CRUISE SHIP INJURY ATTORNEY

cruise ship injury attorney

Houston Cruise Ship Injury Attorney

An injury can turn a vacation into a nightmare. Each year, millions of Americans hop aboard cruise ships for their vacations. Unfortunately, hundreds of these passengers are injured at some point along the journey. In some instances, cruise ship operators may be held liable for injuries that were suffered by their passengers, whether the accident occurred while aboard the ship or at a port of call. Cruise ship accident lawsuits may face several hurdles due to the unique nature of the injury or because the accident occurred while at sea. That’s why you need an experienced cruise ship injury attorney on your side.

At Reich & Binstock, we have extensive experience in a number of unique injury cases, including cruise ship injuries. If you or someone you know suffered an accident or injury on a cruise ship, we’re here for you. To get in touch with a cruise ship injury attorney in Houston, contact our office as soon as possible. Call today at 713-622-7271 or fill out our online intake form to schedule your free consultation.

Why Do I Need a Cruise Ship Injury Attorney?

Most people planning their dream cruise vacations don’t think about anything going wrong. In fact, most cruise trips go off without a hitch, which is why those trips are so popular. However, in the event that something goes wrong while at sea, we recommend keeping the following facts in mind. 

Read Your Ticket

Almost nobody reads the multi-page tickets with tiny font sizes from cruise lines. However, we definitely recommend reading them. They usually contain information about how your rights are affected by your ticket and your trip. For example, they outline that you have only one year to file a cruise injury lawsuit if you suffer an injury due to negligence. In other words, if you try to bring a case after one year passes, you’ll be out of luck. Many people are completely unaware of this provision. There are very few exceptions in rare circumstances.

Identify the Vessel’s Flag

Don’t assume that the laws of the United States apply on your cruise ship. Take a look at the flag of the vessel. If you see the stars and stripes, United States law applies. However, you might see the flag of the Bahamas or of Panama flying above the ship. In these cases, the laws that apply come from the country whose flag you see. Again, there are a few exceptions, but they are rare.

Medical Care Standards

Don’t assume the onboard doctor really knows their stuff just because of a uniform and their position in the ship’s hospital. If you have a diagnosed medical condition, check how high the standards are for the cruising company. Some companies have higher standards than others. For example, let’s say you have a heart condition. If one company allows psychiatrists to be their ship doctors, you probably shouldn’t travel with them.

Crimes Onboard

Unfortunately, crimes occur on cruise ships just like they do everywhere else. In fact, the same crimes that occur on ships also occur on land. Remain aware of your surroundings at all times to ensure that you don’t become a victim. This also applies to your children. Always ensure that they have supervision at all times.

When something goes wrong, don’t depend on the cruising company.

As with many companies that face lawsuits or repercussions, cruising companies will always protect themselves over their passengers. They will attempt to gather information to use against you. However, there are ways to protect yourself against this. If anything goes wrong, take pictures. Gather witness information like names, addresses, and phone numbers. Additionally, call a cruise ship injury attorney as soon as you can. They will offer specific advice on where to go from there.

Where to File a Lawsuit

Many times, the cruise ship ticket we mentioned earlier will specify where to file your lawsuit. If you file your suit in the wrong location and one year passes, the court will likely reject your case. At that point, it is almost certainly too late to file.

Examples of Cruise Ship Accidents and Disasters

Throughout our years of practice, our office has seen many cruise ship injuries and accidents occur. Some incidents receive national attention, while others get covered up. Below, we list some examples of cruise ship accidents and disasters, as well as how they affected the passengers.

Sinking, Crashing, and Grounding

These are among the worst possible cruise accidents. Sinking, crashing, and grounding all have the potential to lead to fatal injuries. Even a partial capsizing carries this possibility. Most people have heard of the tragedy of the Titanic in 1912. At one point, people labeled this ship as “unsinkable.” However, this mammoth ship snapped in two as it sank after it struck an iceberg. Over 1,500 passengers and crew members perished in this terrible event. Many people don’t realize that this event could have been avoided entirely. We know now that the ship needed far more lifeboats than it had. The captain could also have refused a faster cruising speed, which would have given the ship more time to maneuver around the iceberg.

Cruise Ship Fires

A cruise ship fire might seem strange, as the entire vessel is surrounded by water. However, this is a very real possibility. In fact, it happened back in 2013. A fire in one of the engine rooms left over 3,500 people stranded in the Gulf of Mexico. They had very little food and were forced to endure highly unsanitary conditions. After the incident, the company involved offered a measly refund, cruise credit, and $500 as compensation for the victims’ suffering. Many passengers filed lawsuits against the company after their terrible suffering and endangerment.

Sickness

Seasickness isn’t the only way people get sick on cruises. Unfortunately, with so many people coming from so many different places, cruise ships turn into petri dishes for illness and bacteria. This is especially true when the cruise line fails to keep high sanitary standards. The Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) is a program through the CDC which aims to maintain a safe and healthy cruise ship industry. These inspections through the VSP ensure that crewmembers and passengers have a safe experience on their trips.

Crime on Cruise Ships

Because there are so many different sorts of crimes that may – and have – occurred on the high seas, it’s a highly complicated issue. The most prevalent kind of crime aboard cruise ships is sexual assault. However, other crimes such as robbery, physical assault, and murder have all happened both onboard and onshore.

Inclement Weather

What happens if bad weather is to blame for an accident? Because skipping particular ports means missing out on the income produced by that location, cruise lines may disregard weather warnings or sail through poor weather deliberately. If a cruise line dismisses weather warnings for whatever reason and an accident happens, the cruise line may be held responsible for any injuries that result.

Overserving Alcohol

Just like in bars on shore, overserving alcohol to a cruise ship passenger poses many risks. If an intoxicated passenger continues to receive alcoholic beverages from the staff and causes or suffers injuries as a result, the ship may be responsible.

What Are Common Cruise Ship Injuries and Accidents?

Maritime law is highly complicated. Thus, you’ll want a highly experienced cruise ship injury attorney on your side. There are certainly steps to take that will help you avoid injury, but these steps are not foolproof. Accidents happen. Below, we list some of the most common incidents associated with cruise ships.

  • Crimes on cruise ships
  • Disappearances of ships
  • Passenger SOS
  • Sexual assaults and rapes
  • Drownings or falling overboard
  • Fires and burn injuries
  • Personal injuries

Consult with your cruise ship injury attorney to discuss whether or not your experience warrants a lawsuit.

What Should I Do After a Cruise Ship Accident?

Cruise ship injuries and accidents can happen in any number of ways. Thus, many clients ask us what to do after an accident on a cruise ship. Our answers always depend on their specific situation, as well as the surrounding circumstances. However, there are a number of important steps to take. We list these below.

  • File and obtain a copy of the crime report or accident report.
  • Document the accident as much as possible. This includes taking pictures, obtaining witness information, and the names of crew members you report the incident to.
  • Immediately seek medical attention aboard the ship.
  • Contact your cruise ship injury attorney as soon as possible.

If you’ve been hurt in a cruise ship accident, you should contact a cruise ship injury attorney right away. We will devote the time necessary to give your case the particular attention it deserves, and we will advise you on your legal rights and the statute of limitations that apply to your case.

Cruise Ship Accident Statute of Limitations

By law, a cruise company with a correctly drafted ticket can limit the amount of time it takes to file a lawsuit to one year. Normally, an admiralty action has a three-year statute of limitations. However, virtually every cruise line, if not all, has a one-year restriction.

If you’ve missed your deadline, however, you may be able to prove that the contract-based limits period was unfair and unenforceable, or that you qualify for an exception, depending on the circumstances.

How Can a Cruise Ship Injury Attorney Help Me?

Achieving a successful outcome in a marine personal injury or fatality case necessitates the use of lawyers who are well-versed in the maritime laws. Due to the advantages that businesses in the cruise ship sector enjoy, such as the following, these sorts of lawsuits might be challenging.

  • Non-disclosure rules that seek to keep the names of individuals who are injured, go missing, or die from their injuries from being released.
  • The most prevalent argument is that US courts do not have jurisdiction over what happens in foreign seas.
  • When dealing with wounded crew members and guests, cruise lines frequently allege a lack of responsibility in order to give accident victims the impression that their claim is invalid.

A cruise ship injury attorney with Reich & Binstock will understand all these tactics and more. Our track record speaks for itself, as we’ve overcome numerous obstacles in our quest for justice for our clients. We fight tooth and nail to ensure that our clients receive the compensation they deserve after a cruise ship injury.

Contact a Cruise Ship Injury Attorney Today

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury while aboard a cruise ship or even on an off-ship excursion, contact one of the Houston personal injury attorneys at Reich & Binstock. Our cruise ship injury  attorneys have the experience and the know-how to handle even the most complex cruise ship personal injury claims. Please fill out our simple contact form or call us at 713-622-7271 for a free consultation.

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