What You Need To Know If You Get Sick Or Hurt On A Foreign Cruise
Many cruisers often wonder what will happen to them if they get hurt or sick while cruising outside of the United States. Cruise passengers certainly have a right to be concerned, as just about any maritime lawyer will tell you that the rules and laws tend to be a bit more complex when dealing with personal injury and sickness on foreign cruises. That said, there are a few things of which cruisers should be aware prior to setting sail on the high seas.
Pay Close Attention to the Language Used on the Ticket
Generally speaking, foreign cruises are those that do not originate from or end at a U.S. port. Depending on the ticket language, a cruiser might or might not have a right to sue in the U.S. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for individuals who are cruising for the first time (or even repeat cruisers) to forgo taking the time to thoroughly read the cruise ticket. But reading the document is crucial because it advises passengers of the exact terms and conditions of the trip, to include who can be sued, as well as the location of where an individual will be permitted to file a lawsuit.
For example, the document might select as the place in which a lawsuit must be brought, a country that may or may not be the country of origin or destination for the cruise. This could be problematic for a U.S. cruiser; however, under the law, there may be a way around that particular requirement. That is why it is important for anyone who has been injured or gotten sick while on a foreign cruise to work with a skilled maritime lawyer who may be able to find a legal loophole in the language of the ticket. With the help of a well-versed attorney, cruisers will be able to gain an understanding with regard to potential parties to a lawsuit and the possible limitations that might be placed on the damages sought.
Possible Defendants and Limitation of Damages
The ticket language might include terms that discuss who may be sued if a passenger gets hurt or sick while on a cruise; however, the reality of who those defendants might be may differ under the actual law. In general, individuals who sustain injuries or experience sickness while onboard a cruise ship will be entitled to sue the owner of the ship, the ship operator, the employers of the crew members who caused the injury or illness and possibly even the company who sold the vacation package. Given the potential number of individuals and entities that may be brought in as part of the suit, a thorough investigation will need to be done into the entire incident. The investigation may ultimately reveal that one or more parties might have an affiliation with the United States that will allow you as the injured or harmed individual to sue in the U.S.
With respect to the possible limitation of damages, cruisers should note that if the cruise is subject to an international treaty known as the Athens Passenger Convention, their damages could be substantially limited. But again, the language of the ticket must be very specific in order to invoke such a limitation. If you or someone you love has sustained an injury or gotten sick while on a foreign cruise, contact a knowledgeable maritime lawyer at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. today.