Cruise Ship Injury Attorneys
Skilled legal help when you’re injured on a cruise ship in Florida or across the country
Cruise lines are some of the most profitable businesses in the world and tens of millions of Americans take cruises every year. Yet, these companies are also one of the most unregulated and untaxed companies in the world. Passengers or crew members who suffer injury as a result of the negligence, carelessness or reckless actions of the cruise lines have legal options.
Fortunately, cruise lines can be held accountable in US courts under general maritime law for their negligence. These for-profit organizations have a responsibility to make their premises safe, without hazardous conditions that can cause accidents and serious injury to passengers. If you or a family member were harmed on a cruise, the attorneys at Hickey Law Firm can help. We are based in Miami, as are the majority of the major cruise lines, where you will need to file your injury claim. Talk to us today.
WAS A LAWYER FOR THE CRUISE LINES. NOW A LAWYER FOR YOU ®
Fee is Free - You Don't Pay Unless We Win
Frequently Asked Questions
- How can your attorneys help with my cruise ship injury case?
- What are the most common cruise ship dangers?
- How do I bring an injury claim against a cruise ship?
- How do I notify a cruise ship of my injury?
- How much time do I have to bring a claim against a cruise line?
- Where do I file my cruise ship injury lawsuit?
- What is the value of my cruise ship accident case?
- Do you have a cruise ship injury lawyer near me?
How can your attorneys help with my cruise ship injury case?
Hickey Law Firm is well-known throughout the country for their work helping passengers and crew injured and harmed on cruise ships. Our own John H. (Jack) Hickey is double Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Civil Trial Law and Admiralty and Maritime Law and Board Certified in Civil Trial law by the National Board of Trial Advocacy (NBTA).
In fact, he started his career as an attorney representing cruise lines, spending nearly two decades learning how these companies operate, and how they strenuously work to avoid responsibility and liability when their negligence causes people harm.
Now, Attorney Hickey represents clients injured on all major cruise lines, including:
It is worth noting that when suing a cruise ship line, you must file your claim in the company’s city – not where you suffered the injury. For most major cruise lines, this is Miami or Fort Lauderdale, where our attorneys can most certainly assist you.
LAWYERS FOR PEOPLE WITH LIFE CHANGING INJURIES ®
We successfully fought for one of our clients in securing the single largest crewmember arbitration award ever for $10.3M, with the cruise line RCCL paying $10.3M+ interest for a year, totaling over $10.6M.
The legal team at Hickey Law Firm works with investigators, witnesses, and other experts to determine how your accident occurred and what parties should be held liable.
How do I bring an injury claim against a cruise ship?
The cruise ship industry restricts when and where you can file an injury claim against a cruise line. These restrictions appear in the fine print of your ticket, known as the “Passenger Ticket Contract.” However, these terms are rarely listed on your ticket and instead can be found on the cruise line website. These terms and conditions are typically 14 to 18 pages of legalese, written over time by maritime lawyers in a language you cannot possibly be expected to understand.
Cruise ship injury claims must establish that General Maritime Law applies to the incident, whether the standard of care or “reasonable care under the circumstances” was given, and if the cruise line provided reasonable communication to cruise passengers listed in the Passenger Ticket Contract, such as using headers and bolded font.
The four main tenets of Passenger Ticket Contracts and cruise ship injury claims include:
- Identifying the correct “venue” such as the Federal Court in Miami, Florida.
- Giving timely notice, typically within six months of the incident.
- Recognizing the Statute of Limitations for your cruise ship injury claim, which is often one year from the date of the incident, but some extensions may apply in extenuating circumstances.
- Establishing if the Athens Convention applies, which is a treaty typically referenced in Passenger Ticket Contracts that provides a cap on damages. (The Athens Convention does not apply to any voyage that involves a US port.)
Cruise passengers have 180 days after an accident to provide notice of their claim to the cruise line. The cruise passenger is required to file suit within one year after the accident, but in the venue (location) indicated in the Passenger Ticket Contract.
For most of the major cruise lines, that place is the Federal Court in Miami, Florida, but some may need to be filed in Ft. Lauderdale or Orlando, Florida, Los Angeles, California or Seattle, Washington. For a full list of where you have to file suit for each of the cruise lines and the names of the ships in service for those cruise line, please click here. Or, our attorneys can let you know the appropriate place to file your claim in your initial consultation.
How do I notify a cruise ship of my injury?
Filing a cruise ship injury claim must begin as soon as possible to preserve your case.
- First, report the incident immediately to the security officer or other personnel in the area.
- After you provide a statement, ask for a copy right then and there. If you don’t receive a copy right away, they will not give you one.
- Seek medical treatment at the ship’s infirmary and report the accident if you have injuries.
- Collect the names and contact information for all witnesses, whether cruise ship personnel or other passengers.
- In cases of sexual assault or rape, you need to report the crime to the FBI and do not rely on the cruise line to do so for you.
- Once the ship has docked, seek additional medical treatment if needed.
It’s crucial that you begin documenting and preserving the evidence immediately. The cruise line will not protect or provide evidence – don’t rely on them to do so. Cruise lines are not obligated to provide photographs. Accordingly, you need to take pictures or have someone take good digital images of the area where the accident or incident occurred. Ensure you take photos of the entire scene of the accident if you can, as well as your injuries.
How much time do I have to bring a claim against a cruise line?
You must preserve your claim by providing the six-month notice and filing suit within one year. Remember, filling out an accident report and writing letters to the cruise line do not preserve your claim. You are required to provide the cruise line with a written notice with a complete description of the incident within the period listed on your Passenger Ticket Contract, which is typically six months (180 days). However, some claims regarding property damage may limit this notice period to just 30 days.
You will need to file your cruise ship accident lawsuit within one year or risk losing your claim due to the statute of limitations. There are some exceptions to this time limit for wrongful death claims, and sexual assault claims involving minor children or adults found legally “incompetent.” Our attorneys have a proven success record for cruise ship accident case results and can help you navigate the entire claims process.
Where do I file my cruise ship injury lawsuit?
You, the passenger, are required to file suit for an injury suffered on a cruise, or a cruise ship assault or sexual assault that happened while onboard against the cruise line where your Passenger Ticket Contract states you are required. This provision is called a venue selection clause. If you file suit in any place other than where the ticket says, you are not filing suit in the right place, and your suit may be dismissed. Additionally, regardless of where you live or where you traveled, each cruise line lists specific districts of federal and state levels where you may file your cruise ship accident.
The venue selection clause for each cruise line is located in the cruise lines’ “terms and conditions.” The “terms and conditions” are usually about 16 to 20 pages of legalese and often located on the cruise lines’ websites. No one reads them, and even if you did, they are nearly impossible to understand if you are not an attorney. These “terms and conditions” are written by lawyers with one purpose in mind: to protect the cruise line and to make it as difficult as possible for you to bring suit against them.
For example, this is the venue selection clause for American Cruise Lines:
FORUM SELECTION; CHOICE OF LAW; WAIVER OF JURY TRIAL; CLASS ACTION WAIVER.
(A) Forum Selection: Passenger and ACL agree that all disputes, claims, suits, and matters in connection with, related to, or arising directly or indirectly from this contract or passenger's cruise, including travel to, from, and on the vessel and any and all tours or excursions ashore (each an "asserted claim") shall be litigated, if at all, in and before the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, or as to claims for which courts of the United States lack subject matter jurisdiction, before a court located in New Haven County, Connecticut, U.S.A., to the exclusion of the courts of any other district, county, state, or country. Passenger hereby consents to jurisdiction and venue in such court and waives any objection, whether based on venue, inconvenient forum, or otherwise, passenger may have to any such suit or proceeding being brought in the applicable court located in Connecticut.
However, because lead attorney Jack Hickey used to represent cruise lines before dedicating himself to personal injury law two decades ago, we understand these contracts and clauses inside and out. We can help.
What is the value of my cruise ship accident case?
Cruise ship owners and operators owe passengers a duty of care. It is the responsibility of the cruise line to ensure that no unreasonable risks are present on a vessel that can cause injury to a passenger. When they fall short in these responsibilities, and the cruise line or operators are determined to be negligent, we can fight for you.
If you’ve been injured or experienced severe health issues from your time on a cruise ship, we may be able to pursue compensation for:
- Current and future medical costs
- Current and future rehabilitation costs
- Loss of wages (including future wages)
- Lost or diminished earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
Because every case is unique, and the circumstances regarding your injuries may be different from those of another case, the value of your claim cannot be properly determined until the attorneys at Hickey Law Firm conduct a thorough investigation.
Do you have a cruise ship injury lawyer near me?
Hickey Law Firm is located at 1401 Brickell Avenue, Suite 510, in Miami, right off US 1 and just a few blocks from the ocean. We serve the seriously injured throughout Florida and nationwide. If you are too injured to travel, we can come to you. We can also schedule a phone or video conference.
Knowledgeable cruise ship accident attorneys
At Hickey Law Firm, our job is to cut through the complicated language and contracts and make it as painless as possible for you to pursue your claim for honest, significant, and permanent injuries. Our founding attorney spent several decades representing cruise line corporations before switching to defend the victims from egregious actions and incidents of negligence or wrongdoing. We know the tactics cruise ship lines use to seek a lower settlement or have your lawsuit thrown out and is prepared to seek justice on your behalf.
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