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Cruises, just like any other vacation, have their list of pros and cons. Most people tend to focus on the positive things about a vacation they’re planning, but only focusing on the positives may be doing yourself a disservice.

While you don’t want to get bogged down in all the rabbit holes of what can go wrong on a cruise ship or on a cruise in general, it’s important to consider the reasons why a cruise vacation may not be the right type of trip for you and your family – beyond simply the destinations. You have to take into account what you should do if you get hurt while on your cruise, because there are special laws that dictate this sort of situation.

The truth is that there are consequential things to understand about the cruise industry as a whole that can influence your decision to take a cruise. They’re factors every person should be aware of. Here is what you need to know about cruising related to personal injury situations that can apply on cruise ships.

Cruises in the United States

Cruising is popular in the United States, but there are certain things you must consider when deciding to book a cruise or not. Some of the most important considerations include:

Your Ticket

Your ticket will have a lot of information that comes with it, including what your rights are as a passenger on a vessel. It’s not uncommon to find information in the fine print of your ticket about how your rights apply if you become sick or injured while on the cruise.

For example, if there’s an accident that injures you, and you want to take legal action against the cruise line, your ticket will likely have the statute of limitations included on it. This informs you of your time window to take that action.

Laws on Cruises

Many people assume that, because they boarded a cruise ship in the United States, the laws of the United States apply when on board – but that’s not the truth. The flag on the vessel you’re boarding will tell you which country’s law applies to the vessel. You will have to work within those laws if something goes wrong.

Medical Care

Ships have doctors on board, but that isn’t an indication that you will receive the quality of healthcare to which you may be accustomed. Medical malpractice on cruise ships is a real concern, so don’t get lulled into a false sense of security simply because medical services are available. Be diligent.


Crimes do occur on cruise ships including theft, sexual assault, and harassment. Never leave children unattended, and make sure to securely store all of your valuables in your locked stateroom.

Cruise Accident Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale

Can You Sue a Cruise Line?

When a person is injured or becomes ill on a cruise, they may want to know what legal actions are available to them. You can generally file a lawsuit for damages sustained on a ship, but you have to prove certain things to have a chance of recovering those damages.

If you want to sue a cruise line, then you must show they had a duty of care to you, they breached that duty, that breach led to the reason you are suing, and damages were sustained. This can be difficult to prove, which is why you need an attorney on your case.


About the Author:

Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and named one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators. Mr. Winston is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2021 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite,” recognized by Expertise as one of the 20 Best Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015-2021, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida for 2015-2017 and 2019-2021.