combined experience litigating maritime and admiralty law cases, the cruise ship accident lawyers of Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. recognize the anxiety that an injury victim experiences when moving through the legal process. The following are the answers to some of the frequently asked questions that we hear from clients.
What Are the Types of Accidents That Occur on Cruise Ships?
How Are Cruise Ship Lawyers Compensated?
Where Do I File My Case?
For a non cruise line injury case, most typically, the case has to be filed in the location of the incident or accident, unless there is a written agreement for the case to be filed elsewhere.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim Against a Cruise Ship?
With most other maritime related injury claims, there is a 3 year period of time to bring a case. This is known as a statute of limitation and it is a critical date to abide by otherwise the case can be thrown out of court.
Can I Sue a Cruise Line if I’m the Victim of a Violent Crime, Rape or Sexual Assault?
Our Cruise Ship Injury Attorneys are Ready and Willing to Take Cases to Trial
In addition to our knowledge and extensive experience with cases involving injuries at sea, we prepare and try our own cases, so you can rest assured your individual case will not be referred out to another law firm. Our cruise ship lawyers also take the time to carefully and extensively review the details of your particular incident to give your case the personal attention it deserves. When working with a cruise ship injury lawyer from our firm, you know that you will always have an ethical legal professional at your side who will tirelessly strive to keep you well informed regarding the status of your case. Moreover, our attorneys are dedicated to always making themselves available to offer you advice and support throughout the entire duration of your case.
As regulated by the Florida Bar, our lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you will never have to pay a single penny unless and until we obtain a successful recovery for your cruise ship injury case. Contact us today to work with an AV-rated lawyer who will diligently and passionately fight for your rights.
*Disclaimer required by the Florida Bar: The numbers above are the gross recoveries, before deduction for attorneys’ fees and expenses. Most cases result in a lower recovery. It should not be assumed that your case will have as beneficial a result.