Personal Injury Accidents on Cruise Ships
Whenever you take a vacation on a cruise, you never expect an accident to occur. While the possibility of your cruise ship crashing or having other technical complications is unlikely, even the most common types of personal injury claims can become complex legal issues due to your location. Just because a cruise ship is U.S.-based, meaning that it departs from a port on American soil, does not mean that the U.S. has sole jurisdiction over the incident. Even the simple task of filing a claim can be complicated because you’ll more than likely be dealing with foreign officials first. Depending on the location of the ship and the time of the incident, maritime law also comes into play.
A Common Carrier
When looking to legal definitions, cruise line services fall under that of a common carrier, or an individual or company that transports people along determined routes at fixed prices. This term includes can also include ferries, trains, airplanes, and busses.
Cruise ship companies that are based in the United State are obligated to provide a high degree of care with their passengers. In terms of liability, however, it is up to the passenger to show the company acted negligently. A majority of cruise ship companies, however, are not based in the U.S. and originate from countries of popular tourist destinations such as the Bahamas. This is because regulations are less strict, allowing for more leeway. In this case, an American passenger would turn to maritime law to determine the procedure for their case.
Make Sure to Read Your Ticket
Oftentimes, the information you may be unclear about when it comes to liability may be printed on the back of your boarding ticket. Typically, cruise lines will include sections such as a limited liability waiver, a venue clause, and a notice-requirement clause.
A limited liability waiver might include language that releases the cruise ship operator from certain types of suffering, such as emotional distress.
The venue clause predetermines where you are allowed to file a case should any accident or incident occur. Even if the cruise ship is registered elsewhere, it will have a U.S. state preselected where you will be required to file the lawsuit. Even if you live in a different state than the one listed, this could be your only option.
A notice-requirement clause includes a given time range in which an injury may be declared. Depending on the type of injury sustained, this window of time can vary, from a year to a few days. Cruise ships usually shorten the standard length of a three-year statute of limitations, so be wary of what could be expected of you.
Because of the complexity of cruise ship accident cases, it is always best to make sure you have an attorney that is experienced in this area of the law. If you or a loved one has been injured while enjoying a cruise line vacation, contact the Los Angeles Injury Group today at 310-954-7248.