Cruise Ship Accident & Injury Lawyers in Fort Lauderdale

Cruises are a popular way to relax and enjoy time with loved ones. However, a cruise ship accident can turn a dream vacation into a nightmare. If you suffered injury on a cruise ship, you may be able to recover damages from those liable for your injuries. A Fort Lauderdale cruise ship accident & injury lawyer can help.

The team at Farmer, Jaffe, Weissing, Edwards, Fistos & Lehrman, P.L. has years of experience handling personal injury cases and can help file your claim. Schedule a free consultation today: 954-524-2820.

Common Cruise Ship Accidents

Serious accidents can occur while aboard a cruise ship. As a result, passengers may suffer traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, internal injuries, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, near-drownings, and other injuries or ailments. Some of the most common accidents that occur on cruise ships include:

  • Slip and Falls: The motion of the boat combined with slippery or uneven floors can cause passengers to slip and fall while onboard the ship.
  • Falling Overboard: Passengers often like to stand near the edges of the boat to take in the beautiful ocean views. However, the aggressive waters can result in someone falling over the edge of the boat and getting injured on the way down or even drowning.
  • Norovirus Infections: Contaminated food and unsanitary conditions can cause an outbreak of norovirus (e.g., vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, etc.) on board a cruise ship. The large number of people in a small space can cause the infection to spread quickly.
  • Pool Accidents: Cruise ships often provide pools and waterslides for their guests to enjoy. If a lifeguard is not on duty or if the pool or slide is dangerous or defective in some way, serious injuries can occur.
  • Excursion Injuries: Cruises offer dozens of excursions, many of which can end in serious injury.
  • Physical Assault: A passenger can become the victim of theft, physical assault, or sexual assault if certain areas of the ship are unmonitored.
  • Falling Objects: An object dropped from one level could hit and injure a passenger on a lower level.

When is a cruise ship liable for my injuries?

Cruise ships are common carriers under federal law. Common carriers, such as cruise ships, airplanes, and trains, are companies that transport goods or passengers at a set rate.

Under federal law, these common carriers have the highest standard of care to adhere to when it comes to ensuring the safety of its passengers.

However, common carriers are not strictly liable for all injuries that occur. In order to hold a common carrier liable for injuries, you will need to prove that the company behaved negligently.

In addition, many companies do not register their cruise ships in the United States, meaning that maritime law applies.

Maritime law is very complicated, but our team has in-depth knowledge of and years of experience handling maritime law cases. We will determine what law governs your accident and help you establish your case under that branch of law.

Whom can I file against if I am injured on a cruise ship?

Many cruise ship accidents occur as a result of negligence on the part of the company, staff, or other passengers. Passengers on cruise ships can file an injury claim against multiple parties including:

  • The owner of the cruise ship
  • The company in charge of the trip
  • The company who provided the ticket
  • Another cruise passenger

In order to file a successful case against one or more of the above parties, you will need to establish negligence. Establishing negligence requires proving:

Duty

Cruise ships have a duty to passengers to provide them with a safe experience. As a common carrier, cruise ship companies must meet a higher standard of care than other businesses. Cruise ship companies must go beyond reasonable care to ensure the safety of their passengers.

Breach of Duty

The next step will be proving that the cruise ship breached its duty to you by acting negligently. The cruise ship company will likely be liable whether the negligent party was the company itself or an employee of the company.

For this element, insurers and courts will consider whether a “reasonably careful ship operator” would have known about the dangerous condition that caused the injury and what the reasonable ship operator would have done under those circumstances.

We can help you prove negligence by gathering evidence, presenting expert witnesses, or showing that the ship operator violated a safety regulation. 

For example, if you tripped and fell due to a broken handrail, our investigators will determine how long the handrail was broken and whether the company had time to fix it.

If the handrail was broken before the ship left port, you likely have a case. If the handrail broke 20 minutes before your accident, you may not have a case.

Causation

Under the element of causation, you will need to establish that the accident would not have occurred had it not been for the ship operator’s negligence.

You will also have to show that the injuries you suffered were reasonably foreseeable.

Damages

Lastly, you will have to show that you suffered a measurable injury in the accident.

If you establish duty, breach of duty, causation and damages, the ship operator and/or company may be liable for your damages.

Important: Before Filing a Claim, Look at Your Cruise Ticket

There may be a contract in small print on the back of your cruise ticket including restrictions relating to potential claims or lawsuits. The contract provided may include a:

Forum-selection clause: This clause will limit where you can file your suit. Generally, even passengers that do not live in Florida will have to file suit in Florida (if that is where the cruise company has its headquarters).

Notice-requirement clause: This clause discusses the amount of time you have to file a claim. Under maritime law, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is three years (four years under Florida law).

However, the clause on your ticket may limit your statute of limitations to a shorter period, such as one year.

This means that you would only have one year after your injury to file suit. You may also have to provide written notice of suit to the company before you file your claim.

Limited-liability waiver: This waiver puts limitations on the lawsuit itself and protects the company from passengers or customers suing for things like emotional distress.

Many excursions require you to sign a waiver freeing the company from all liability.

Recovering Damages

If you file a successful lawsuit, you can recover a variety of damages after a cruise ship accident including:

  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity

Cruise ships have a responsibility to passengers to provide them with a safe and enjoyable experience. Failure to do so can cause some cruise-goers to suffer severe injuries. If you have suffered a cruise ship injury, you are not in this alone.

The attorneys at Farmer, Jaffe, Weissing, Edwards, Fistos & Lehrman, P.L. can help you handle the complexities of your cruise ship accident claim.

Call 954-524-2820 today for a free consultation.