Going through any type of accident can be a traumatic experience, but suffering injury on a cruise ship may be particularly devastating.
When you or a loved one is injured on a cruise, your vacation comes to a screeching halt, and you suddenly find yourself far from the comforts of home and reliable medical care facilities.
On top of this, you may find it frustratingly challenging to hold cruise lines accountable for your injury, even if it seems obvious that staff member negligence or unsafe cruise ship conditions were entirely to blame. This is largely because personal injury claims against cruise ships may be subject to maritime or admiralty laws in addition to Florida and federal laws. Maritime laws can be quite complex, and personal injury claims that fall under this unique area of the law need to be handled differently from traditional claims.
A regular personal injury lawyer is unlikely to have the resources, knowledge, and experience necessary to handle a complex cruise injury case. Instead, the vast majority of personal injury claims against cruise ships must be handled by a qualified maritime lawyer, with experience in cruise ship injury cases. Maritime attorneys study maritime law for years, and many are required to pass a special test before they can receive their license.
Before choosing an attorney for your lawsuit against a cruise ship, it’s important to do some groundwork and find a highly specialized cruise injury lawyer with years of experience in maritime law and a track record of successful cases. Below, we’ve listed some of the key skills and services your cruise injury lawyer should be able to offer.
Proper filing and documentation. Cruise ship injury attorneys know how to properly submit legal documents to the appropriate governing agencies, while handling all legal processes related to your case. This type of assistance is invaluable in cruise injury court, where procedures are complex, and a single late or incorrectly filed document could unravel your claim.
Red tape circumvention. Though you may not have realized it, you probably agreed to a variety of terms by booking your cruise ticket. These terms often set strict restrictions and prerequisites on how, when, and where injury claims can be filed. For instance, clauses may require passengers to provide a written statement of their plan before filing their claim, or demand that a lawsuit be filed within a set time period. Such restrictions may make it impossible for attorneys inexperienced in cruise injury litigation to successfully manage these types of claims. Only a cruise ship lawyer has the experience and knowledge necessary to navigate these tricky kinds of cases, challenging clauses to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Evidence collection. In most cruise ship accident claims, the plaintiff holds the burden of proof. That means you’ll not only have to demonstrate that you were injured on a cruise, but that the injury was caused by a cruise line’s negligence. A cruise injury lawyer can help you gather necessary evidence by interviewing witnesses, consulting with experts, and reconstructing the accident scene. A cruise attorney can also help you collect medical information, accident reports, and other critical documents.
Protection from opposing lawyers. Cruise lines are multi-million dollar businesses, and can afford to hire an aggressive legal team to back them in court. To avoid having to pay reparation and keep from damaging their reputation, cruise lines will hire the best attorneys money can buy to defend them against your claim. Without legal experience and a thorough understanding of maritime law, you are unlikely to be able to stand up to such a force. That’s why it’s essential to have an attorney in your corner with just as much experience in maritime law.
Stress reduction. The process of filing a cruise injury claim may be a difficult experience for you and your family to endure. On top of enduring costly medical treatments, you may be dealing with the stress of trying to file legal paperwork on time and arguing with cruise line representatives over the phone. When you hire an experienced attorney, you hand over all the paperwork and grueling legal proceedings to a trustworthy ally, allowing you to focus on what’s truly important—you and your family’s recovery.
Cruise ships have a responsibility to protect their passengers and employees. When they fail to live up to this standard, they should be held accountable. Don’t let a cruise line bully you into accepting an unfair settlement—contact an experienced cruise injury attorney, who can defend your right to fair compensation. Not only is it your legal right, but receiving just compensation can help you recover costs accumulated from medical bills, lost wages, and overall pain and suffering.
About the author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of The Law Office of Andrew Winston. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, and was recently voted by his peers as a Florida “SuperLawyer”—an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state—and to Florida Trend’s “Legal Elite.”