Miami Cruise Ship Lawyers
Holding Cruise Lines Accountable in Florida
At Flanagan & Bodenheimer Injury & Wrongful Death Law Firm, we represent passengers and crew members against cruise lines because we believe that every case that we bring helps to make your vacation or work environment safer.
Our Miami cruise ship lawyers also believe that the cruise lines collectively take advantage of, and mistreat, their passengers and crew. The U.S. cruise lines register their ships in foreign countries to avoid the labor laws of the United States, as well as provide terrible medical care to their passengers and crew and refuse to pay for appropriate and qualified doctors and facilities to make sure their passengers and crew are safe.
Oftentimes, when crew members are permanently injured from being overworked or working in dangerous environments, the cruise line sends them home to fend for themselves or provides them medical care with terrible doctors that make them worse. They force their crew members to waive their rights to a public jury trial in the United States in favor of a confidential arbitration under foreign laws where their mistreatment of the crew will be concealed from the media. We take our cases seriously and we believe that if we make the cruise lines’ mistakes or business decisions expensive enough, case-by-case we can force the cruise lines to change for the better. Our team is comprised of attorneys who understand the unique nature of cruise ship cases and have the courtroom and trial experience needed to go up against negligent companies.
Cruise Ship Claims We’ve Handled
The lawyers at our firm have years of experience litigating cruise ship injury cases. At any given time, we represent between 30 and 50 passengers and crew members against the cruise lines. By constantly litigating cases against the cruise lines, we know the inner workings of the cruise industry and exactly what information we need to prove your case. We are also familiar with all of the defense lawyers that represent the cruise lines and they know us.
Below are some of the most common cruise ship accident cases we handle.
Slip & Falls
Slip and falls are the most common causes of passenger and crew injury aboard cruise ships. There are many different causes of these accidents, including failure to clean a spill, failure to warn of a dangerous condition on the floor, failure to place a warning sign in a correct location, failure to install a flooring surface with a safe coefficient of friction, failure to comply with building and design standards, failure to use reasonable care in cleaning the ship, failure to repair damaged or worn out stairs and flooring surfaces, and countless other causes.
Medical negligence is a common occurrence on cruise ships. Cruise lines almost never hire American-trained or licensed doctors to work on their ships. Instead, they hire inexpensive doctors to provide care for their customers and employees when people have medical emergencies in the middle of the ocean. In addition, the cruise lines provide these unqualified doctors with minimal medical equipment to do their job. As a result, inappropriate medical treatment or misdiagnosis causes injuries to be much worse.
Whether this accident happens while the cruise ship is at sea or while in port, the cruise line has a duty to search for, locate, and rescue the victim. Man overboard cases are challenging to litigate and often emotionally draining for the victim. The most common defense in these cases is to blame the victim and claim it was a suicide attempt. Drowning cases most often involve children in the public swimming pools on ships. Despite the frequency of these incidents the cruise lines choose not to have a lifeguard watching the public pools. Again, the cruise industry often attempts to blame passengers for drowning.
What Is a Ticket Contract?
Florida is arguably the cruise capital of the world, as it contains some of the busiest ports by passenger volume including Port Miami, Port Everglades, and Port Canaveral. Port Miami, for example, had over 1,000 ships docked in 2017 and handled over 5.6 million passengers. When a passenger buys a ticket on a cruise, whether they know it or not, they are signing a ticket contract. The ticket contract that is signed by passengers is generally multiple pages of small font that looks something like a "terms of agreement" form that people encounter on a daily basis. These contracts are binding between the passenger and the cruise line and have important provisions that affect the rights of passengers if they are injured on a ship.
If you have been injured while on a cruise, you should know that time is of the essence. Your “ticket contract” issued by the cruise line will control when and where you have to file your lawsuit. Usually, the ticket contract requires that your lawsuit must be filed in Miami, Florida within one year of the date of your incident. In nearly all cases, you will be bound by this “ticket contract” whether you were aware of it or not.
You can find more information about suing each cruise line by clicking on the links below. Under most circumstances, the below cruise lines require that you sue them in federal court in Miami, Florida:
- Carnival Cruises
- Celebrity Cruises
- Royal Caribbean (American brand)
- Norwegian Cruise Line
- Regent Seven Seas
However, you must sue other cruise lines in different venues. For example, Disney Cruises (Magical Cruise Line) requires that it be sued by either the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida or Brevard County, Florida, Circuit Court. You must review your ticket contract to determine the venue applicable to your case. If you do not, you may jeopardize your ability to bring a case.
Your case may be dismissed if you fail to file your lawsuit in the correct venue within the statute of limitations. Read your ticket contract carefully and hire an attorney that actively handles cruise ship accident cases. By hiring a lawyer that does not actively handle these cases, you could jeopardize your ability to bring a claim. Your case may be dismissed if your lawyer does not comply with the terms of the ticket contract.
Call Us for Transparent Representation
Our firm has handled countless cruise ship claims before, including crewmember claims, sexual assault cases, and accidents involving specific cruise lines like Disney. We’re known for our commitment to transparency in all that we do, from keeping clients updated on their cases to being realistic with them about their options.
If you’ve been seriously injured while aboard a cruise ship or have a related claim, don’t hesitate to contact our Miami cruise ship lawyers. As a local firm, we know Florida’s unique statutes well. We also prioritize attorney-client relationships and strive to be accessible so we can answer all of our clients' questions and concerns when they have them. If you're looking to meet personally with an attorney who will drop everything to give you the care and attention you need, you've come to the right place.
Call (305) 615-6080 to take advantage of your free consultation.