If you're a passenger injured aboard a cruise ship, I hope you find an admiralty attorney. Experience with auto claims, elder law, social security disability and whatever else is listed on a lawyer's website, probably isn't going to be much help in navigating the tricky maritime law waters of suing a cruise ship. The cruise line industry moves a lot of people on and off their vessels and they are prepared, experienced and ready to defend against claims using the full weight of the maritime law and the advantages they can sometimes assert by way of the passenger ticket contract. That's right, in most instances that booklet of terms and conditions accompanying your passenger cruise ticket is binding on you as the passenger. As a result, in addition to having prove a claim of maritime negligence, you will likely have to:
- commence suit in a specific location or your lawsuit may be dismissed,
- you will likely have to commence suit within a certain specific period of time irrespective of the state statute of limitations period,
- you may have to give notice of your claim by a certain date before filing suit, and
- you likely have waived your right to participate in a class action against the cruise line.
And that's only a small illustration of the terms and conditions contained in a passenger ticket that may impact your legal rights. All told, these aren't waters you want to be sailing with anyone but an experienced maritime litigator.
Cruise vacations are a great way to experience the ocean and enjoy a sense of travel, but remember something: in this author's opinion (a recognized Proctor-in-Admiralty) when you board a cruise ship, you're traveling to a foreign land with a very different legal landscape.
If you want to sue a cruise line considering hiring an experienced maritime attorney with experience filing admiralty lawsuits against cruise lines.
Underway and making way.
By John Fulweiler
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