Cruise Ship Accidents

Injuries and accidents can happen anytime, anywhere, including cruise ships. Injuries that occur on land can often be resolved through tort law, injury claims from a water born vessel, such as a cruise ship, is handled in a different manner. A cruise ship operator must show proper care for its passengers’ safety, as is requested by maritime law (admiralty law). The operator will have to bear the consequences of any injuries sustained to the passengers by way of negligence.

A reported 448 major cruise accidents have occurred since 2005.

Injured cruise ship passengers must file a claims report for damages sustained where the accident happened, no matter where they are from. Injured passengers can sue the cruise ship operators for injuries caused by employees, although attorneys may go against that notion.

The Cruise Ship Ticket as a Legal Contract

Legal information with a ship operator’s liability and where you can file a lawsuit is printed on the back of the cruise ship ticket and can be used by lawyers as proof a legal contract. A limited liability waiver is a clause that releases the operator from emotional distress liability, a forum-selection clause, and a notice-requirement clause.

A forum-selection clause tells the venue where the lawsuit for the accident was filed, which in most cases is Florida. Although it will cause inconvenience to passengers that live elsewhere, courts have recognized this clause as being reasonable.

A notice-requirement clause requires that the injured passenger files a claim for damages within the time stated in the contract. Maritime law is very generous with their statute of limitations giving a three-year period to claim personal injury. However, this clause may decrease to a period of 12 months if the injuries sustained aren’t visible.

Therefore, it is advised that you read the back of your cruise ship ticket before boarding.

Cruise Ship Accidents: Negligence

Cruise ship operators are not strictly liable for passengers’ injuries and must be found negligent or fully knowledgeable of what they did to cause the accident. Maritime law determines whether the act was negligible based on if the operator has a record of responsibility and did not know of the hazard that resulted in the injury. This law goes to show that even the most careful ship operator cannot foretell the future and see danger ahead.

The plaintiff’s lawyer will advise them to get an expert witness or evidence proving negligence.

Injuries Caused by Cruise Ship Employees

A negligent employee that causes accident or injury to the passenger will not be personally held accountable for their wrong; because some courts reason that a careful ship operator should have foreseen the employee’s actions. This applies to all employees except health care professionals that are independent contractors, properly trained and licensed.

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