Are you dealing with the aftermath of a cruise ship accident? If so, you should take the following steps: document the evidence, notify the cruise line, and contact an attorney. You should file your lawsuit as soon as possible while your memory is fresh.
Filing at a later date can discredit your claim. That said, not every cruise accident entitles you to compensation.
This article will convey how you can prove your case in a court of law. Let's explore.
Common Cruise Ship Accidents
Slips and falls are the most common forms of accidents on a cruise. For instance, there could be clutter in the hall that causes you to fall. This would constitute negligence on the part of the cruise line and would entitle you to compensation.
Slippery floors also cause slip-and-fall mishaps. If there's no proper signage indicating a wet floor, or any type of hazard, the cruise company may be at fault.
Falls can also occur near elevators. A malfunctioning elevator can also cause limbs to become trapped within crevices, leading to severe injury or death.
Slips are also common near swimming areas. Plus, slips and falls near swimming pools can cause a person to drown.
Plus, swimming pools can contain bacteria that can cause legionnaires' disease. Bacteria can spread if maintenance crews fail to maintain the pool.
Fires are common hazards as well, especially if passengers don't have access to a fire extinguisher. Further, cruises tend to have small medical facilities that cannot treat burns efficiently.
Regardless, all of these injuries are legitimate claims in a court of law. That said, certain types of injuries are exempted.
Before filing a claim, do as much research as you can on maritime law. Additionally, read over the cruise contract if you signed one. If you signed a contract, you may not be able to sue the company in certain cases. This type of contract is common for celebrity cruise lines.
If you sustain an injury while partying too hard, for example, you may not have a legitimate claim. However, you can claim compensation if a hazard exists on the cruise line.
If a loose handrail caused an injury, you have a strong case. If you fell ill because of an undercooked meal, you have a viable case.
When it comes to the law, cruise lines must abide by carrier laws. This means carriers must protect their passengers. Some basic protections include:
• Protecting passengers from fire hazards
• Protecting passengers from assaults
• Protecting passengers from hazardous environments
• Providing safe food to eat
• Providing access to life-saving equipment
• Navigating the boat in a safe manner
Cruise operators have a duty to care for the wellbeing of passengers. If they breach this duty, their actions amount to negligence.
As the claimant, you must make a direct correlation between the negligence of the cruise liner and your injuries. More importantly, you must make your case in a timely manner.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for cruise liner cases is different from the statute of limitations of most personal injury claims. In Florida, you usually have four years from the date of the injury to file a claim. For cruise liners, you usually have a year to file a claim. Moreover, you must adhere to notification procedures.
If you were on a celebrity cruise, for example, notify the cruise line within six months from the day of the injury. This is known as a 'statement of particulars,' and this rule applies to many other cruise lines. Then, you'll have a year to file a civil suit against the celebrity cruise line.
Each cruise line has different standards regarding the statement of particulars and lawsuit deadlines. Therefore, research the terms and conditions before proceeding with a lawsuit.
Proving Your Case
Cruise liners have insurance companies that will try to minimize your claim as much as possible. If there are any weaknesses within your case, the insurance carrier can reject your claim altogether. Collect as much physical evidence as you can in the following ways:
• Take photos or videos: Take photos of your injuries and the accident scene if possible. Document your injuries daily to showcase your suffering. Doing so may entitle you to pain-and-suffering damages.
• Find witnesses: If possible, try to get in touch with witnesses who witnessed the accident. Insurance companies will have trouble refuting eyewitness accounts.
• Save all of your medical bills: Have a doctor document your injuries extensively. Moreover, keep all of your medical bills as proof of your injuries.
Above all contact an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you organize the evidence and streamline the lawsuit process.
The Importance of Legal Assistance
Before your case goes to a civil trial, you may deal with the cruise liner's insurance company. The insurance carrier may offer a settlement before the case goes to trial. If this happens, be wary, as insurance companies usually offer lower payouts. Sadly, many victims accept low-ball offers.
Instead, seek a cruise ship accident lawyer for assistance. They can determine if the sum offered is satisfactory. If not, they will negotiate for a higher settlement on your behalf. If negotiations fail, your attorney will advise you to proceed with a lawsuit.
A lawyer will be invaluable in the courtroom because they can argue your case to a judge or jury effectively. More importantly, they will handle most of the legal work while you focus on the healing process.
Navigating a Cruise Ship Accident
Proving a cruise ship accident claim requires hard evidence in the form of medical documents, pictures, and photos. The cruise company's insurance carrier will try to save money at every turn.
Cruise ship injuries can be serious, which is why you need the highest settlement possible to contend with long-term injuries.
Are you dealing with injuries due to a cruise ship safety issue? Click here to learn about cruise accidents.