Florida Cruise Accident Lawyer

Cowen Edwards represents injury victims across Fort Lauderdale, including those that have been hurt in accidents on cruise lines. Florida is one of the most popular spots for those embarking on a cruise because of its proximity to both the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. However, the possibility of being in an accident on one of these huge ships is not out of the question. If this has happened to you or a loved one and you want to know more about your legal options, contact us today for a free consultation.

Do You Need a Lawyer After a Cruise Accident?

Whether or not you need a lawyer depends on your circumstances. Some accidents on these cruise ships are relatively minor, and you can probably get medical care and other assistance from the ship’s crew and management. However, in the event that your injuries are more severe or the accident is traumatic, you are within your legal rights to file an injury claim. Once you decide you want to move forward, our team can help you by:

  • Investigating the accident and what happened
  • Figuring out who’s at fault
  • Evaluating your damages and helping you gather crucial evidence
  • Helping you through the insurance claims process, and if necessary, a lawsuit
  • Making the whole process easier on you

Regardless of where or when the cruise leaves, it’s vital to know your rights and options. Further, this is true no matter what cruise line you happen to be on. However, each line will have its own regulations and policies. Some of the more popular cruise lines in that call Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades home include:

What Should You Do After an Accident?

Being on a cruise usually means fun, relaxation, and time with loved ones and others.

There are plenty of things to do aboard numerous cruise lines in Florida, whether you’re enjoying the amenities on the ship or exploring shoreside destinations. However, with the abundance of activities comes the potential for accidents. While nobody plans for mishaps during a cruise, it’s wise to stay prepared just in case. So, when you’re in an accident, it’s very important to:

  • Report the accident – Tell the crew or management about the accident and your injuries right away. Ask that they create a report. Also, make sure to get medical care onboard.
  • Document what happened – If possible, take photos and videos of the location where the incident occurred. This evidence can highlight any safety hazards at the cruise terminal.
  • Talk to any witnesses – Seek out witnesses who observed the incident. While your friends may have witnessed it, people you don’t know but still saw what happened might offer valuable insights.
  • Preserve evidence – If possible, preserve any physical evidence related to the accident, such as torn clothing, damaged belongings, or defective equipment. Do not alter or repair any damaged items until they have been properly documented.
  • Keep records – Maintain records of all communication related to the accident, including emails, letters, and phone calls with the cruise line, insurance companies, and legal representatives.

Common Accidents and Injuries

Accidents can occur unexpectedly while you’re aboard a cruise ship, potentially resulting in injuries. These injuries can have significant consequences for you and your loved ones, similar to other accidents in Florida. Although each incident is unique, various injuries can occur depending on the circumstances:

  • Slip and falls – These accidents may happen due to wet surfaces, obstacles, or uneven flooring on the ship.
  • Cuts and bruises – Sharp objects, collisions, or falls can lead to minor injuries like cuts and bruises.
  • Burns – Burns can be caused by hot surfaces, scalding liquids, or other hazards onboard.
  • Drowning – Falls overboard or incidents in swimming pools can result in drowning or near-drowning situations.
  • Bone fractures – Falls, collisions, or other accidents on board or during harsh waves can cause fractures and broken bones.
  • Soft tissue injuries – Sudden movements, slips, or falls can result in muscle and ligament sprains and strains.
  • Respiratory injuries – Exposure to poor air quality or hazardous substances can lead to respiratory problems.
  • Head injuries – Accidents involving head impacts, such as falls or collisions, can cause head injuries.
  • Injuries during shore activities – Participating in shore activities may lead to accidents like slips, falls, or other mishaps.
  • Foodborne illnesses – Consumption of contaminated food or water can cause food poisoning or gastrointestinal issues.
  • Recreational activity injuries – Engaging in onboard recreational activities such as rock climbing or sports can result in injuries.

Being injured on a cruise ship is far from ideal, especially when it could have been prevented. Still, it’s important to know how to respond effectively. From there, you will have some legal questions to answer, which we can help you with.

Liability For a Cruise Line Accident

Any injury claim requires figuring out liability. This is no different on a cruise. However, one big difference is where the accident occurs. For example, if you’re on board the cruise ship prior to leaving port in Florida, state law pertaining to liability will probably apply. However, this changes if you’re in international waters or on shore in another country.

Typically, cruise ships operate under “maritime” law, which has different rules compared to state law in Florida. However, the law treats your accident like any other premises liability case if your injury stems from:

  • Crew negligence
  • The actions of another passenger

This means that the cruise company and crew have a duty to prioritize passenger safety. In legal terms, a cruise ship is considered a “common carrier,” which heightens their responsibility to protect you and other passengers.

If this duty is breached, resulting in an accident and injury, you have the right to file an injury claim. However, others could share some of the liability for your injuries, like:

  • The cruise line’s operating company
  • The crew managing the cruise operations
  • Authorities in charge of the cruise terminal
  • Businesses operating within the terminal, such as shops, bars, and restaurants
  • Manufacturers of onboard equipment
  • Security personnel and companies
  • Other passengers

As you can see, a claim for a cruise line injury in Florida can be legally intricate. That’s why partnering with our experienced team at Cowen Edwards can provide clarity and assistance throughout the entire process.

What Damages Are Available in a Claim After a Cruise Accident?

Getting injured on a cruise ship in Florida is indeed a unique situation, but the legal process afterward is similar to other personal injury claims in the state. After an injury on a cruise ship, you typically have two options: file an insurance claim or file  a personal injury lawsuit. The process usually starts with an insurance claim and may progress to a lawsuit based on your situation.

The main goal of this claim is to recover “damages” from the responsible parties. Like other injury claims, this includes things like you:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Repair/replacement costs for any property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of companionship or quality of life
  • Wrongful death expenses in a fatal accident
  • Punitive damages, in rare cases

Remember, all injury claims in Florida, including those from cruise ship accidents, must be filed within a specific time frame called the “statute of limitations.” This is currently set at two years from the date of the injury.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can be blamed for a cruise ship accident in Florida?

Various parties could be responsible for a cruise ship accident in Florida, such as the cruise line, crew, contractors, or other passengers, depending on factors like negligence.

What damages can I get for a cruise ship accident in Florida?

If you’re hurt in a cruise ship accident in Florida, you might get compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other related damages.

Should I hire a lawyer for a cruise ship accident in Florida?

You don’t need a lawyer for any injury claim in Florida, including those that come out of accidents on a cruise ship. However, given the complexity involved, it’s in your best interest to work with our team.

Experienced Florida Cruise Accident Lawyers

Most people take a cruise expecting to have fun and relax along Florida’s beautiful coastline. At Cowen Edwards, we understand that accidents can happen and the resulting injuries can be long-lasting. We’ll be there to help you through the entire process. To get started, contact us today for a free consultation.

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