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Jurisdiction and Passenger Rights Are Complex in a Cruise Lawsuit

Cruise ship with sunset in background

Nobody goes on a cruise vacation expecting to be injured, but if you plan on taking a cruise, be aware that the safety training of crew members may be questionable. Standards for safety training are murky, since so many ships are registered in countries where they are subject to the least regulation. If you suffer an injury onboard a cruise ship, it is important that you document the incident and the care you received. What Laws Apply if You’re Injured at Sea? While most cruise injuries are minor and resolve on their own, injuries on cruise ships can cause lasting problems, particularly in elderly people. While you are theoretically protected by U.S. laws on a cruise departing from South Florida, you may also be subject to maritime law as well as the legal conditions you agree to when you book your cruise. In the event of a cruise lawsuit, you need an attorney with experience specific to cruise cases. Medical Care Onboard Cruise Ships Many ship’s doctors are considered by cruise lines to be “contractors,” and cruise lines use this defense in the event of a cruise ship lawsuit after problematic medical care of a passenger. However, since passengers don’t have a choice of medical care provider on a cruise ship, courts may rule that the ship’s doctor is, effectively, a legal agent of the cruise company. Protect Your Rights If you’re hurt on a cruise, document the incident as thoroughly as possible and find out if the incident was caught on surveillance video (or if another passenger may have inadvertently captured it on video). Demand a copy of your shipboard medical record before you disembark. Call an Experienced Attorney Sooner Rather than Later If there is any possibility of a cruise ship lawsuit, contact an attorney with experience litigating against cruise lines in a court of law, and do so as soon as possible. With cruise ship injuries, you only have a year after the injury to bring a claim against the cruise line. Fighting a cruise line in court can be an uphill battle, but you can prevail if you have skilled, experienced legal representation.


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