A Florida court recently heard an appeal in a cruise ship personal injury case. However, rather than the more common personal injury case brought by a passenger, this case was being brought by a gentleman who was working under contract to conduct art auctions on cruise ships. A Serbian national and resident, the plaintiff brought the suit against the company he was working for, alleging that he injured his back while working. He initially filed the suit with the Miami-Dade circuit court, but the court dismissed the case pursuant to a mandatory forum selection clause.
Relevant to the case at hand, the forum selection clause stated that all legal proceedings, brought by either party, relating to the contract were to be brought in the Turks and Caicos Islands, except that the defendant company could sue in other forums if it was in pursuit of obtaining an injunction as related to the confidentiality and non-compete provisions of the contract.
On appeal, the court found the mandatory forum selection clause passed the legal test as being valid and enforceable because it did not believe that the forum was unjust and unreasonable so as to constitute no forum at all. Specifically, the court found that because the Turks and Caicos Islands are a British Territory and are thus a part of the British common law system, therefore any necessary appeals would come to the highest courts of the United Kingdom. The court stated its opinion that these courts were certainly capable of reviewing the relevant evidence and determining the applicability of relevant law. Thus, it did not find that the courts constituted “no forum at all.”
The decision dismissing the case was thus affirmed.
This case is highly relevant to any cruise ship personal injury plaintiff, as many people do not realize that cruise ship tickets contain forum selection clauses which severely restrict where cases may be brought against the cruise line should an incident occur. It has been reported that in some cases copies of the ticket terms aren’t even given to passengers, but rather a reference to an online posting of the terms and conditions is all that is provided. In addition to these forum selection clauses, companies can also insert shortened statute of limitation terms, require written notice of intent to sue, etc.
If you were injured on a cruise ship and the incident or event was not documented while on board, the failure to notify can potentially bar a later law suit. These incredibly short time limitations leave little opportunity for investigation to gather evidence and sort out legal claims. This means that it is typically in your best interests act quickly to retain a qualified lawyer to investigate the facts, gather evidence, and analyze all potential legal issues. If the cruise line’s negligence caused your injury do not wait to contact an attorney. No client ever acts too soon. Unfortunately, some act too late.
If you or a loved one were injured aboard a cruise ship, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries or suffering. Our firm’s experienced and specialized cruise ship attorneys in Miami help assure that victims of negligence receive fair and just compensation. If you were injured due to a cruise line’s negligence, contact the Miami personal injury law offices of Gerson & Schwartz, PA. For a free case consultation, call 877-475-2905 today.
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Child Falls From Ship in Tragic Miami Port Cruise Accident, Cruise Ship Accident Lawyer Blog, published October 25, 2017