Have you been injured on a cruise ship or at a foreign port? You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering, and other damages. However, cruise ship accidents are notoriously complicated as they involve complex maritime law and strict limitations.
At Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers, we have decades of experience representing injury victims in cases involving cruise ship injuries and maritime law.
How Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help If You’ve Experienced an Accident on a Cruise Ship in Largo, FL
Cruise ship accident claims are complex and require injured passengers file a personal injury lawsuit in a federal court. Due to the complexity of maritime law involved in these cases, it’s crucial to choose an injury lawyer that is not only experienced with maritime law but also admitted to practice law in the courthouse in which you must file your claim.
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers has more than 75 years of combined experience helping personal injury victims hurt in cruise ship accidents. Our AV-rated firm has two Board Certified Civil Trial attorneys who have earned national recognition and recovered more than $100 million for our clients.
When you choose Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers to represent you in your cruise injury claim, we will put our resources and expertise to work to:
- Guide you through what you can expect during your injury claim
- Conduct a thorough investigation into your accident
- Work with experts to investigate your case, document your injuries, and prove negligence
- Fight any attempts to blame you for the accident or shift liability
- Negotiate on your behalf to reach a fair settlement deal
- Take your case to court if a fair settlement isn’t reached
Cruise ship injury claims are complicated and difficult, but you don’t need to do it alone. Call our law firm today to schedule a free case review with a compassionate Largo cruise ship accident lawyer who can help.
Understanding Cruise Ship Injuries & Maritime Law
Cruise ship injuries are very different than other types of personal injuries because they are sustained in foreign ports or foreign waters.
This triggers complex maritime laws and legal issues over jurisdiction and liability.
Under general maritime law in the United States, cruise ship companies owe passengers a legal duty as a common carrier to act with reasonable care.
If the cruise line or any of its crew members act with negligence and cause injuries, they can be held liable.
Under maritime law, you are required to prove the cruise line was at fault. This is different from strict liability claims as you must prove either intent to harm or negligence to bring a claim.
As a common carrier, cruise line companies owe a high duty of care to passengers and must abide by regulations to provide passengers with:
- Safe, sanitary food
- Stable, seaworthy ship
- Fire protection
- Competent crew members
- Safe navigation at sea
- Lifesaving equipment and competent medical staff
- Safe arrival at each destination
- Protection from crewmember assault and crime
- Protection from physical harm
- Reasonable search and rescue attempts for missing passengers
If you sustain an injury due to a cruise line’s negligence or a crew member’s intent to cause harm, you may be entitled to compensation for the damages you suffered.
How and Where Is a Personal Injury Claim Filed Against a Cruise Line in Florida?
One of the many complex rules regarding cruise ship accident claims is the lawsuit must be filed at the cruise line’s headquarters.
This is generally a requirement you agree to when you sign the cruise line’s liability waiver.
This can make filing a claim incredibly difficult as many injured passengers are from out of the state or even the country. The cruise line’s headquarters will not necessarily be in the same state as where you left port.
However, know that many major cruise lines are headquartered in Florida.
Every cruise line states specific districts of state and federal courts where you must file your claim. This is called a forum selection clause. The following are major cruise lines that require claims be filed in Florida.
- Carnival Cruise Lines: U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami-Dade County
- Celebrity Cruise Lines: U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami-Dade County
- Disney Cruise Line: U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida Orlando Division in Brevard County
- MSC Cruises: U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Broward County
- Norwegian Cruise Lines: U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami-Dade County
- Royal Caribbean Cruises: U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami-Dade County
If you are filing a claim against a cruise line based on Florida, you will need a Florida cruise ship accident lawyer to help you, not a lawyer in your home state if you are from out-of-state. Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers represents Florida residents and out-of-state residents in claims against Florida-based cruise lines.
Types of Cruise Ship Accidents in Largo, FL
At Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers, our Largo cruise ship accident lawyers have represented many victims of accidents and even crimes aboard cruise ships. You expect a dream vacation, but you may instead be left with serious injuries and complex hoops to jump through to even recover compensation.
Cruise ship accidents can happen in many ways, but the following are among the most common.
Slip and Falls
Slip and fall accidents are very common while aboard the ship. While a cruise ship has many of the same slip or fall hazards you would encounter anywhere else, such as a store or office, the marine environment introduces additional risks. A cruise ship slip and fall accident may be due to dangerous surfaces, negligence maintenance, or poor design.
Sadly, sexual assault aboard a cruise ship is not uncommon. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Cruise Line Incident Report, there were 35 reported sexual assaults between July 1 to September 30 in 2019 alone. Most assaults involve passengers.
If you are the victim of sexual assault on a cruise ship, the cruise line may be liable for your attack, particularly if the assault was committed by a crew member. Florida courts have upheld that cruise lines are strictly liable for sexual assault committed by crew members against passengers which removes the requirement to prove negligence or intent.
Cruise Ship Illness
Illness is definitely a common issue on cruise lines, particularly norovirus (stomach flu), Legionnaires Disease, and food poisoning. Norovirus is especially common on cruise ships and outbreaks often make the news. To recover compensation after acquiring an illness on a cruise ship, you must show that the cruise line was negligent in protecting passengers from illness.
With some illnesses, such as norovirus, it can be difficult to prove negligence as a cruise ship is a closed environment and germs can pass easily between passengers. This can make it hard to detect where the illness started. With food poisoning and Legionnaires Disease, however, negligence is almost always to blame.
Other Types of Cruise Ship Accidents
There are many other ways for a cruise ship accident to occur such as:
- Injuries sustained during onboard recreation
- Falling object accidents
- Medical malpractice onboard the ship
- Cruise ship fires
- Ship groundings, crashes, or sinking
- Falling overboard
- Onshore excursion accidents
If you have been injured in any type of accident onboard a cruise ship or at a foreign port, contact Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers as soon as possible. A cruise ship accident lawyer will help you protect your rights and build your claim.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit After a Cruise Ship Accident in Largo, Florida?
In most cases, you will have a very short one-year statute of limitations for a cruise ship lawsuit. If you do not file your claim within one year, you lose your right to recover compensation through the courts. However, it’s crucial to file your injury or wrongful death case as soon as possible to protect your rights.
With some cruise lines, such as Carnival Cruise Lines, you have the right to a full refund in some cases, but only if you file a claim and register a complaint within 24 hours of departure.
Reporting your accident promptly to the cruise line does not just help you recover a refund; it also provides documented proof that the accident happened and you reported it quickly.
Note that it is not just the legal statute of limitations to file a lawsuit that you must consider. Cruise lines generally use contract provisions to shorten the amount of time you have to report your injury. You may be required to give written notice of an intent to pursue a legal claim within just six months.
There are very strict limits when it comes to pursuing a cruise ship accident claim. These limitations reduce the amount of time you have to gather evidence, which is already complicated as the accident may have occurred on a ship or in a foreign country. Do not delay in contacting the experienced Largo cruise ship injury attorneys at Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers as soon as possible to protect your claim.
Contact a Largo Cruise Ship Accidents Lawyer for a Free Consultation
Have you been seriously hurt in a cruise ship accident? No matter how your accident occurred, a Largo maritime injury lawyer can help you investigate your case, protect your rights, and hold the responsible party accountable. Call our personal injury law firm today to schedule a free case review with an experienced Largo cruise ship accident lawyer who can help you fight for the compensation you deserve.