Lawsuits Against Cruise Lines

12 Skagway, Alaska May 2015Are you contemplating suing a particular cruise line? These suits are not uncommon. Recently, a group of 33 Carnival passengers sued Carnival Cruise Lines for damages after an engine fire left the cruise ship adrift for five days. The affected passengers asked the company to pay $5,000 per month for the remainder of their lives for mental anguish and medical expenses.  Their cruise ship, after suffering an engine fire, was left without power, air conditioning, and operating toilets. A federal judge in Florida heard arguments from each side. Said judge found that the cruise line was negligent for the engine fire and awarded damages to the class.       

There are countless reasons why you may wish to sue a cruise line. Maybe you were injured on the ship or suffered sickness from undercooked cruise ship food. Or maybe you were the victim of a crime on the ship due to lack of security measures. Or maybe the suspect was actually a crewmember! It is important that you consult your cruise ticket. This is because cruise lines inoculate themselves against passenger lawsuits by printing stringent terms on their tickets that require passengers to waive their right to a class action lawsuit.

Whatever the reason may be for your desired lawsuit, the process of taking action against a cruise line is quite complex. It is therefore highly advisable that you retain an experienced maritime attorney like the ones found at Gerson and Schwartz PA. We know the relevant laws and have over 80 combined years of representing cruise ship passengers and crewmembers that are injured.

Cruise Line Regulations

Upfront, cruise ships owe passengers the duty of safe transportation. If a passenger incurs an injury on the ship, he or she may file a lawsuit against the owner of the cruise line. Yet, your prospective claim may be subject to various cruise ship laws that dictate when and where a grieving passenger may file suit and even the applicable law.

Cruise lines today tend to use passenger ships that are registered under flags of foreign countries. Consequently, these ships are subject to the vessel inspection laws of the country in which they are registered. Furthermore, for a cruise ship to board passengers at a U.S. port, the U.S. Coast Guard must require the ship to meet the international convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). SOLAS and other similar regulations closely regulate crewing and crewmember competency, navigation safety, firefighting and lifesaving equipment, watercraft integrity and stability, safety management, vessel control, and environmental protection. The cruise line must comply with such regulations.    

When You Suffer an Injury on a Cruise Ship

If you are injured or if you are a victim of a crime on a cruise ship, you may sue to recover damages. These damages include medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages.  However, as indicated above, the court in which the lawsuit is to be filed may be governed by the terms on the cruise line ticket that you originally purchased. Normally, the cruise ticket will list where the case is to be heard and it will list which law applies. It is therefore important to carefully read your ticket. These powerful terms are sometimes printed in small letters on the back of the ticket. Your ticket may even dictate which state you must bring the lawsuit in. If you fail to follow the instructions on your ticket, and file suit in the wrong state, for instance, the Court may refuse to hear the case.    

Your cruise ticket may require an injured passenger to provide notice of his or her injury to the cruise line within a certain amount of time. The time frame is normally about six months from the date of injury. The typical statute of limitations for maritime and admiralty cases is three years from the date of injury. However, your ticket may indicate that all lawsuits against the cruise ship must be brought in Miami under Florida law, which maintains only a one-year statute of limitations period. It is important that you are aware of these time frames. If you fail to file your lawsuit within said periods, you are most likely barred from doing so later.

Hire an Attorney for Your Case

Again, there are countless complexities involved with suing a cruise line. For this reason it is critical that you hire an experienced attorney for your case. The Miami maritime lawyers at Gerson and Schwartz PA are here to help. We know the relevant laws and are licensed to practice law in all Florida state and federal courts. Our Florida law offices are located in the heart of Miami. Our attorneys have 80 years of collective experience handling maritime accident cases. Your case will be handled on a contingency fee. Thus, no money is owed to us unless we recover money on your behalf. Contact us today at for a consultation at 1-877-475-2905.

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