The Reality of Cruise Line Lawsuits

Following the several recently publicized cases of cruise ships encountering trouble while at sea, there has been widespread speculation regarding passengers filing lawsuits.

The Carnival Triumph, for example spent several days stranded at sea without any air conditioning, functioning toilets, or hot food. Therefore, several of the Triumph’s passengers have begun to consider their legal options.

In response to the incident, Carnival offered the Triumph passengers a full refund, credit towards a future cruise, reimbursement for specific on board expenses, and an additional payment of $500 per passenger.

While many passengers found the offer to be insulting, considering the conditions that they had to endure, unfortunately due to the relevant laws they may not be entitled to much, if anything, more than what they have already been offered.

The primary obstacle in cruiseship lawsuits is the incredibly limiting terms on the cruise tickets themselves, which form a legally binding contract. Many individuals on vacation do not realize that the ticket in their hand is also densely packed with disfavorable contract terms, and may unknowingly waive many of their rights.

Generally speaking, cruise ship lawsuits are governed by maritime law. This means that cruiseliners may not be held liable for damages related to emotional distress or mental suffering, unless caused by the cruise line’s negligence, and resulting in an actual physical injury. A simplified example of emotional distress leading to physical injury might be if an individual begins vomiting uncontrollably, or has some other directly related physical affliction.

Furthermore, like any other binding corporate contract, sometimes referred to as an adhesion contract (i.e., take it or leave it, in nature), there is a venue selection clause. In the case of the Carnival tickets, all lawsuits must be filed within the federal court located in Miami, Florida. Therefore, individuals wishing to sue would have to hire Florida attorneys, and may face costs flying to the venue for relevant court proceedings, such as depositions. Additionally, cruise ship tickets are reportedly infamous for including class action waivers within their terms, creating further difficulty for passengers wishing to band together.

However, just because there are these difficulties present, does not mean that it is impossible to win a case against a major cruise ship company, or any other corporate entity for that matter. By hiring a law firm experienced with fighting these corporate entities, you can have the best shot at securing the recovery to which you are entitled.

If you have been injured due to another individual or company’s negligence, or other wrongful acts, you may be entitled to recover damages for your injuries, including any relevant medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, etc. Though most injury cases deal with some sort of negligence, depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, you may be able to bring a products liability, premises liability, wrongful death, or other cause of action. An attorney will be able to go over your case in-depth, discussing any possible legal claims, and their probable potential for success.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to another person’s negligence in Maryland or the greater Washington D.C. area, contact the experienced personal injury law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers. Our personal injury attorneys have the experience and skills to successfully handle your accident case. We have successfully represented individuals across the state who have been injured in many different sorts of accidents that were caused by another person’s negligence. Contact us today in order to schedule your initial complimentary consultation. You can reach us through our website, or by calling 1-800-654-1949.

More Blog Posts:

Lawsuit Dismissed against Marshall University from Peculiar Personal Injury Incident, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, published June 14, 2013
Slip and Fall Accident Against Walmart Receives $11 million Verdict, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, published June 7, 2013

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