Tourism in Belize has blossomed in recent years. The small Central American county is only 176 miles long and 88 miles across (at its widest point), but it has a lot to offer in terms of beaches, scuba diving, and historical sites. Although poverty and safety concerns have kept visitors away for many years, those concerns are diminishing, and cruise line passengers and other tourists are discovering the delights of Belize.
Filing a Claim for a Belize Cruise Injury
Filing a claim for a Belize cruise injury is complex process that requires the help of an experienced maritime injury attorney, and in most cases one located in Miami, FL, as most of the cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Carnival, Celebrity, MSC, etc. are headquartered here in Miami. Hidden in the fine print of your passenger ticket is the requirement for all claims against these cruise lines to be filed in Federal Court in Miami, FL.
Belize has a stunning location along the east coast of Central America. It is bordered by Mexico and Guatemala, and the Caribbean islands are close by. This proximity to other major cruise destinations—most importantly Cozumel, Mexico—makes Belize an ideal stopping point for cruise operators. Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Celebrity, Princess, MSC, Aida, and Regent Seven Seas all make stops in this tiny country. In fact, Belize has become such a popular stopping point that Norwegian recently constructed its own port called Harvest Cave to lure even more passengers to the country.
While cruise tourism has significantly increased, there are still some pockets of crime and dilapidation in Belize City. The charming buildings are not well cared for, and most cruise companies recommend visiting the Mayan ruins or snorkeling off the coast, instead of visiting the city center. To avoid safety issues, it is a good idea for tourists to stay on the coast or on prearranged tours.
As with all cruise destinations, it is possible that passengers may be injured aboard their cruise ship in Belize. Wet, slippery floors, staircases, and a rocking ship can all lead to trips, slips, and falls aboard a cruise ship. Given the number of passengers aboard the major cruise lines, it is common for minor injuries to occur. However, docking in Belize is a unique experience that increases the chances of injury.
Cruise ships are unable to pull into a land-based port in Belize. Instead these bigger boats stop about five miles from shore, and a small shuttle service takes passengers to land. This small transfer boat is called a tender. Use of a tender is a regular occurrence in Belize, but moving passengers from ship to tender to land increases the likelihood of accidents or injuries while passengers are getting to shore. Some of these accidents are the fault of passengers, but in some instances, injuries aboard Belize cruise ships result from the negligence or omissions of the cruise operator.
People who trip, slip, fall, or are otherwise seriously injured aboard a cruise ship—or during transfer to and from Belize—may have a legal claim for damages against the cruise line. However, the validity of this claim depends on whether or not the injury was caused in part by the negligence of the cruise operator.
A cruise line could be negligent in various ways through its actions or failures to act. Some examples include failing to properly maintain the decks of the ship, the stairs, the elevators, or other areas. This would include failure to repair damage to the staircase or access point to the tender. An injury stemming directly from these omissions, or from other similar failures in maintenance or safety by the cruise line, could mean the passenger is entitled to compensation for medical care and costs stemming from the accident.
The best resource for discussing the circumstances of an injury and potential for compensation is a qualified maritime lawyer. Most cruise lines sailing to and from Belize require passengers to file any claim for personal injury in Miami, Florida, regardless of where the injury occurs. Therefore, a maritime lawyer in Miami will have the best and latest information for injured passengers.
Our lawyers at Aronfeld Trial Lawyers are dedicated to the practice of maritime law, and specifically to bringing personal injury claims against major cruise lines. Our experience and location in Southern Florida make us uniquely qualified to represent injured individuals in these cases. To discuss your case with a member of our legal team. call 1-866-507-4529 within the United States or +1(305)-441-0440 internationally, or reach us by email at [email protected].