Most cruise passengers do not realize their tickets double as liability waivers. If you or a loved one sustains a cruise ship injury, the fine print on your ticket could limit your rights to file a lawsuit. The fine print on the back of the ticket, or the bottom of the print-out page, contains legal language that in essence protects the cruise company from legal responsibility in the event the passenger sustains an injury during the cruise. Purchasing the ticket and boarding the ship gives the passenger’s implied consent to the terms of the liability waiver. In other words, you are signifying your agreement with the cruise line’s terms and conditions.
Due to the fine print on cruise tickets, cruise passengers give up substantial rights upon purchase. It does not matter if the passenger understands the fine print, read the ticket, or never signed anything. Boarding the ship with the ticket means you must abide by its terms. If you suffer a personal injury on the ship and you wish to make a damage claim, you will only be able to file your claim where the cruise line has chosen. Odds are high that the company chose a jurisdiction with laws that are less favorable to you.
Should I Read the Fine Print on My Ticket?
If you book a cruise, you must read the fine print on the back of your cruise ticket. While reading dozens of pages of tedious small text is not the most fun way to prepare for your vacation, the information contained in this fine print could profoundly affect your rights. If you do not read it, you could end up agreeing to limitations on your rights you otherwise would not have accepted.
All cruise lines include clauses in the fine print that affect the rights of cruise passengers in many adverse ways. The limitations on your rights could range from a restriction making it impossible to recover compensation for lost valuables if a cruise loses luggage to a clause granting the cruise line the right to use videos and images of you in a commercial without your specific consent. While these clauses could be annoying and cause some financial loss, other more damaging clauses could also affect your rights if you get hurt on the ship.
Unfortunately, if you do not read the fine print, it may shock you to discover significant limitations that affect your right to pursue compensation even if you suffer serious injury due to the negligence of the cruise line. However, usually a cruise ship injury attorney at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. can help you to explore ways to make a claim for damages including sexual assault or injuries sustained during shore excursions even in light of the ticket limitations.
Rights You Give up in the Fine Print on a Cruise Ticket
The fine print on the back of your cruise ticket could actually include waivers of many important legal rights. Not reading and understanding the fine print will result in you being surprised at what you agreed to and the limitations imposed on you should something go wrong. Although the specific terms and conditions can vary from cruise line to cruise line, some of the common rights you give away when you board a cruise ship include:
- The right to privacy: Many cruise lines specify on the back of your ticket that they can use your likeness for any purpose without compensating or informing you. This means you could turn on the TV one day and unexpectedly find yourself in a cruise commercial.
- The right to compensation for lost valuables: Cruise lines typically limit their liability if they lose your luggage or you suffer a theft. Usually, they will pay you a small amount for loss, if anything at all. You may be limited to $50 or $100 max in compensation for lost luggage per cabin, which is going to be insufficient if you had valuables in your suitcase.
- The right to make a cruise injury claim in the location of your choosing or after too much time has passed. Cruise lines usually include forum selection clauses, which specify the location where you can sue the company. If you experience sexual assault or are otherwise hurt, you will have to travel to the cruise line’s chosen destination to pursue your claim.
- Limitations on the time you have to make a claim for a cruise ship injury or for sexual assault on a cruise ship: In many cases, the fine print on a cruise ticket will specify that all claims have to be filed within a designated period. For example, your ticket could say that you have just a year to make your claim.
- A choice of law clause. In some cases, the fine will even try to specify what specific laws will govern any claims made against the cruise line. For example, the fine print may say the Law of the Flag of the vessel will be the law applied.
These are just some of the many different limitations the fine print on a cruise ticket could impose on your right to make a claim for compensation. For this reason, you need to speak with an experienced cruise ship accident lawyers to find out how you can comply with the fine print while making a claim to get the compensation you deserve.
When to Contact a Cruise Ship Attorney
Cruise ship injuries and subsequent civil claims involve unique maritime laws and difficult liability questions. Do not let a cruise line get away with contributing to your injuries – especially if they are as serious as a spinal cord injury that resulted in permanent paralysis. Serious injuries deserve serious legal attention. You may be able to obtain compensation for your damages through a personal injury lawsuit.
Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. can assist you in protecting your interests and making an injury claim when possible, even in light of specific clauses and rules cruise lines impose in the fine print. Our cruise ship accident lawyers have had tremendous success helping clients to recover compensation after injuries on cruises, including injuries caused by rape or sexual assault. So always consult a lawyer if you think you might have a claim. Take advantage of our expertise in this complex yet sensitive area of the law, whether the incident happened on land or at sea. Call 888-311-9929 to schedule a free legal consultation.