The Dangers of Shore Excursions

For cruise trips, shore excursions are rapidly growing in popularity and variety. Shore excursions help maintain the interest and attention of passengers of a particular cruise. Excursions typically offer access to a wide variety of tourist areas that are different from the ports and harbors where the cruise ship rests. They are also popular because by booking a specific excursion, the individual does not have to stress about sightseeing on this or her own. Instead, the cruise ship will take care of this. The cruise company will choose a relevant and necessary onshore tourist site and allow the individual to enjoy the highest quality of time there.

Albeit fun and convenient, excursion accidents do happen, and these accidents are sometimes tragic. Just last summer an Alaska sightseeing excursion plane crashed killing all nine passengers including the pilot! This plane was carrying cruise ship passengers on a shore excursion when it suddenly crashed near Ketchikan in the Misty Fjords area. Said plane was first reported missing at around 2:06 p.m., or 6:06 p.m. Eastern Time. Less than 30 minutes after the initial report, said plane was spotted by a helicopter crew against a granite rock face. Search and rescue teams then reached the crash site which was nearly 800 feet above Ella Lake.  

Maritime laws differ significantly from ordinary personal injury laws and are highly complex and unique. Maritime laws maintain several rules pertaining to the time you may file your claim, legal liability, and the amount of money recoverable from your case. Generally, maritime law consists of a combination of different bodies of law from federal statutes, international treaties, laws of contract, and even substantive foreign law. Many people are unaware that maritime laws may govern their accident. Thus, if you are injured in a maritime accident, you should contact a qualified Florida maritime attorney.

Maritime Law and its Complexities

Maritime laws differ from your ordinary personal injury laws. For example, if a person dies more than three nautical miles off the shore, the federal law “Death on the High Seas Act” (“DOHSA”) will apply instead of state law. DOHSA maintains that only the decedent’s personal representative may bring a claim on behalf of the decedent’s surviving relatives.

Additionally, pay attention to your cruise ship ticket as it normally lists contractual limitations to filing personal injury claims.  Normally, the cruise line will have you agree, in writing, to provisions requiring you to file lawsuits in foreign jurisdictions. Cruise lines may also insert provisions in attempt to disavow liability for various aspects of the trip, such as port-of-call excursions.      

Take Action for Your Case

Due to the complexities and variations in every maritime accident case, it is important that an experienced maritime lawyer represents you. The maritime law attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, PA are licensed to practice law in all Florida state and federal courts. We are affiliated with other lawyers in virtually all jurisdictions where we are not admitted to practice. Our attorneys have 80 years of collective experience handling such claims. We will take your civil case on a contingency basis. This means that you will not owe us anything unless we recover money on your behalf. Call us today for a FREE consultation.   

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