An active investigation is underway to determine how a woman fell to her death on a Jacksonville-based cruise ship. The cruise line said the woman fell from her balcony down several decks on the first day of the cruise. Bahamian law enforcement is handling the investigation. It is estimated that more than nine million passengers travel on pleasure cruises departing North American ports each year.
We, along with some fantastic partners handle these cases. These situations are not without difficulty and challenges, so an experienced cruise ship injury lawyer is a must.
Criminal v. Civil Liability Analysis – Liability of cruise line, people involved, etc.
When it comes to the rights of a consumer, one judge said- “Don’t have an accident, don’t get sick, and hope for an uneventful cruise vacation, otherwise you will discover that your rights and remedies as an aggrieved consumer are governed by antiquated legal principles which favor cruise lines to the detriment of cruise passengers.”
Congress created the Death on The High Seas Act in 1920 pursuant to this authority, which is the sole remedy available for the death of a person in international waters, due to the negligence or unseaworthiness of a vessel. International waters are anything greater than three nautical miles from the coastline. Three nautical miles is about three and one half land (statutory) miles. The pain and suffering of the deceased, the lack of parental guidance and the like are not recognized under the Death on the High Seas Act. In addition, the Defendant can seek to mitigate their damages by showing that the deceased contributed to his/her own death.
Cruise lines limit liability
Most don’t even read their contracts, disclosures and license terms.
For injuries occurring due to negligence associated with a cruise line, however, the contractual provisions typically call for a much more limited time-frame. For injuries or deaths stemming from negligence associated with a cruise ship, the contract, which is usually contained in the ticket package, typically provides that a passenger must provide notice of a claim to the cruise line within six months and commence a lawsuit within one year. For non-physical injury claims, cruise lines impose a shorter limitation period. Most cruise lines require that written claims be filed within days as opposed to months after the accident.
It does not matter where the passenger is from, or where the cruise departed. Currently, cruise lines have limited the location where claims may be brought to a handful of cities where larger ports are located, such as Miami, Seattle, and Los Angeles.
A passenger ticket may contain clauses which seek to disclaim liability for a variety of problems but instances of gross negligence and intentional misconduct may not be disclaimed by common carriers. Practitioners must keep in mind that although many situations concerning cruise ship liability are riddled with complexity, cruise ships are common carriers and are held to a reasonable standard of care under the circumstances.
We invite you to review our verdicts, our accolades and awards and what clients have to say about us and give us a call for a free consultation where our lawyers will consult with you personally. John represents clients in Florida, Georgia and Alabama and before the U.S. Supreme Court with passion and compassion. Our firm handles a wide variety of injury and death cases, criminal defense, family law and a host of high profile matters. We can be emailed at [email protected] or call us at (904) 444-4444 in Florida or (912) 444-4444 in Georgia.