Cruise Ship Accident
Florida is the cruise capital of the world. The Port of Miami is the number one global port for embarkations. In 2014, over 6.8 million passenger embarkations occurred in Florida, representing 62.3% of all embarkations in the US.
Cruise ships offer an entirely novel approach to vacationing. For a while, cruises were simply a form of transportation to get to a preferred destination. Today, cruise ships are becoming somewhat of the destinations themselves.
The experiences and amenities offered are unmatched, ranging from skydiving simulators, robotic bartenders, Broadway productions, celebrity chef kitchens to bumper cars.
As a result, when passengers embark on a cruise, they almost completely transfix their minds on having an all-round exciting, yet relaxing time on the cruise. For the most part, cruises meet or blow away the expectations of passengers. Sometimes however, cruise mishaps occur.
It is perhaps counter-intuitive that in trying to enliven the experiences of passengers, cruise ships present a different set of dangers to cruise pax.
Types of Cruise Ship Accidents
A vast range of activities take place on cruise ships. As a result, varying types of potential accidents may occur. The most common forms of cruise ship accidents include:
- Injuries resulting from slips, falls, or loss of balance
- Injuries resulting from floors that are not properly maintained
- Injuries resulting from malfunctions of mechanical components
- Injuries resulting from risky on-board activities
- Injuries resulting from sports and swimming activities
- Injuries that occur during on-shore tours
- Injuries resulting from staff negligence
- Complications resulting from contaminated beverages and food
- Complications resulting from absence of apt medical attention
- Complications resulting from been unable to respond timely to a passenger in distress
The Tortuous Nature of Cruise Ship Accident Claims
When compared to the usual process of obtaining compensation for common personal injury claims, claims relating to injuries sustained during a cruise ship accident take a different turn. The complicated turn is due to the peculiarity of how cruises operate.
Time Sensitive Waivers
To begin with, cruise lines seek to protect themselves from liability by appending waivers to passengers’ tickets that put a limit on the length of time during which an injured victim can file a claim.
This limit is usually 6 months from the day the injury occurred. Compared to the time limit enforced for other types of personal injury claims, the deadline for cruise ship accident claims are considerably shorter.
This underscores why it is important to contact a Fort Lauderdale cruise ship accident attorney as soon as possible. Failure to do so may result in loss of crucial evidence, or worse, the inability to file a claim.
Apparently, cruise ship operators and their agents are fond of waivers. Another common type of waiver issued by cruise lines is a “blanket waiver.” This waiver seeks to absolve the cruise ship, parent company, and agents of liability pertaining to any injuries a passenger incurs on the cruise.
In detail, these waivers absolve the cruise operator and agents of any liability relating to a wide range of conduct, from activities that occur on-board to injuries sustained during on-shore tours.
If you think cruise lines shouldn’t be allowed to have such free pass, the good news is that many courts agree and have on several occasions deemed blanked waivers to be unenforceable.
The bad news is that, whether a court upholds or opposes the legitimacy of a blanket waiver depends mainly on the facts presented before it for a specific case.
Of recent, an appellate court in Florida declared an electronic signature that waives a cruise operation of all liability relating to injuries incurred during a cruise to be non-enforceable.
The court took this position for a suit where the plaintiff sustained injury because of the negligence of one of the cruise ship employee. The employee had carelessly directed her to “surf” on deck.
You would need a knowledgeable attorney with remedial experience to contest blanket waivers successfully and obtain compensation.
Maritime Law and Forum Selection
Most times, cruise ships are on international waters where issues with jurisdiction can quickly arise and snowball into difficult challenges.
When accidents occur on non-U.S. waters, maritime law may complicate resolution of a claim. Maritime law treats liability for cruise ship accidents and claims differently.
Furthermore, when passengers want to file claims, the “forums” through which they can file their suit are limited. A majority of cruise operators add a “forum selection clause” to the passenger ticket that compels injured passengers to file their suit in Florida.
Navigating the trenches of maritime law and facing off an imposing defense requires the input of a personal injury attorney who possesses requisite trove of knowledge in cruise ship accident law.
Kenneth Padowitz, P.A. is a first-rate law firm with a brilliant team of Fort Lauderdale cruise ship accident attorneys at your service. Our firm can help in all kinds of claims for cruise ship accident injuries, owing to our broad experience from successfully prosecuting maritime personal injury suits.
Regardless of if the accident occurred on a cruise ship or on another type of ship, our extensive repertoire of knowledge and experience is the right touch to argue a claim fruitfully and recover compensation.
Our dedication is to our clients, and we prove we mean it by providing premier legal representation and commitment for victims in or outside Florida. Keep in touch with us today by giving us a call at 954-761-3888 or taking a few minutes to leave a message for us online.