Fort Lauderdale Cruise Ship Accident Attorney
Between the Port of Palm Beach, Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale), and the Port of Miami, more than 8 million people enter and leave South Florida’s Ports on cruise ships annually. With such a large number of people cruising in and out of South Florida Ports, accidents and injuries occur frequently.
Cruise ship accidents can include:
- Accidents on Shore Excursions into Foreign Ports
- Slip and Falls/Trip and Falls
- Accidents on Ships or Docks
- Diving Accidents
- On Board Incidents such as Sexual Assaults
- Health Issues and Seaborne Sicknesses
Is the Cruise Ship Responsible For My Fall Simply Because I Was Injured While Travelling On The Ship?
The short answer is no. A cruise ship owes its passengers a duty to maintain the ship in a reasonably dangerous condition, and to warn its passengers of dangerous conditions that the cruise ship knew about, or should have known about. What are dangerous conditions? Just about anything that puts you at a greater risk of being injured than what you would normally expect to encounter. It could be water or another liquid on the floor, it could be excessive cleaning liquid buildup left over from numerous cleanings, or a carpet that is bunched up causing someone to trip over it.
Our Fort Lauderdale cruise ship lawyers even handled a claim against one of the major cruise ship companies where the cruise ship captain and staff failed to keep a proper lookout for a floating buoy in the ocean, requiring the ship to take emergency evasive action to miss the buoy, and causing passengers and furniture to slide across the decks of the ship, resulting in numerous injuries. The ship’s staff is trained to look for dangerous conditions, and if you are injured because the staff has failed to eliminate or warn of the condition, you have a claim.
Timing is Critical
Cruise lines generally specify a period of one year from the date of an injury in which you can file suit. They also specify the exact city where suit must be brought. These specifications make it imperative that you contact a cruise injury attorney as soon as possible. Even if a cruise line seems amenable to settling, be aware that they may simply be stalling as a way to use up the one year statute of limitations without having to help you.
What to Expect After Injury on a Cruise
Medical facilities onboard cruise ships are usually very limited and may only carry basic equipment. After a cruise ship injury, getting a second opinion once you’re back on land is very important. Additionally, you must document the event, providing photos if possible because cruise lines have an interest in making such situations look like the passenger is at fault.
How Cruise Lines Try to Limit their Liability
The terms and conditions printed on your ticket and on the cruise line’s website can be very discouraging to injured passengers. Suits must be filed in certain venues, must be reported to the parent company within a very short time, and usually suits must be filed within one year from the date of injury. Cruise lines count on injured passengers giving up rather than pursuing the company with the help of a cruise line injury attorney.
How a Fort Lauderdale Cruise Ship Accident Attorney Approaches a Case
An experienced cruise line accident attorney knows all the tricks in the cruise line’s bag and understands the complicated nature of cruise injury claims. A competent cruise line accident lawyer is skilled in the applicable laws and needs to be aggressive, persistent, and experienced in order to be successful on your behalf.
How Cruise Lines Respond to Personal Injury Claims
If you contact a cruise line directly to report an injury, you will be lucky to hear back from the cruise line. At most they may offer you a refund or a free cruise. Cruise lines are adept at stalling so that the one-year statute of limitations for filing suit runs out before an injured passenger files. An experienced cruise line accident lawyer is the key to avoiding these problems.
A Fort Lauderdale Cruise Ship Accident Attorney Explains the Most Important First Step
What do you need to do after a cruise accident – GATHER EVIDENCE!
What we have learned from most serious cruise ship accidents is the dangerous condition that caused our clients to get injured gets cleaned up or fixed immediately after the accident occurs. Most passengers that get injured on cruise ships are taken to the ship’s infirmary – an on-board medical clinic. By the time you have been released from the infirmary, sometimes hours later, the area where you were injured has most likely been “accident proofed” – cleaned up with no evidence that an accident happened in the area.
When you suffer a serious injury on-board a cruise ship, one of the last things you think about is how you are going to prove your claim in court. However, there are some simple steps to take to make sure your claim is documented, and you can prove that the cruise ship is responsible for your injury:
- Report Your Accident To Ship Personnel –
as with most companies that are responsible for an accident, the first defense is Deny, Deny, Deny. Cruise ship companies are no different. Report your accident as soon as it happens, and seek medical attention in the Infirmary.
- Request An Incident Report Be Filled Out By The Ship Personnel –
to record the time, date, location, and facts surrounding your fall. If possible, request a copy of the Report before you leave the ship.
- Take Pictures of the area immediately after are injured –
today’s phones all contain a camera, and everybody carries a phone with them. It is very simple to take photos of the area to show your attorney, and the cruise ship when necessary. The old saying that “ a picture is worth a thousand words” definitely holds true for making an accident claim.
- Get Witness Names and Contact Info –
Once you leave the ship, you’ll probably never see your cruise-mates again. If another passenger is nearby when your accident occurred, and saw what happened, take down their name and phone number.
Why You Need a Fort Lauderdale Cruise Ship Accident Attorney
Cruise ship accidents can happen at any time—as a passenger is boarding or un-boarding the ship, walking up or down stairs on the ship, or down a hallway, getting on and off a launch which takes you into some exotic port, or during your ship sponsored trip into a foreign city. You can still do something about an injury that takes place while on dry land!
A Specialist Cruise Injury Attorney is Best
A cruise injury lawyer with experience against big cruise companies in court represents your best chance for a fair settlement from a cruise line after a cruise injury. Even the most competent lawyer can become confused about your rights if he or she has not dealt with specific cruise-related cases. If you want fair compensation for your cruise ship injury, you must be prepared to act swiftly and demand justice.
Depending on when and where your accident occurs, your claim may be controlled by Florida law, Federal Maritime law, or a law from a foreign port. An experienced Fort Lauderdale cruise ship accident attorney from our office can sort through the complex maze of laws which may apply and recover the maximum amount of compensation you deserve. Call today or complete our online form.