West Palm Beach Cruise Ship Accident Lawyer
Florida Cruise Ship Accident Lawyers
When a passenger aboard a cruise ship is injured because of the negligent or malicious actions of the ship staff, the cruise ship may owe the passenger financial compensation for the injuries. Cruise ships owe passengers a “duty of care,” meaning that the owners or operators are responsible for ensuring the safety of passengers while on the ship or in port. Cruise ship claims may differ from other types of injury claims because of the involvement of state, federal, and maritime laws. It is important to contact an experienced cruise ship accident lawyer as soon as possible following a cruise on which injuries have occurred.
Cruise Ship Accident Claim Limitations
Most cruise ships limit the responsibility for accidents occurring on the ship by outlining the scope of responsibility on the cruise tickets. Passengers that have been injured must pay close attention to these outlined points, as the tickets serve as a contract between the passenger and cruise line. The time period for filing a claim is often limited to one year. The cruise line may also stipulate that the passenger must notify the ship management of the intent to file a claim within a shorter time frame such as six months.
Many cruise lines have begun to include clauses on cruise tickets stating that claims can only be filed in specific locations. Due to the high volume of cruise departures from Florida, many cruise lines require all cruise ship accident claims to be filed in Florida by a Florida attorney, regardless of the passenger’s state of residence or the departure point of the cruise on which the accident occurred. If a passenger or attorney is unaware of this location limitation, it may affect the victim’s ability to file the accident claim within the given amount of time.
Types of Cruise Ship Accident Claims
Cruise ship injuries can be caused by a number of dangerous situations, including:
- Falling overboard
- Contaminated food or water
- Fire onboard the ship
- Conducive conditions to slip and fall incidents
- Pool or water accidents
- Unsecured objects falling
- Sexual assault by a staff member or passenger
- Medical malpractice in the ship’s clinic
Cruise Accident Procedure
When a passenger sustains an injury while onboard a cruise ship, it is important that certain procedures are followed. The passenger should visit the “sick bay” or medical clinic that is provided on the ship. The medical facilities on cruise ships are often high quality, and may help the passenger to limit the long-term effects of the injury. The passenger may also receive immediate relief for the injury and advice about preventing further injury.
Medical Records as Evidence
In addition to helping to mitigate the damaging effects of the injury, visiting the ship’s medical center will also provide a written record of the incident that can later be used as evidence. The medical staff is trained to record details of the incident. This may help to support the passenger’s claims regarding the location and timing of the accident. This may also help to make the ship staff aware of dangerous situations.
Reporting the Accident
Even after visiting the medical facilities, it is important to report an accident to the management of the ship. This will help to solidify the validity of the accident. Cruise ship personnel will have a more difficult time proving that a claim is fraudulent if the accident was reported immediately. If the injury was caused by an abusive passenger or staff member, the ship management may be able to take action to prevent the abuser from harming more passengers.
Passengers that have been injured may wish to take photographs and write down details of the incident. This will help to keep the facts straight during the process of seeking compensation. Cruise ship personnel can sometimes be manipulative about what records are released, so having a personal account of the incident with photographic evidence will help to support claims.
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