Florida Cruise Ship Injuries

Florida Cruise Ship Injuries

The Tampa Bay area is renowned for its myriad outdoor recreational opportunities, and the warm weather year-round makes the city a hotspot for tourism and maritime travel. Because Tampa houses a multitude of docks for cruise lines, passengers and ship employees frequently flow in and out of the city on their voyages through the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. With the constant traffic and the inherent risks that come with travel, cruise ship injuries are hardly rare occurrences. For that reason, it is important for everyone onboard a vessel to know her or his rights in the event of an emergency.

After Your Cruise Ship Injuries, You Must Gather Intel.

If you suffer cruise ship injures, the first thing you should do is seek appropriate medical care. Second, you should report your injury to onboard personnel. They will complete an accident report, and you should try to get a copy of that report if at all possible. In the meantime, record every bit of information you can about the site and circumstances of the accident through note taking and photographs.

Once You Return to Shore, Timing Is Everything.

When you disembark at the end of the cruise, you should contact an attorney who is qualified to handle cases involving cruise ship injuries, as formal written notice needs to be given to the cruise line within 180 days of your injury, and if your claim cannot be amicably resolved, a suit must be filed within one year of the date of injury and in a location unrelated to the area in which your accident occurred.

Your Ticket Aboard Is the Ticket to Your Claim.

There are clearly stated provisions on the boarding passes for ships belonging to commercial cruise lines. These provisions will state that the injured passenger must provide written notice within six months of the date of the injury, and the notice must detail the circumstances of the injury and the treatment that was sought.

Where You Were Injured Is Less Important Than the Location of the Cruise Line’s Headquarters.

Different cruise lines will require that suits against them be filed in faraway cities. A suit against Holland America, for example, must be filed in Seattle regardless of where the cruise liner was at the time of the injury. An injury sustained on a Carnival cruise has to be debated in a Miami court of law. These locations are not arbitrary; they are the U.S. headquarters of these cruise lines, and for that reason, cases must be filed in the headquarters’ respective district courts.

Cruise Ship Injuries Sustained on Docks Are Treated Similarly.

Individuals who suffer electrical injuries on docks should ensure that they have moved themselves to a safe location before taking further action. Once they are away from the source of the injury, they should notify the owners of the facility, take photographs of all the equipment involved, get the names and phone numbers of all witnesses, and jot down the serial numbers and manufacturers of the equipment. The source of the injury must be immediately investigated by a qualified third party so that you can build your case.

Ship Personnel Are Protected by Federal Legislation.

According to a section of federal law known as the Jones Act, a seaman injured during employment may be entitled to file suit against her or his employer. Under aegis of the Jones Act, an attorney can fight to recover compensation for present and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. In addition, the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA) protects longshoremen and maritime workers who are not considered “seamen.” These individuals are often injured while working on vessels with dangerous conditions such as ladders, hatches, and slippery decks, and these workers are entitled to compensation when accidents occur.

Florida and federal law has put protections in place for mariners and vacationers alike, as no injury caused by unsafe conditions should be left legally and medically unaddressed. When negligence or some other factor creates a hazard, the responsible party must be held accountable. As a staple of Northwest Tampa, our firm is familiar with many of the incidents and injuries that befall boat passengers and employees, and with our background in maritime and admiralty law, we can answer any questions or concerns you might have about an accident that you experienced while on a ship. Contact us today to discuss your cruise ship injuries.