Fort Lauderdale Cruise Accident Lawyer

Cowen Edwards helps injury victims in Fort Lauderdale, especially those injured in cruise line accidents. Many people in Fort Lauderdale choose these cruise ships and lines for vacation and time with family and friends. Unfortunately, while these ships offer many different amenities, they’re also ripe for accidents and injuries. If you’ve suffered an injury on a cruise ship and want to know more about your legal options, contact us today for a free consultation.

Should You Hire a Lawyer?

As you might expect, being in an accident on a cruise in Fort Lauderdale (or anywhere else) raises important legal questions. First and foremost, you’re probably wondering if you can file an injury claim. You can. From there, you’re probably wondering if you need a lawyer. This depends on your needs and the circumstances. If the accident was minor, you can probably talk with the cruise line and get the help you need. However, in the event that your accident or injuries were more serious, our team can help you. We’ll investigate the accident, explain your options, guide you through the process, and generally just make things easier for you and your family.

What Makes Cruise Ship Accidents Different?

Again, it’s the circumstances that make cruise ship accidents very different from what you normally see in Fort Lauderdale. Not only that, but there’s a number of different factors involved in a cruise ship accident that make it unique:

  • Maritime law – Cruise ships operate under maritime law, which has its own set of rules and regulations distinct from those of land-based accidents. This can affect liability, your damages, and the legal process involved in filing a claim.

  • International waters – Cruise ships often travel through international waters, which can complicate matters when determining which laws apply and which jurisdiction has authority over the accident.

  • Premises liability – Like any other business or piece of property, cruise ships have a duty to maintain a safe environment for you and other passengers. However, the unique challenges of operating at sea can lead to accidents caused by factors such as slippery decks, inadequate security, or malfunctioning equipment.

  • Common carrier status – Cruise ships are considered common carriers, which means they have a heightened duty of care towards their passengers. This includes providing adequate safety measures, properly trained staff, and prompt medical attention in the event of an accident or illness onboard.

  • Multiple people involved – Cruise ship accidents can involve multiple parties, including the cruise line, crew members, other passengers, and third-party vendors operating.onboard or at port terminals.

What You Should Do

What doesn’t change in a cruise ship accident are the steps you should take to protect your health, safety, and legal rights. While it’s true that the rules are somewhat different on a cruise ship, when there’s negligence involved, you have the same rights as any other injury victim in Fort Lauderdale. As such, here’s what you need to do in the event of an accident:

  • Report the accident right away – Inform the crew or ship management about the accident and your injuries immediately. Also ask them to create an incident report and make sure you receive medical attention onboard.

  • Document the incident – If possible, get visual evidence like photos and videos of the location where the accident happened. These visual aids can help identify any safety concerns on the cruise ship.

  • Preserve evidence – Whenever possible, safeguard any evidence you have with the accident, such as torn clothing, damaged possessions, or faulty equipment. Don’t repair or replace anything, as this will be valuable evidence in your potential claim.

  • Maintain documentation – Keep records of all communications relating to the accident, including any emails, letters, text messages, and phone calls with the cruise line, insurance companies, and others. Also, keep any bills and receipts to track your damages.

Getting hurt on a cruise ship is never a good thing, especially if it could have been avoided. But it’s important to know how to effectively respond. This includes taking legal steps to hold the cruise ship and anyone else involved accountable.

Claims Process After a Cruise Ship Accident

The best way to hold a cruise ship accountable for your injuries is taking legal action. This means taking steps to file an injury claim. And like any other injury claim, it involves figuring a few things out. Foremost among these is liability, which is determined by negligence. In the context of a cruise ship accident, negligence means:

  • The responsible party, most notably the cruise ship company or management, had a duty to keep you and other passengers safe.
  • They breached that duty, which led to the accident and your injuries and other damages.

With this in mind, there’s several potential parties who could share liability:

  • Owners of the cruise line – They oversee the cruise’s operation and safety procedures.
  • Ship crew – They manage the ship and ensure passenger safety.
  • Terminal authorities – They handle the cruise terminal’s logistics and safety.
  • Businesses – Shops, bars, and restaurants within the terminal are accountable for maintaining safe premises.
  • Manufacturers – Companies making onboard equipment must ensure it’s safe.
  • Security – Security staff onboard and at the terminal maintain safety.
  • Other passengers – Sometimes, their actions can contribute to accidents.


With so many potential parties involved, it complicates things. But it’s still a vital part of your claim, because it sets the parameters of who exactly will pay for your damages. This is the legal term for your losses, and can be gotten through actually filing your injury claim via an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.

While your exact damages depend on the circumstances, the following are generally available:

  • Medical expenses – This is meant to cover the bills for your medical care after the accident.
  • Lost wages – Payment for the income you couldn’t earn because of the accident.
  • Property damage – Costs to fix or replace your things damaged in the accident.
  • Emotional distress – Support for the stress and sadness caused by the accident.
  • Pain and suffering – Help for both the physical and emotional hurt from the accident.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life – Financial support to make up for not being able to do fun things because of the accident.

Again, it’s worth noting that your damages are going to depend on the circumstances of your accident. On a cruise ship, there’s a huge number of potential accidents and injuries, mostly involving:

  • Wet decks and floors around pools, dining areas, and other spots can lead to slips and falls.
  • Unpredictable weather and rough seas can cause a loss of balance and injuries.
  • If proper safety signs, handrails, and life-saving equipment aren’t in place, accidents can happen.
  • Participating in onboard or port activities without proper supervision can lead to accidents.
  • Errors by the ship’s crew, like not maintaining equipment properly, can contribute to accidents.
  • Rarely, malfunctions in the ship’s equipment or infrastructure can cause accidents.
  • Fires and electrical problems pose risks if not handled correctly.
  • Improper food handling can cause outbreaks of illness among passengers and crew.
  • Excessive drinking can lead to accidents and altercations.
  • Inadequate security measures can result in theft or assaults.

Regardless of what your injuries are and the circumstances surrounding it, it’s important to act quickly. Florida’s statute of limitations for an injury claim is two years from the date of the accident. While there’s some wiggle room here depending on where the accident happened, it’s still in your best interest not to miss the two-year deadline and lose out on your damages.

Get Help from Experienced Fort Lauderdale Cruise Accident Lawyers

Being injured on a cruise in Fort Lauderdale is extremely scary, not just because of the potential injuries but also because it leaves a lot of questions. To answer these questions, you can get help from our team of experienced Fort Lauderdale cruise accident lawyers at Cowen Edwards. We can explain your rights and help you through the recovery process. Contact us today to set up your free, no-obligation consultation to learn more.