As a lawyer who sues cruise lines–like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Disney, Norwegian, Princess, Holland America, and others–on behalf of people who have been injured on a cruise ship, I cringe every time I read about a legitimately injured passenger who gets caught by the number-one secret weapon cruise lines use to win their cases: the one-year statute of limitations and venue selection clauses buried in the passenger cruise ticket.
For example, Carnival’s ticket contract, which governs the Parties’ relationship, contains the following clauses:
The acceptance or use of this ticket by the person(s) named hereon as Guests shall be deemed acceptance and agreement by each of them to all the terms and conditions of this cruise contract. Carnival shall not be liable for any claims whatsoever for personal injury, illness or death of the guest, unless full particulars in writing are given to Carnival within 185 days after the date of the injury, event, illness or death giving rise to the claim. Suit to recover on any such claim shall not be maintainable unless filed within one year after the date of the injury, event, illness or death … Guest expressly waives all other potential applicable state or federal limitations periods. [i]t is agreed by and between the Guest and Carnival that all disputes and matters whatsoever arising under, in connection with or incident to this Contract or the Guest’s cruise … shall be litigated, before the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami, or as to those lawsuits to which the Federal Courts of the United States lack subject matter jurisdiction, before a court located in Miami-Dade County, Florida, U.S.A. to the exclusion of the Courts of any other county, state, or country.
This takes many victims who suffer an injury on a cruise ship by surprise, as most states, including Florida, have a four year statute of limitations for a port side slip and fall. The claim must also be filed here in Miami in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, regardless of where the passenger is from or where the ship was when the accident occurred.
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.
Cruise Ship Accidents can occur from slipping, tripping, or falling on wet or improperly maintained surfaces. Slip-and-falls are the most common cause of serious cruise ship injury. In one study completed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) that was conducted over a three-year time period, nearly 45 percent of all injuries aboard were caused by slips, trips, and/or falls. 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.
Aronfeld Trial Lawyers is a personal injury firm located in Miami, Florida since 1991. We are available 24/7 and encourage you to contact us even if you are still on your cruise. The sooner we can begin our investigation and preservation of key evidence, such as the CCTV footage of your trip and fall, slip and fall, assault, or other type of injury the more likely we will be able to understand and prove how the incident occurred. Remember, the cruise lines have the most aggressive and well-funded defense lawyers in the world- protecting their profits. You need an experienced legal advocate in your corner who will fight to obtain the compensation you deserve for lost wages, medical expenses, transportation reimbursement and pain and suffering. Call us today and speak with a cruise ship claims lawyer about your potential claim- toll free via telephone at 305-441-0440, toll-free at 1-866-597-4529, email [email protected].