Today's blog comes to us from Frank D. Butler, a Personal Attorney who practices in the area of maritime law, including cruise ship injuries and other maritime concerns. You can reach Frank D. Butler to request a consultation at (888) 262-8529 or contact him online at any time.
In 2018, it is projected that 28 million passengers will cruise on one of the numerous cruise ship options.
For many residents of South Carolina who choose to cruise, it will be from Charleston—which now offers nine cruises through Carnival Cruise Lines. Other South Carolina residents will choose to go to Florida and leave on a cruise ship from Jacksonville, Port Canaveral, Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale or Miami.
For the last ten years cruise ship passengers have increased from 18 million passengers in 2009 up to the 28 million passengers projected for 2018. Florida offers a range of cruise lines—like Disney, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Celebration—more than any other State.
Having handled cruise ship injury cases for 25 years throughout Florida from our Tampa Bay law office, we have seen the cruise lines continue to add more passengers on ever larger vessels with ever larger numbers of crew to service the passengers. Accidents do happen on cruise ships. The cruise ships have been called “floating cities”—which have their own medical staff, police force, restaurants, movie theaters, casino, shops, spas, community pools, etc. It is a matter of statistics that placing 4000 to 6000 people on a vessel every five days is going to lead to potential injury claims.
Here is what to know. All of the cruise lines listed above—including Carnival—have a section in their ticket book (i.e., your contract with them) which says that if you have an injury claim you will bring it in the State of Florida.
It does not matter whether you got on the vessel in Charleston, Galveston, or Miami, the ticket says you agree that any claim you make for injury must be brought in Florida. Also, you need to know that the statute of limitations for the above-named cruise lines is usually 1 year from the date of the incident—and you have an additional obligation to give notice of your claim well before the statute of limitations. You cannot just file suit against the cruise line in South Carolina. *There are some cruise lines where you have to file your claim other than in Florida, and that is why it is important to call upon a maritime attorney to help you with your cruise ship injury case.
It is important that the attorney you choose to represent you knows where suit has to be filed for you. Equally, it is important that you choose an attorney for your cruise ship injury case who knows what laws will apply to your claim. Should suit be filed in federal court or state court? Will federal maritime law apply or will state law apply, or possibly both? These maritime injury cases differ greatly from the law which is applied to dog bite or automobile injury cases, and not just because of where the accident happened.
Because so many cruise lines require claims to be filed in Florida we see clients from all over the United States. Within the last year we have successfully handled cruise ship injury cases for clients from South Carolina, Alabama, Texas, Ohio, Massachusetts, New York, Michigan, Florida, and many other states. Do not allow an attorney to tell you they can avoid your claim being filed in any state other than Florida for the above-named cruise lines because that would be fatal to your case.
You can find much more information on our website at www.888BoatLaw.com.
We hope you enjoyed our guest post from Frank D. Butler. What other Personal Injury questions do you have? Let us know in the comments below. Remember that you can always call Bluestein Attorneys to request a consultation at (877) 524-4675 or contact us online by clicking the banner below.