Key West, Florida, is one of the most popular cruise ship destinations in the United States. Key West is actually an island located off the “southern-most” tip of the continental United States. Hundreds of cruise passenger ships dock in Key West every year bringing tens of thousands of people to visit the historic and eclectic streets and sites. Although Key West is a very walkable town, peppered with unique architectural character, those distinctive surroundings can often be eclipsed by the unique characters who live and work around Duval Street and Mallory Square.
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Virtually every cruise line books itineraries that include Key West, Florida. In any given month, Celebrity, Carnival, RCCL, NCL, Costa, Disney, Oceania, Regent Seven Seas, Holland America, and Silversea will visit one of Key West’s three terminals–Pier B, Mallory Square Terminal, or the Truman Annex, which is known locally as “Old Mole.” Ships remain in port in Key West between six and eight hours on average.
A person who gets hurt on a cruise to Key West because of the carelessness of the cruise line may be surprised to learn that most cruise lines–like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Disney, and Norwegian–mandate that claims be filed in the United States Federal Courthouse in Miami, Florida, within one year of the date of the incident. Many lines also require that written notice be provided to the cruise line within a shorter period of time before a lawsuit can even be filed.
Our cruise accident and injury law firm investigates hundreds of potential claims against cruise lines every year, many involving incidents that occurred on cruise ships. However, not all incidents are valid claims. Understanding what constitutes a viable legal claim requires experience and knowledge of personal injury law, maritime law, and international law. Therefore, we strongly urge anyone who may have a potential case to contact our office for a free initial legal consultation with an experienced attorney who sues cruise lines.
DO I HAVE A CLAIM AGAINST THE CRUISE LINE FOR MY INJURY?
Every case is unique, with its own set of facts and circumstances. Our general criteria begin with understanding what the injury is and what the long-term consequences will be. Often a person who trips and falls or slips and falls during a cruise may seek medical care at the ship’s infirmary. It is not uncommon for the cruise lines’ doctors and nurses to misdiagnose potentially serious broken bones, head traumas, or lacerations–inadvertently giving the injured passengers a false sense of security regarding the severity of their conditions.
We strongly recommend that people seek a second opinion as soon as practicable, from an onshore doctor. Unfortunately, when an incident happens in the middle of a cruise, the onshore options in many ports are undesirable. For example, if a person were to be injured on the ship because a deck was improperly dried after being wet-mopped by crew member, say between Key West and Mexico, the passenger would be understandably reluctant to get off the ship and seek a second opinion from a Mexican doctor in Cozumel or Costa Maya. Key West, however, has excellent medical facilities, and ships can and should arrange to have ambulances waiting at the terminal to transport sick or injured passengers directly to the hospital.
SEEING A DOCTOR ONSHORE AFTER FALLING ON A CRUISE SHIP?
Since there is a limited time in port, most people should be concerned that they literally could miss the boat if they are stuck in an Emergency Room or admitted to the hospital. People have told us that they are reluctant to ruin the trips of their traveling companions or family members by going on shore to seek medical care, are fearful of the cost of medical care in a foreign port, and don’t have the language skills to communicate or the means to arrange travel home from a foreign port. Our advice is always the same: one’s health and wellbeing are more important and valuable than any cruise.
Once our maritime injury lawyers investigate a potential case and determine that the incident was caused at least in part by the negligent conduct of the cruise line, we fight hard to make sure our clients are reimbursed for any and all medical expenses–not just for what has occurred, but also to cover future needs. In addition, we want to make sure our clients are adequately and reasonably compensated with money for their pain, suffering, and the change in the quality of their lives.
Accidents can happen on any cruise ship, ranging from the new giant mega cruise ships–with activities onboard including ice-skating rinks, wave simulators, and water slides, all of which can be fun but also dangerous if they are not properly and frequently maintained, repaired, and inspected by trained crew members–to smaller and older luxury cruise ships that still may have slippery teak decks, steep steps, and unmarked door sills and thresholds.
SPEAK WITH A CRUISE ACCIDENT ATTORNEY TODAY
We offer free initial consultations to anyone who may have a potential claim. Contact our office today toll-free at 1-866-597-4529, by email at [email protected]. We encourage you to seek our help while you are still on the ship, as there are important things that can be done in many cases that may help us maximize the amount of your settlement.
The cruise industry comprises very sophisticated multi-billion dollar international corporations that take advantage of international and maritime law. They hire extremely well-funded and aggressive law firms to protect their profits from passenger claims. Injured passengers need a strong advocate, too. I founded Aronfeld Trial Lawyers in 1991 with the sole mission of helping people hold corporate giants like Carnival, Disney, Celebrity, Norwegian, and other cruise lines accountable when their carelessness hurts people.