Cruise Ship Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale
Cruise Ship Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale
July 17, 2020 admin

Cruise Ship Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale

Today, cruising is more popular than ever. According to the Cruise Lines International Association [1], 2019 saw an estimated 30 million passengers, a 6% increase from the year before. In addition, boat lines have ordered 18 new ships in anticipation of an increase in passengers, bringing the total to almost 275 vessels on the seas.

Florida is an important hub for the cruising industry, with three of the United States’ busiest ports, contributing to over $8 billion to the Florida economy in 2018. But with increased ship travel has come increased risks. With deadly airborne illnesses and diseases, and the potential for physical injuries such as slip and falls, a life-altering event can put a passenger at risk both physically and financially.

If you were injured while on a cruise ship, a cruise ship lawyer can help. Fort Lauderdale cruise ship lawyers understand that injuries on boats can be complex, including the application of maritime law, jurisdiction, and who is actually liable for an injury. To ensure that you receive compensation for an injury, contact a cruise ship accident lawyer today for an evaluation.

Cruise Ship Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction is a legal determination dictating who can file a lawsuit, where that lawsuit can be filed, and what laws specifically apply to the issue being litigated. When it comes to cruise ships, lawyers must wade into jurisdiction questions from the onset.

One of the first jurisdiction questions to arise after an accident occurs on a boat is who to sue. Oftentimes there are several parties involved in the boat’s operation, including:

  • The owner of the boat
  • The boat operator (who might not be the owner)
  • The party responsible for hiring the crew
  • The company that sold the travel package

One or more of the parties may be partly or entirely responsible for the accident. Accordingly, the work of a cruise ship lawyer is to weed through these questions and determine who to attribute liability to before taking the next steps. A lawsuit is typically filed in the court where the liable party is located. When several parties bear responsibility, this can complicate matters. 

Additionally, questions of federal or state jurisdiction can come into play. Some boat lines have specific language on passenger tickets that dictate where a dispute would be resolved. Some cruising lines, such as Royal Caribbean and Carnival, dictate jurisdiction in Miami Federal Court. Other ship operators, such as Princess, require matters to be resolved in California state court. Holland America forces jurisdiction into Washington State court.

Another jurisdiction question that arises is which laws a Fort Lauderdale cruise ship lawyer would apply when seeking compensation for an injury. Did the accident occur while docked in another country? Or did the accident occur at the terminal before entering the ship? If an accident occurred somewhere other than the ship itself, the law of the state or country where the boat was docked may apply. 

However, once a ship is at sea, maritime law would usually apply. Maritime law is an antiquated series of laws dating back decades and even centuries, governing sea-based disputes. Due to changing times, maritime law is not necessarily relevant or easily applicable to cruise ships and their passengers. This makes it more difficult for a cruise ship accident lawyer to determine which laws are relevant, which laws should apply, and how to craft a complaint in court that will be successful in moving forward.

With the ever-increasing number of cruise ships and boat passengers come more and more accidents. Seeking compensation for these accidents continues to be difficult. Working through questions of jurisdiction is oftentimes complex and time-consuming. Seeking the help of a cruise ship accident attorney with Schlacter Law can help. Schlacter Law has experience litigating cruise ship accidents in Fort Lauderdale, and our lawyers work hard to secure the best compensation possible.

Statute of Limitations

In most cases, for a lawyer to file a lawsuit in court for an injury on land, that lawyer must file the lawsuit in a timely manner. For an injury that occurred on land in Florida for negligence, the time limitation to file a lawsuit is four years and is called the statute of limitations.

When it comes to injuries that occur on cruising vessels, the statute of limitations may be different from a typical injury case on land. Oftentimes boat operators include language on a passenger’s ticket that limits the amount of time a passenger has to file a lawsuit to only one year.  The Supreme Court has held that this limitation on the time to file a lawsuit is enforceable. Failure to file a lawsuit in a timely manner could result in a motion to dismiss your lawsuit for a failure to file within the statute of limitations.

Additionally, boat lines will often add language to a ticket requiring that notice be given to the boat’s operator before a cruise ship passenger can file a lawsuit. Typically, a boat’s operator will require written notice of an intent to sue within a specified amount of time – typically two to six months after the accident occurred. Failure to provide this notice can also result in the dismissal of a lawsuit.

Finding a Cruise Ship Accident Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale

Cruising is a great way to enjoy some time at sea. As evident from the rapid increase in cruising, boating today is more popular than it has been in years past. But as these ships become more and more popular the risks of injuries increase. The U.S. Department of Transportation [2] found that since 2005 there have been over 440 major ship accidents, with over 15 deaths between 2005 and 2011. Over 300 passengers have fallen off of cruise ships since 2000, and there were 17 overboard accidents just in 2017.

Hopefully, these statistics will not deter you from enjoying a vacation on a cruise ship. But should an accident occur in Fort Lauderdale, be sure to contact a cruise ship injury lawyer as soon as possible. Determining jurisdiction and filing within the proper statute of limitations is imperative, and the longer you wait to talk with a lawyer the more likely your time will run out.

How We Handle Cases

  1. Investigation
    • Your attorney will aggressively investigate your case. Schlacter Law will compile all necessary evidence needed to maximize the value of your case. Which includes but is not limited to photographs, police reports, security camera footage, witness statements, medical bills and medical records.
    • You will remain in constant contact with Schlacter Law about the progression of your case.
  2. Negotiation
    • Your attorney will present your case to the insurance company and will attempt to resolve your case before the case goes to court for maximum compensation.
    • Your attorney will make every effort possible to resolve the case as quickly as possible for the most amount of money you may be entitled to. You will be actively involved in the negotiation process with your attorney. Schlacter Law understands that this is your one opportunity to get justice for your loss.
  3. Litigation
    • If settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, Schlacter Law will be fully prepared to bring your case to court to fight for the justice you deserve.
    • At no cost to you, Schlacter Law will hire any experts and professionals needed to maximize your recovery and present your case in the strongest form possible.


Frequently Asked Questions

What if I was exposed to a disease while on a cruise?

Novel viruses are of great concern for everyone, but no one is more prone to catching the virus than cruise ship passengers. With so many people in such close quarters, diseases can easily transmit throughout the vessel and infect a large number of passengers. If you contracted the disease while aboard a ship you may be entitled to compensation. Talk with the cruise lawyers at Schlacter Law today so we can help evaluate any claim for compensation.

What if I was partially to blame for an accident?

Because the question of who has jurisdiction is a major concern when dealing with cruise ships, there is no easy answer. If jurisdiction lies in Florida, and Florida law applies, the doctrine of comparative negligence would still allow a plaintiff to recover compensation, even if they were partially at fault. The amount of compensation would be reduced by the percentage that the plaintiff is responsible for the injury. However, if maritime law applies the question of partial blame could raise additional questions. It’s important to speak with a cruise injury lawyer to determine the possible outcome of a lawsuit.

How much compensation could I get?

Compensation could vary widely depending on the circumstances of the accident. Typically there are three types of compensation available: Economic damages, non-economic damages, punitive damages. Determining what types and how much compensation is available would require analysis by a Fort Lauderdale cruise ship lawyer. Call today for a consultation.