By:   Jason R. Margulies

Each lawyer at Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A has significant experience in handling injury and death claims arising from cruise ship shore excursions.

When a cruise passenger suffers injury while on a shore excursion, the resulting litigation is one of the most complex types of maritime personal injury cases, needing the expertise of a skilled shore excursion accident lawyer. These cases are a unique and complicated area of the law because they are incidents which occur in foreign countries and involve foreign shore excursion operators, which raise issues regarding personal jurisdiction; that is, whether a court in Florida has power over a foreign defendant. Cruise lines often argue that these shore excursion operators are wholly independent from the cruise lines and, as such, the cruise lines maintain that they have no legal responsibility to the passenger while they are off the ship on an excursion. However, when one examines the facts and relationship between the cruise line and the excursion provider, it is often apparent that the excursion operators are either agents of, or joint venturers with, the cruise line. The cruise lines earn large profits from the excursions and control nearly every aspect of the contractual relationship between themselves and the excursion company.

When an unfortunate incident occurs to a passenger on an excursion, the cruise line rejects blame, attempting to force a passenger to seek recovery against the foreign shore excursion operator. Worse yet, most of the foreign shore excursion operators maintain that they have insufficient ties to the United States which would support an American Court’s jurisdiction over them, leaving a cruise passenger with effectively no recourse! However, an experienced lawyer can often navigate these rivers of legal deceit and establish jurisdiction over the excursion company; and prove the negligence of the cruise line and shore excursion operator. The cruise ship injury lawyer can uncover the frequent contacts that these excursions have with the United States in order to establish the Court’s jurisdiction over the foreign excursion providers. Through discovery into the process by which the cruise line should have investigated and established the safety of, and risks associated with, the excursion, the cruise lawyer can pinpoint where the cruise line failed to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of its passengers. An experienced lawyer can hold these entities responsible for failing to exercise reasonable care to furnish a reasonably safe excursion and, after an accident, failure to furnish reasonable aid and assistance as ordinarily prudent persons would render under similar circumstances.

The attorneys at Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman not only have extensive experience handling personal injury and wrongful death claims arising out of shore excursion accidents, but also have a proven track record of success in this area.

We have established legal precedent in a number of landmark cases that were taken to trial on behalf of our clients, and in the process, we have helped shape the law in these matters, expanding the legal rights of all shore excursion victims.

Our cruise ship lawyers are representing a number of the victims in a recent Royal Caribbean shore excursion accident in which a bus crashed, leaving some of the 36 passengers with injuries that will affect the rest of their lives. We have handled other similar incidents involving crashes during shore excursions which left many passengers injured. We continue to work tirelessly on our clients’ behalf in order to obtain for them the maximum recovery under the law, and to continue to try to expand the law regarding shore excursion liability.

If you have ever been on a cruise or researched various cruise options, you probably already know that there are a seemingly endless supply of “shore excursions” made available to cruisers in each and every port of call that a cruise ship makes. Shore excursions are a major money maker for the cruise industry, and on the flip side, they are also a source of many injuries to cruise ship passengers.

Sustaining an injury during a shore excursion is a lot different than being hurt while on the ship because it raises a host of issues regarding jurisdiction; that is, whether the shore excursion provider can be sued in the United States. These unique issues of maritime law make it all the more important to immediately contact an experience maritime attorney to help you navigate through what can be a very difficult time.

Perhaps most importantly, if you are hurt during a shore excursion, you are likely still subject to the one year statute of limitations. This means that you must hire a lawyer and file a lawsuit within one year of the date of the incident, otherwise you claim could be barred.

The cruise lines that provide information regarding the excursions often claim that such activities are “fun and safe.” Unsuspecting passengers who are interested in partaking of the excursions offered typically trust the cruise line’s word, especially if they are the ones advertising it online or onboard the ship. Sadly, though, just about any cruise ship injury lawyer can tell you that accidents do take place during shore excursions, and when they do, you might face a serious legal battle.

If a person is injured while on a shore excursion, he or she should be aware that liability for the accident can extend to a variety of different parties who may be at-fault; but holding all appropriate parties responsible can be a very complex and challenging process. As a matter of fact, a lot of the shore excursion agreements have clauses within them that try to waive or limit the cruise line’s or excursion operator’s liability. Still, anyone who has been hurt should contact a knowledgeable attorney right away to ensure that the most effective arguments are made under the law.

What Types of Accidents Can Occur During Shore Excursions?

When people think of shore excursions, they don’t often consider the possibility that they may get hurt while participating in the activity. Some of the injuries incurred may be more severe than others and some may require as little care as simple first aid, while others may need emergency medical attention. Nonetheless, a cruise ship injury lawyer who handles these types of cases on a regular basis knows that certain accidents that take place in relation to an excursion are more common than others.

For example, some participants might experience serious injuries during snorkeling and/or diving activities, zip-line activities, parasailing, rock climbing and hiking activities. Also, individuals who are taking part in shore excursions may get hurt due to accidents that take place on the transport vehicles that take them to and from the shore, as well as tender boat incidents.

Liability for Known Dangers at Ports of Call

Accident victims should note that the cruise lines on which they travel have a responsibility to warn their passengers about any ports of call that may have particularly dangerous areas within the places that their guests can reasonably be expected to tour or visit. If the cruise line does not warn its passengers of those potential dangers, and one of their passengers sustains an injury or gets attacked or assaulted, the cruise line might be held legally responsible for the damages sustained.

If you have been the victim of a crime, accident, or incident that has resulted in any kind of injury during a shore excursion, contact a lawyer from our firm as soon as possible after the incident so that we can help to preserve your rights and get you the compensation that you deserve.