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Why You Need a Cruise Accident Lawyer

No one wants to suffer an accident during their cruise vacation – but it happens.  If the accident wasn’t your fault, you may be wondering how you can get the cruise company to promptly address your economic and non-economic damages.  In today’s post, we review some of the reasons why contacting an experienced cruise accident lawyer is essential to obtaining the best possible outcome on your injury case.

The cruise accident lawyers at Flanagan Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Law Firm specialize in helping injured cruise passengers recover against the cruise lines. To request a free case evaluation, contact the Firm today.

Specialized Experience and Knowledge

If you are injured in a cruise accident it can be tempting to contact a local lawyer for help.  However, your local lawyer might do you more harm than good by treating your cruise accident case like an ordinary personal injury case.  While the principles of negligence are universal among personal injury cases, the similarities stop there as maritime law and the other specific regulations that apply to cruise law are different. Additionally, an experienced cruise accident lawyer will be well-aware of the major cruise line’s ticket contracts and lawsuit filing requirements. Failure to comply with these legal hurdles will result in the dismissal of your case.

Ticket Contracts

Passenger cruise accident cases are subject to a “ticket contract.”

When you purchased your cruise ticket you agreed to the terms of the cruise line’s ticket contract.  This is true whether you read it, or not. Ticket contracts are several thousand words long and often favor the cruise line. The ticket contract will effect your right to compensation for the negligence of the cruise line and its employees. Moreover, most ticket contracts significantly impact the statute of limitations for cruise accident claims and the lawsuit filing requirements.

Ticket Contract Details

Below are some examples of how your cruise ticket contract effects your rights:

Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations defines the deadline for when you must file a lawsuit. In a typical maritime injury case, the statute of limitations is three years from the date of the injury.  This means that you would have three years from the date of your injury to file a lawsuit against the defendants. However, most cruise ticket contracts dramatically shorten this time period to only one year.  The purpose of this dramatically shortened filing deadline is to be a trap for the unwary lawyer or passenger. Routinely, courts have dismissed passenger cases for failure to comply with this deadline.

Forum selection clause

When you choose to file a lawsuit against a person or entity, you usually can choose where to file. This is not the case when filing a lawsuit against a cruise line.  Most cruise ticket contracts specify that your case must be filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Therefore, your legal proceedings will take place here, in Florida, whether you have ever been to Florida or not.  If you fail to file your case in the appropriate court within the one-year deadline your case may be dismissed.  Please see our page on ticket contract forum selection clauses for more information.

Notice Requirements

Many cruise ship ticket contracts require that passengers provide written notice of their claim to the cruise line within 180 days of the date of their incident.  Failure to do so may be grounds for dismissal of your claim.  There are exceptions to this rule.  You should contact an experienced cruise accident attorney to determine if your case meets an exception to this rule.

You should contact an experienced cruise accident lawyer to ensure that your case is presented to the correct court within the timeframe required by the ticket contract.  Out of state lawyers contact us regularly to handle cruise accident cases for their clients.  Unfortunately, we have declined many cases because the referring lawyer failed to comply with the ticket contract and waited too long, sometimes years too long, to contact us.  Don’t make the same mistake.

Miami Cruise Accident Lawyer

Cruise ship passengers and crew members need the help of an experienced cruise accident lawyer.  The lawyers at our Firm have handled hundreds of cruise ship accident cases and claims.  Contact our office today to request your free case evaluation.  We look forward to putting our experience to work for you.