Cruise ship injuries will involve elements of maritime law, a unique body governing activities and offenses on seafaring vessels. Filing a claim against a cruise line for onboard injuries requires a different process from personal injury claims on land. There are also different statutes of limitations and liability concerns you should take into account.
When signing up for a cruise, there is a lot of paperwork you must fill out before departure. Moreover, cruise ship companies will try to avoid responsibility for their negligence by making you sign a waiver. According to Miami cruise ship lawyers, these waivers may or may not be valid based on which law applies. Moreover, cruise ship tickets have shortened the statute of limitations to one year or less. This represents yet another way cruise lines seek to entirely restrict or avoid responsibility for their actions.
Waivers Signed by Passengers on Cruise Ships
A cruise cannot contractually limit its legal liability for its carelessness or restrict its right to trial for personal injury or wrongful death by having you sign a release or waiver. However, if you sign a waiver, it could be admissible to juries to the extent that it is relevant for other purposes, such as blaming an independent contractor. That usually is an issue in cases where you are injured on excursions sold by the cruise line.
Waivers are permitted to be shown to a jury to illustrate the cruise’s effort to warn injured passengers about the risk associated with the event. In such situations, federal judges may redact or black out unenforceable language by providing an edited version of the Form to the Court for approval and use at trial.
While every cruise ship accident case is different, courts typically tend to rely on previous rulings to provide legal precedents to support their decisions. This is essential to know if you have been injured on a cruise and might be concerned that the waiver you signed will prevent you from filing a lawsuit or seeking justice for your medical expenses, pain, suffering, and lost wages.
Understand What You Have Signed
Understanding that you must file your cruise ship accident lawsuit at the cruise line’s headquarters is vital. While it is highly inconvenient for passengers who live in a different country or out of state, cruise ship liability waivers state that as an injured passenger, you must file your claim in the state of the company’s headquarters. Most cruise lines, such as Norwegian, Disney, Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America, Celebrity, and Princess, require claims against them to be filed in Federal Court within a year of the date of the accident.
Because the cruise company and its insurance companies are focused on protecting their interests, they could use strategies to deny liability and limit your injury settlement. Consulting with a cruise ship accident lawyer will significantly increase the chances of getting a favorable outcome while protecting your rights and interests.
Although the statute of limitation is a year, it is best to report the accident as soon as possible. For example, with Carnival Cruise Lines, you can receive a full refund (in some cases) within 24 hours of departure.