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Did You Know Cruise Ship Accidents Can Happen On Dry Land?

January 16, 2009

Florida ports are cruise ship meccas. Between the three major ports (The Port of Palm Beach, Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale), and the Port of Miami), more than 4 million people start or end cruise ship vacations annually. With such a large number of people taking cruises, accidents and injuries occur frequently. Most people don’t think much about it, but cruise ship accidents can happen at any time during their vacation: when they are boarding or disembarking the ship, when they are walking up or down stairs on the ship or down a hallway, when they are getting on and off a launch or tour bus in an exotic port, or during a ship-sponsored tour or trip into a foreign city.

Many examples can be found if you take time to read about cruises. The following are just some of the reports of cruise ship accidents taken from CruiseJunkie.com:

  • On 9/17/08, the Celebrity cruise ship Constellation, was delayed leaving port due to tour bus accidents: a passenger reported from their Blackberry "There were 4 accidents involving tour buses:  1) bus hit a car which caught on fire; 2) Another bus hit a car and the car’s driver stopped in front of the bus and acted very threatening to the passengers;  3) A independent mini excursion bus was sideswiped by a large tour bus severely damaging the sides of both buses; 4) following that accident, the mini bus ran over the foot of a pedestrian which was badly crushed".
  • On August 8, 2006, a tour bus accident injured 15 passengers while on excursion in Juneau, Alaska.
  • Twelve people died and two were injured in a ship-sponsored tour bus accident in Arica, Chile.  According to local news reports, the bus went off a steep cliff on March 23, 2006.
  • There are reports of people who were injured after leaving a tour bus and being hit by a truck while on excursion and reports of people falling off the gangway of docked ships.
  • A 65 year old man died on a snorkeling expedition and a 68 year old man disappeared while snorkeling in the same area of Shark Bay Alley in Belize on a ship-sponsored excursion.
  • A sightseeing float plane crashed in Ketchikan, Alaska, killing passengers from a cruise ship.
  • On March 17, 2005, a group of divers missed being hit by the propellers of the Carnival Lines’ Inspiration, as she was leaving the port of Cozumel, by only 1 1/2 meters (60 inches!).

If you are injured while on a cruise, what can you do about it? Because cruise ships operate under different laws, you should contact a competent attorney about any cruise ship accidents. Joseph Maus, a Florida cruise ship accident lawyer says, "depending on when and where your accident occurs, your claim may be controlled by Florida law, Federal Maritime law, or a law from a foreign port. Accidents and injuries which occur on Cruise Ships can be won and lost on requirements which apply only to Cruise Ships. Take a look at your Cruise Ticket for some of these "special" requirements".

  • For example, Maus says:
    "Cruise lines often insert special provisions into their passenger tickets that shorten the time in which a passenger may file a law suit against the cruise line to one year. (The normal statute of limitations for admiralty and maritime matters is three years; for a typical car accident claim it is four years!)".
  • These same provisions generally require you to give notice of a claim for injury or death due to negligence against the cruise line within 6 months!
  • Maus also says: "Cruise lines also designate within their passenger tickets the only location where they can be sued. (Take a look at the tiny print on the back of your ticket). Most of the major cruise lines are based in Miami, Florida and designate Miami, Florida as the location where they must be sued." This means that if you live in Maine and vacation on a cruise, you may have to litigate in Miami at considerable cost and time to you.

This article isn’t meant to make you cancel your cruise reservation, but it is meant to make you aware that if you are injured while on vacation, you need to talk to an experienced cruise ship accident lawyer immediately upon your return from your trip!

For more information about cruise ship accidents and advice about accident claim, contact cruise ship accident lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 or email him today.

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