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A cruise ship accident can be a hectic and jarring occasion. You are expecting nothing but rest and relaxation, and instead are met with pain, suffering, confusion, and more. What do you do if this happens on your cruise ship? Calling a cruise ship lawyer, such as Irwin Law Firm in Miami, Florida, can help you navigate the road ahead and seek compensation if necessary. 


Maritime Law

One crucial component of the accident is whether you are on International waters or still on a United States port when the incident happened. If you are on navigable waters when the accident or injury occurred, then maritime law will apply in this situation. Maritime law is when a cruise line is held liable for a cruise ship accident only if a plaintiff can show that a ship’s operator knew or should have known about an unsafe condition on the ship. This law then may limit a passenger’s right for compensation and usually differs from the usual liability laws. 


If the incident occurred when the cruise ship was not in navigable waters and was still in the United States, the ship may be considered a common carrier. This means that the cruise ship has a heightened duty of care to its passengers, providing safe transportation. This extends to events that may happen outside of the cruise ship’s normal responsibilities, such as sexual assault or battery. A cruise ship should have security cameras installed along with lighted public areas, and run background checks on all their employees to ensure complete safety for all passengers. 


Cruise Ship Accidents

The most common accidents to occur on a cruise ship usually involve slips and falls, dock accidents, falling overboard, fallen objects, swimming pool or water slide injuries, and injuries that occurred while on excursions off the ship and on the shore. There can also be instances of sexual assault or abuse, harrassment and battery. Most cruise ships will have certain liabilities included, most often in the form of contract provisions on their passenger tickets. These may be waivers associated with shipboard activities or restrictions on how long you have to file a claim if you did experience an accident. There may also be other restrictions included, such as the location of the accident. Some cruise liners will try to limit passengers to filing a lawsuit in certain cities that contain ports, such as Miami or Los Angeles, even if the cruise liner is boarding passengers from locations in other states. Another clause, called the “choice of law”, can specify what law is to be applied in the event of a dispute. Courts will consider where the incident occurred, the cruise line’s potential negligence, the place of the contract, the accessibility and law of the foreign forum to decide whether they will uphold the clauses. Having the substantive and procedural law on your side will dramatically improve your chances of a positive outcome on your case.       


Seeking Compensation

In general, most passengers will have around 180 days after the accident to notify the cruise ship of the claim and any additional details associated with it. You will then have limited time to bring the lawsuit to fruition, sometimes as short as a year, depending on the cruise ship’s restrictions. It’s critical to call a cruise ship lawyer as soon as possible if you find yourself in a negligence accident, so you can get the compensation you deserve. 


Contact Us

Ready to contact a cruise ship lawyer for your incident? Having the legal backing of Irwin Law Firm can help you prepare for a lawsuit following your cruise ship accident. We have the tenacity and knowledge to help you win your case in Miami. Call us today!