It is a new year and cruise lines, like Carnival Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Discovery Cruises and Disney Cruise Line are all eager to attract those seeking an exciting cruise vacation. However, as an injured Cruise passenger lawyer, I am sure many of those heading to airports around the world to board one of the ships that conveniently cruise out of Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Port Canaveral will be surprised to know that, regardless of where the ship sails to, from or visits, if an accident or injury occurs on board the ship, the claim will have to be filed here in Miami in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. What may even be more surprising is that claims have to be filed in court within one year of the accident.
This takes many victims of a cruise ship slip and fall accidents by surprise as most states in the United States, including Florida, have a four year statute of limitations for a port side slip and fall. In other words, if you were to trip and fall over a defective tile in a port terminal in Florida the statute of limitations would be 4 years from the date of the fall. Walk up the gang plank and trip on board a Carnival Cruise Ship or a Norwegian Cruise Line Ship just a minute later and your legal right to sue Carnival goes from 4 years to 1.
Today’s modern cruise ships are like floating cities. For instance the Carnival Dream has a nearly 5000 passenger and crew capacity, open 24 hours with restaurants, spas, bars and casinos. Since Federal Law applies to injuries on board a ship or in port, it is important to consult with experienced cruise injury lawyers immediately after an incident has occurred.
In April 2010 sixty passengers aboard the Carnival Ecstasy were injured when the boat leaned suddenly to the left in the middle of the night in order to avoid a large buoy that was submerged off the coast of Mexico. Some frightened passengers thought the ship was going to sink. Carnival claimed that they had to do the emergency maneuver to avoid the buoy which was ” undetected” by the ship’s radar.
Cruise Ship Accidents can occur from slipping, tripping or falling on wet or improperly maintained surfaces. We recommend that if you are injured aboard a cruise ship you seek immediate medical attention, photograph the scene of the incident, particularly including what caused you to fall, and keep a detailed record of the names of any witnesses and crew that may have seen your accident and who come into contact with you. Also it is essential that you keep a copy of your cruise ship ticket also known as a contract of carriage as many cruise lines require it be attached to a complaint for a personal injury on a cruise.