Can I Handle My Own Case?

It is possible for you to handle your own case in the absence of an injury lawyer, but it would be hard to find anyone that would recommend it. The simple truth is that, if you attempt to handle your own case, the cruise line will likely not take your claim seriously, won’t consider you a threat, and will pay you as little as possible to settle your claim. We have seen cases where a passenger attempted to handle their own case and realized far too late that they needed an attorney. At that point in time, this passenger was unable to find an attorney that was willing to take the case because it was beyond repair. When you hire an experienced maritime attorney, the cruise line knows that your case is serious, and that they will have to pay full value to resolve your claim or take the case to trial.

Do I Need a Maritime and Admiralty Law Attorney?

If you’ve been injured as the result of a cruise ship accident, you should consider hiring an experienced maritime and admiralty law attorney for several reasons.

First, admiralty and maritime law is a body of law that dates back hundreds of years. Much of admiralty and maritime law remains unchanged from the 1800s when international shipping and offshore fishing was extremely dangerous. This was a time when modern cruising did not exist. As a result, many of the laws are complex, counter-intuitive, and heavily favor ship owners. Further, the cruise lines have billions of dollars to hire top-notch attorneys to work for them. You can bet that the cruise lines’ attorneys are intimately familiar with admiralty and maritime law, and that they specialize in this area of practice. When encountering an attorney representing a passenger or crew member who does not specialize in admiralty and maritime law, the cruise lines’ attorneys use this to their advantage. You need an attorney that has experience handling maritime cases, their unique accompanying legal issues, and one that has dealt with the cruise lines’ attorneys to ensure that you obtain a successful case result.

Second, each cruise line forces its passengers to enter into ticket contracts that may drastically alter passengers’ rights once they board the ship. The cruise lines use these ticket contracts to benefit them and to make filing a lawsuit against them more difficult. For example, many cruise lines require that passengers file any potential lawsuit in Florida even though many passengers that are injured on cruises do not live in Florida. As a result, many of these passengers will not bring a claim if they have to sue in Florida, believing it will be too difficult. Many cruise lines also require that cases filed against them be brought in Federal Court, which is known for being more challenging. Accordingly, many attorneys do not want to handle cases against major companies with millions of dollars to defend their cases in Federal Court. And finally, many people and attorneys who are not familiar with these cases will miss the shortened statute of limitations and be forever barred from bringing a claim against the cruise line.

For the most optimal outcome, you need an aggressive and experienced maritime attorney to represent you in your claim for injuries against the cruise line. Our firm is experienced in litigating cases against the cruise lines and we are experienced maritime attorneys.

Unfortunately, we have been contacted by people who have been seriously injured on cruise ships who were unaware of these unique issues. Recently, we were called by an attorney for a passenger who fell as a result of a well-known defective flooring surface used on a cruise ship. This passenger suffered a major injury and spent the past two years undergoing repeat knee surgeries that eventually resulted in a total knee replacement. If you read the above, you probably spotted the issue already. The accident happened two years ago. The statute of limitations requires that a lawsuit be filed within one year of the date of the accident. Therefore, this young woman who suffered a terrible injury missed the statute of limitations. Once the statute of limitation date passes, there is nothing that any lawyer can do to revive her case. Unfortunately, the woman chose to hire a local lawyer and family friend who was not a maritime attorney. We had to inform the attorney that although the statute of limitations in maritime cases generally is three years, the cruise line shortened the statute of limitations to one year in the ticket contract. We also had to inform the attorney that he should call his legal malpractice insurance carrier.

Don’t make the same mistake. Contact us today at (888) 216-8699 to schedule a free case evaluation.