Vacation cruise lines have a large amount of resources at their disposal. Teams of attorneys, investigators, paralegals, and doctors are ready to testify on their behalf should they be sued by an injured passenger. Unfortunately, the laws regarding the rights of people injured aboard cruise ships protect the cruise industry, not the passengers. Most cruise companies have a 1-year statute of limitations included in the fine print of their tickets. This statute mandates that a passenger injured on a cruise ship file their claim with the court within 1 year of the incident. In contrast, if you were rear-ended by a cruise company’s vehicle at the port of Miami, you would have 4 years to file a lawsuit. Additionally, cruise line cases must be filed in federal court instead of state court.
A cruise ship operator must exercise reasonable care for the safety of its passengers, in accordance with maritime law, and can be held liable for injuries caused by negligence or willful actions, regardless of fault or intent. Under maritime law, determining negligence depends on whether or not a “reasonably careful ship operator” would have been aware of the hazard if in a similar situation. If you plan to sue a cruise line, you will want to find witnesses, particularly expert witnesses, as well as present evidence pointing to the operator’s negligence. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you with this process.
Usually, passengers can sue the operators of a cruise ship for injuries caused by employees. However, courts vary on this issue. Most courts hold the ship’s operator liable for an injury caused by a crew member’s willful intent or negligence. This rule may also apply when crew members and passengers are onshore during a port of call. Independent contractors aboard the ship, like doctors or associated healthcare providers, are exempt from this rule.
Have you been injured aboard a cruise ship? Thinking of suing the cruise line? Let us help you today! We are passionate about helping you exercise your rights. Contact our Hawaii personal injury lawyers to find out how we can help build your case.