Sustaining an injury during a cruise is a painful and disheartening experience. But what are your rights in such a scenario? How do you navigate the legal system to receive compensation for your injuries? What’s the time limit for filing a lawsuit against the cruise line?
If you’re in such a predicament, see here for details on getting relevant support from knowledgeable trial lawyers. Even so, what you do and how long you wait after the accident could make or break your case.
One usually has 3 years to file a personal injury lawsuit against a cruise line. However, depending on the cruise line operator in question, you may have a year to file your claim. Nonetheless, the time allotted can vary due to a multitude of elements, including:
- Nature of injury – an injury may prevent you from filing suit within the time limit
- Victim’s age
Let’s assume you fail to file a personal injury lawsuit against a cruise line within the applicable statute of limitations. In that case, it can be difficult or even impossible to recover compensation for your losses. Therefore, if you suffer an injury while on a cruise ship, contact an experienced maritime lawyer to start the claim process, including building a strong case.
The Case of Minors
If your child is the claimant, they have three years to file a lawsuit. We know; it might seem like a lot of time, but remember time flies. One moment your child could be nursing an injury, and before you know it, the statute of limitations has expired. If this happens, the opposing party may have the edge and can use the expired time limit to their advantage.
The court may consider a few items when calculating your filing window for minors. That said, consult with a maritime lawyer immediately after the incident to protect your child’s rights.
The Devil is in The Details
Your ticket contract usually spells out the details, helping you know how long you have to file a suit. A provision in the contract may also require you to notify the cruise of your intended action within a given period. You can prepare the notice or have your attorney do so. Talk to your injury lawyer to help you understand the terms.
Typically, you have six months to inform the cruise line of the lawsuit you plan to file, including the accident details. So, review the contract’s stipulations to remain compliant.
In some cases, an additional stipulation in your ticket may require you to file a lawsuit within a number of days after the incident occurred. And since the clock usually starts ticking when an event occurs, the sooner you file a suit, the more likely you can get a favorable outcome. Failure to claim within the given time could mean the difference between a successful lawsuit and none.
Also, your ticket may contain a forum selection clause. For starters, the clause determines the court where you can file a suit. If a clause exists, ensure your lawyer knows about it, so they can comply with the requirements and avoid potential delays. Mostly, the cruise ship operator chooses the venues, which can hinder your chances of success. Thankfully, your lawyer can file a motion for a change of venue. Hence, the court may disregard the clause or transfer the case to a more applicable jurisdiction.
If you plan to take legal action against a cruise line, contact a maritime lawyer well-versed in the relevant laws – a fact we cannot understate. They can help you figure out your legal rights and provide advice on how to proceed.
What Should You Do?
You need to take various steps to raise your chances of a favorable outcome following an injury. Here’re tips to guide you through the process:
- Report the incident and injuries to the cruise line.
- Seek medical attention and document your injuries.
- Get a copy of your ticket to review the applicable laws and filing window.
- Gather evidence, including photos and witness statements, if possible.
- Contact a maritime lawyer immediately and follow their advice to the letter.
- Respect all deadlines, including the statute of limitations.
The key is to act fast by initiating a lawsuit within the allotted time. And the sooner you speak to a maritime lawyer, the higher your chances of success. This is even more crucial if you file on behalf of a minor. And remember, cruise lines are large corporations with extensive resources at their disposal – a point to consider. To stand a chance against them, you need a compelling argument and competent legal counsel.