Cruise Ship Accident Lawyers
Cruise ship accidents and claims require lawyers with a knowledge and extensive training and experience in maritime law. Furthermore, they must be familiar with the specific maritime laws that pertain to cruise ships only. It is true that most of the general maritime laws have some general application to accidents occurring on or with a cruise ship, there are special laws that apply specifically to these types of claims and accidents.
Most average vacationers and lawyers for that matter may not know that almost every cruise line ship is registered in a foreign country and flies a foreign flag above their deck. The law of the country of registration of the ship could potentially apply to events and accidents on the cruise ship. If the country the ship is registered is known and its laws are understood, they could be used in the case in such a way that they are more favorable to the claimant than United States laws might be.
For example, an experienced cruise ship lawyer who is trying a case that begins its voyage in Miami, Florida could use the laws of the state of Florida, the laws of the United States, or the laws of the foreign country in which the cruise ship is registered. This creates many opportunities for lawyers experienced with cruise ship accidents and cruise ship specific laws, and many obstacles for the cruise ships which the claims are against.
Lawyers experienced with trying cruise ship accidents would also be aware that some passenger tickets for cruise lines include a number of special provisions that modify the time in which a passenger may legally file a law suit against a cruise line. This special one year limitation has been authorized by United States federal statutes. The normal statute of limitations for maritime legal matters and claims is three years. This is a small specificity that only a lawyer specializing in cruise ship accidents would be familiar with.
Another even lesser known statute allows cruise lines to designate a single location where they can be sued. This regulation is also usually printed in very find print on the passenger ticket and is often referred to as a forum selection clause. Most of the major cruise lines designate Miami, Florida as the only place where they can be sued. This is because they are based there. Many passengers wishing to file a claim against a cruise ship do not have lawyers that are knowledgeable in cruise ship accident laws and waste time and money filing there claim with the wrong court.
In almost every single case in which passengers and their lawyers have been unaware of the cruise lines forum selection clause or have otherwise chosen to ignore it and filed a law suit in a court other than the one designated by the clause, the law suit has been dismissed. This leaves the passenger with no means of recovery against the cruise line and no time to resubmit the claim in the proper court because the one year statute is so short.