Defenses Cruise Lines Use to Fight Miami Cruise Accident Claims

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

There is a deadline you must meet to file a lawsuit for a cruise ship accident, and allowing it to expire does create a valid defense for the cruise line. You must sue in court within one year of the incident, or your claim is forever barred by the statute of limitations. The time period may be paused or “tolled” if the victim is a child.

In addition, your contract for cruise passage may also include a time limitation. Most cruise lines require you to notify the company of your claim within six months.

Contributory Negligence

There is a legal concept that highlights the conduct of the victim in the accident, so your own negligence could be an issue in your cruise ship accident claim. If you were careless, reckless, or irresponsible in causing your own injuries, your compensation will be reduced. The concept of contributory or comparative negligence arises quite often with cruise ship accidents, where vacation often involves celebrating with alcohol. The cruise line will try to blame impairment to avoid paying a victim compensation, even when its own negligence was the main factor.


When you arrange your passenger ticket, you will see language regarding waivers. Cruise lines put these in the fine print, and then they will point to these clauses when a victim is injured in an accident. Looking at the waiver provisions, it might seem that you have no claim if you were hurt. While waivers may create challenges, they are not a strong defense for the cruise line. A waiver may be unenforceable based upon:

  • Clarity of the language;
  • Nature of the dangerous activities; and,
  • The circumstances when you signed it.

Fight Back With Help From a Miami Cruise Ship Accidents Lawyer

Cruise lines will attempt every possible tactic to avoid paying you fair compensation, but you can rely on our team at Gerson & Schwartz, PA, to aggressively fight any defenses. To learn more, please contact our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL. We can set up a free case assessment with an experienced Miami cruise ship accident attorney. 

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