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Cruise Ship Injury Information

July 5, 2009

Despite the recession, the cruise ship industry continues to enjoy thousands and thousands of passengers traveling on their ships.  Particularly now, during the summer months, when most families schedule their family vacations, cruise ships are loaded with passengers unaware of dangers occurring on cruise ships.  In just the last few weeks, news media have reported people falling overboard a cruise ship out of Mobile, Alabama, a passenger drowning after falling off a cruise boat when the captain of the cruise boat became “distracted”, and countless slip and falls and trip and falls.

Cruise ship vacations can be a wonderful and enjoyable way to spend a family vacation.  However, cruise ship passengers should be aware of the many limitations contained in their cruise ship contract that are designed to help protect the cruise lines in the event a passenger sustains a cruise ship injury.  These include:

1.         Shortened Statutes of Limitations – Most cruise ship tickets contain a one (1) year Statute of Limitations during which a law suit may be filed for an onboard cruise ship injury.  This is much shorter than normal Statute of Limitations, such as Florida’s which is four (4) years.

2.         Restricted venue clauses – A venue clause contained in most cruise ship ticket contracts limits where a law suit for a cruise ship injury or accident can be brought.  Many cruise ship tickets such as those from Carnival Cruise Lines, require that a law suit be brought before the “United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami” or, before a court located in Miami – Dade County, Florida.  Even if your cruise ship left Mobile, Alabama, or Galveston, Texas, and you are injured on that cruise ship, your claim may still be required to be brought in a different jurisdiction such as Florida, or California. 

3.         Shortened time periods to notify the cruise ship company of the accident and injury – Many cruise ship ticket contracts required that “full particulars” of the accident and any injury which occurred be given to the cruise company within six (6) months after the date of the accident or cruise ship injury.  To contrast this with the State of Florida in a general negligence claim such as a car accident or slip and fall, an injured person has up to four (4) years to notify the party responsible for the accident or injury. 

4.         Limited responsibility for onshore excursions – Many cruise ship ticket contracts limit the responsibility of the cruise ship to only accidents occurring on the ship.  Many of the onshore excursions and day trips sponsored by the cruise ship are organized by independent contractors.  If you look closely at your ticket contract, you may be surprised to find out that the cruise ship company will take no responsibility for any accidents or injuries which occur during these day trips.

Enjoy the summer.  Enjoy your family vacations and, enjoy your cruise ship vacations.  But beware of the “fine print” contained in your cruise ship ticket contract.

If you are injured during an accident on board a cruise ship, or during a cruise ship excursion, speak to an experienced cruise ship accident attorney at the Law Office of Joseph M. Maus, P.A.  For a free consultation about your cruise ship injury, contact cruise ship accident lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529, log onto http://www.JMMLawyers.com, or email him today.

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