Several major cruise lines are based in southern Florida, including: • Carnival • Norwegian • Celebrity • Silversea • Costa • Royal Carribean Several years ago, the United States Supreme Court upheld Carnival’s right to require passengers filing a cruise ship lawsuit to file their claims in Miami, regardless of where they live. This is what’s known as a forum selection clause, and after the Supreme Court ruling, all the other cruise lines started including them in the terms and conditions passengers agree to when they purchase tickets. How Cruise Lines Try to Limit Liability The forum selection clause is one way cruise lines discourage lawsuits. After all, if you live in Wisconsin, are you really going to go to the trouble of filing suit in Miami? Cruise lines also require passengers to notify the cruise line of any injury claims within six months of the injury, and to file suit within one year of an injury suffered while on a cruise. A Free Cruise Sounds Great, But … In some cases, cruise lines offer a free cruise as compensation for passengers injured, sickened, or assaulted on a cruise, but is that sufficient if the person has ongoing medical bills? Cruises are popular vacations for retired people, and a simple slip and fall injury can result in the need for ongoing medical care. Cruise Line Responses to Complaints Cruise ship lawsuits often happen after an injured passenger attempts to redress the problem with the cruise line and never hears back from them. If the cruise line successfully delays responding for a year, the injured passenger cannot sue due to the short statute of limitations on filing suit against a cruise line. From Idyllic to Terrifying In most cases cruises really are carefree and enjoyable. However, every year passengers are injured, assaulted, and sickened on cruises, and the lack of response from cruise lines compounds the suffering. A cruise line accident lawsuit
should be a last resort, but passengers should know that they do not have much time. Contacting an experienced cruise accident attorney should be an injured passenger’s next step after receiving medical care.