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It is tragic and unfortunate to be involved in a cruise ship accident on what was expected to be the trip of a lifetime for you and your family. Unfortunately, according to recent statistics, the potential for fatal and injury-causing incidents is higher than you think. From 2005 to 2011, 16 people have lost their lives in cruise ship mishaps. Another 300 individuals suffered injuries while on a cruise, and more than 150 cruise passengers have gone missing from vessels. 

Like personal injury accidents that occur on land, you do have rights if you were hurt or someone close to you died on a cruise. However, these cases are very different from what you might know about Florida’s personal injury laws. Make sure to reach out to a Miami cruise ship accident lawyer right away since timing is one important factor that you need to know.

Timing and Deadlines for Cruise Accident Claims

Cruise vacations have always been popular in South Florida, but recent data indicates that they are becoming even more so since the unfortunate lockdowns of the COVID pandemic. According to industry researchers at Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the cruise tourism forecast for 2023 was predicted to exceed 2019 levels by 6%. These figures would mean around 31.5 passengers took cruises for 2023, though exact data is still being compiled. To support the industry, cruise operators employ approximately 200,000 workers globally. 

The vast majority of these employees do quality work for their positions, but there are some that do not act in the best interests of cruise passengers. Through intentional conduct or negligence, injuries can happen. Fortunately, you may have grounds to pursue the cruise line for damages if you were hurt. A Miami cruise ship accident lawyer can assist with your claim, but some information on liability is useful for understanding your rights.

Liability and Potential Parties 

Whether you are cruising your first time or you take large ship vacations often, you expect your experience to be memorable in all the right ways. Unfortunately, serious and life-threatening injuries can happen when cruise operators are negligent. Cruise accidents have been on the rise in recent years and are forecast to increase. Statistics indicate Port Miami reported its busiest season in the history of cruise vacations for 2023, putting more passengers at risk of cruise ship accidents. 

When at sea and far from home, it can be difficult to think about what tasks you need to handle as an injured victim. You are in unfamiliar territory, yet it is essential to do all you can to protect your rights. One of your first priorities is consulting with a Miami cruise ship accident lawyer who can advise you on the legal process for recovering compensation. Plus, you can use some tips on what to do after you or a loved one was hurt in a cruise accident.

Report the Accident

The popping sound of a champagne cork disengaging from a bottle is the go-to file in the sound effects library when you want to indicate a festive atmosphere. The sight, sound, and smell of the spray of bubbles from a newly uncorked bottle of champagne evoke nostalgia for leisurely, convivial nights in much the way that the sight, sound, and smell of the sea foam make you nostalgic for leisurely days. 

Uncorking a champagne bottle at a party that you host in your own house is a rite of passage. There is always that fear that the cork will go rogue and damage the furniture that you spent so much money on in preparation for your housewarming party. When you buy a bottle of champagne in a restaurant, at least you can be sure that the restaurant server who is opening the bottle knows what they are doing. 

Most people have an instinctive fear of getting hit in the eye by a champagne cork because it can fly out of the bottle at 30 miles per hour; our reflex is to stand back. A champagne cork to the eye falls under the category of freak accidents, and a cruise ship is the last place anyone would expect it to happen. If you have been injured in a freak accident on a cruise ship, contact a Miami cruise ship accident lawyer.

A cruise vacation is supposed to be a time to connect with loved ones and enjoy a range of activities, both onboard the ship and ashore at exciting destination ports. You would never expect that accidents could ruin your trip, but they can happen on a cruise just as easily as at home. In a recent report, statistics indicate the various mishaps, accidents, and disasters that occurred on cruise vacations around the world in 2023. While some were minor incidents or disruptions, many passengers were affected by other accidents. Approximately 31.5 million people took cruise vacations during the year. 

Cruise ship accidents occur because of negligence by operators, crew, employees, and other parties that fail to ensure the safety of passengers. You do have legal remedies, so consult with a Miami cruise ship accident lawyer about how to recover monetary damages. A look at the most shocking mishaps on cruises in 2023 is also informative.

Engine Room Fire Prompts Evacuation

Unless you are a naturalized United States citizen, it is difficult to appreciate how easy it is to travel to most countries with a U.S. passport. In many countries, you can simply buy a modestly priced visa when you arrive at the airport, and some countries will simply stamp your passport and allow you to enter without a visa. When you travel to Canada or Mexico by ground transportation, you can simply show your passport card instead of getting your passport book stamped. Of course, no matter what country you are from, it is easy to understand how not having your passport with you is an emergency. Perhaps you know someone who misplaced a passport when traveling abroad and made a frantic call to the embassy to get a replacement. Several years ago, a child suffered serious complications from a minor injury he sustained on a cruise ship because of the cruise ship’s policy about passengers bringing passports. If a cruise ship company puts you in a dangerous situation that causes or worsens your injuries, contact a Miami cruise ship accident lawyer.

Child’s Minor Injury Turns Serious Because of Lack of Access to Medical Facilities

Although everything would change a month later, the cruise industry was still in full swing in February 2020. Three-year-old Roman Mejias and his mother, Nicole, went on a Gulf of Mexico cruise operated by Norwegian Cruise Line. The cruise line advised passengers who were United States citizens not to bring their passports. While on the cruise, Roman accidentally scraped his eyelid while playing with a toy car. His mother applied over-the-counter antibiotic ointment, but the scratch became infected, and eventually, Roman’s eyelid swelled to five times its normal size. Nicole asked the ship’s administrators to make port in Mexico so that she could take Roman to a hospital, but they refused since Roman and his mother did not have their passports. Nicole even called the U.S. consulate in Mexico, but she was unable to arrange for Roman to visit a hospital in Mexico.

What can go wrong on a cruise ship? A lot of things, and that is why cruise ships have infirmaries. Children fall down after running on pool decks. Raw oysters and rare steaks cause foodborne illness. Anyone would get sick after a certain number of rum runners, especially if they consumed them after an unlimited buffet full of escargot, conch fritters, and cheesecake, which they attended only a few hours after a champagne brunch. Of course, cruises also carry hazards that are too big for the infirmary to deal with, such as shipwrecks and mutinies. Shore excursions are, in theory, the least risky part of going on a cruise, if only because the hospital facilities on dry land are much more advanced. In fact, cruise ships should make emergency stops at nearby ports when a passenger becomes severely ill and requires medical treatment beyond what the ship’s infirmary can provide. If your injuries got worse because a cruise ship’s infirmary failed to provide appropriate treatment, contact a Miami cruise ship accident lawyer.

Anteater Scratches are Not Among the Most Common Reasons for Visits to the Ship’s Infirmary

Going on a Disney cruise is about the least adventuresome way to experience South America. If it is a true adventure you are seeking, you go hiking in the Amazon rainforest or mountain climbing in the Andes. People go on Disney cruises because they want some peace and quiet, punctuated by champagne brunches, not because they want to come face to snout with wild animals.

A certain subset of the senior population enjoys going on cruises; every winter, legions of grandparents fly into Fort Lauderdale International Airport, board a shuttle bus to Port Everglades, and then sail away on a cruise ship to spend the harshest weeks of winter island hopping, lounging on the pool deck, or dancing in the ship’s ballroom. For seniors who have the good sense to retire to Florida, cruise ship adventures are within commuting distance, and even when they are at home on dry land, the weather is usually conducive to the kinds of activities that lead the elderly to seek out Caribbean cruises in the first place, such as walks on the beach, swimming, and mini golf. 

Several years ago, a healthy 85-year-old man set out on a cruise, but due to a medical error at the ship’s infirmary, he suffered a permanent decline in health. If you have suffered a serious injury because of a medical error at a cruise ship’s infirmary, contact a Miami cruise ship accident lawyer.

Previously Healthy Octogenarian Returns From Cruise as an Invalid

You can probably guess that the cruise vacation industry is worth billions, but it is still staggering to review the statistics. Data on cruise industry market share and revenue trends reveals that the global cruise market was worth $7.67 billion in 2022, and the US is half that at $3.84 billion. Plus, this number is expected to grow to $18.3 billion by the end of 2030. As one of the busiest cruise ports in Florida, Miami’s cruise industry is well-positioned to pocket a large share of this growth. 

Unfortunately, raking in millions of dollars does not lead Miami cruise lines to be generous when their own negligence causes injuries to passengers. To protect their profits, they will present every possible defense to avoid liability. In most cases, the defenses are weak. However, because there are some that could affect your rights, you will need help from a Miami cruise ship accident attorney. Some background is helpful.

Statute of Limitations

Accidents on cruise ships are common, and they cause injuries to numerous passengers every year. These incidents rarely lead to loss of life, but fatal accidents do happen. However, they are not covered by the same Florida wrongful death laws that would apply if the fatality occurred on land. Instead, the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) governs the legal process. Once a cruise ship travels beyond three nautical miles from the shore of the US, DOHSA is the statute that provides victims with legal remedies. 

DOHSA was originally intended to protect workers at sea by allowing family members to seek compensation after the employee’s death. The law does apply to fatal accidents on cruise ships, so it is critical to get help with your remedies if your family is affected. A Miami cruise ship accident lawyer will assist with all legal requirements, but you can read on for some background about DOHSA.

Overview of DOHSA

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