Steps to Follow When Filing a Claim Against a Cruise Line Company

Personal injury is a legal concept that aims to give victims the chance at getting justice for their mishaps. A cruise line company is one of many entities that can be held responsible under such laws. If you or a loved one have suffered injuries involving one, a cruise ship accident lawyer is your best bet at bringing such a company to book. 

This guide will detail the necessary steps to hold a cruise line company accountable when someone suffers personal injury aboard one of their vessels. 

Filing a Claim and Issues of Liability

Every year, millions of people use boats and other sea vessels to go on vacation or some other leisurely trips. Most such vessels are operated by large cruise line companies. While enjoyment is the main aim of boarding such vessels, accidents do occur sometimes. Depending on the cause and extent of injuries suffered by victims, there could be legal grounds for suing the cruise line company. 

Filing a legal claim is perhaps the only way that a victim of an accident aboard a cruise ship or any such vessel can get legal redress. 

Nearly all cruise line companies try as much as possible to absolve themselves of any responsibility when injuries occur on their vessels. Before boarding any such vessels, passengers usually have to sign a contract. The gist of such a contract is that the cruise line isn’t responsible for any injuries or deaths unless otherwise. 

A typical contract stating this might read along the lines of “…this cruise line is not responsible for any illnesses, injuries, or deaths that occur aboard its ships unless negligence can be proven.” Legally speaking, such language is considered a liability waiver. This means that the passenger has very little wiggle room to file a claim in the event of an injury or death. In many cases, such a waiver is also printed on the back of the tickets purchased by the passengers, effectively making them legally binding documents.

Such a document, however, doesn’t cover the cruise line company if it can be proven that they (or one of their employees) acted negligently. This is usually the only way for an injured passenger to file a successful claim.

Common Causes of Injuries

When it comes to cruise ships and other such vessels, injuries, and death could be caused by several factors. Common ones include:

  1. i) Malfunctioning elevators or poorly-maintained staircases, banisters, or other such public areas of a ship
  2. ii) Wet floors without proper signage to indicate their condition

iii) Loose handrails that lead to a tumble and a fall

  1. iv) Uneven floors that lead to slip and fall injuries
  2. v) Negligent staff that fails to carry out proper maintenance duties. A good example is when the cleaning crew leaves a tool lying around that ultimately injures a passenger

What to Do When Filing a Claim

Once you’ve suffered a mishap aboard a vessel belonging to a cruise line company, filing a claim is the next step. Depending on whether or not you’ve suffered severe injuries, you’ll want to do that as quickly as possible.

The basic steps involved include:

1)Gathering Evidence

Evidence is key in any lawsuit, especially when injuries are involved. For instance, if you slipped and fell aboard a ship, you’ll need to prove that this fall happened due to negligence on the ship crew’s part. Perhaps there was a wet surface that caused you to slip and fall, resulting in fractures. Maybe the carpeting on the floor was loose and torn, getting tangled with your shoe and causing you to fall. You’ll need to take pictures of such things and document them as much as possible.

Witness statements can also be crucial evidence. If you sustained the injury in a public area of the ship, talk to those nearby. The idea is to ensure that you have as much proof as possible.

If you’ve sustained serious injuries to warrant medical attention, ensure that the medical personal documents all such injuries in great detail. This will prove useful later on.

2) Going to Court

Once you have all the evidence, it’s time to file your claim. It’s crucial to remember that filing such a claim cannot happen in a jurisdiction of your choosing. Usually, the cruise ship ticket stipulates this. For example, a cruise line company may state that any claims against them can only be filed in a particular state or city. This means that you’ll have to go to such a location and file your claim. Similarly, there may be a time constraint when it comes to filing such claims. For instance, you may have only 90 days from the day of the incident to file any claims.

It’s crucial to remember that the courts may make exceptions to some of these cases. A good example is when a death occurs on a cruise ship. If such a death is due to negligence, then the statute of limitations in that particular jurisdiction will supersede any time limits stated by the cruise line company. 

3) Get a Lawyer

Ideally, you want to contact a cruise ship lawyer as soon as possible. However, this isn’t always possible. If the accident occurred while the ship was far from the shore, you may find it challenging to contact a lawyer quickly enough. However, you should do this as soon as you can. Having legal representation ensures that you do things properly. Your lawyer will know about little but crucial details that could prove pivotal in your case later on. Hire an experienced lawyer that focuses on handling cruise ship claims.

Some cruise line companies stipulate that you inform them of your intent to file a claim against them. It’s best to read the fine print of any ticket or contract you may have with the company. It ensures that you’re not caught off guard later on when filing your claim. If you’ve managed to get a lawyer to represent you soon after the incident, it’ll become easier to avoid many of the pitfalls that could derail your claim.

Contact Aronfeld Trial Lawyers

If you believe you have any claims against a cruise line company, reach out to our attorneys at Aronfeld Trial Lawyers. We can examine your case and help you through the filing process. Reach out to us here

Name, Address and Phone

Aronfeld Trial Lawyers, 

1 Alhambra Plaza Penthouse Coral Gables Florida 33134, 

(305) 441-0440

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