Perhaps passengers are becoming more aware of their rights? Perhaps they’re scared of making a bad decision?
Perhaps they’ve read too many stories on CNN or on social media about people falling off cruise ships and having to be rescued or a woman falling from a balcony and dying.
Whatever the reason, we’re finding that more passengers who were involved in an accident are calling our office while they are still on the cruise.
Why are they calling directly from the cruise ship?
They’re calling because they’re hurt, they’re afraid of making a wrong decision that could impact their ability to potentially sue the cruise line.
They may call immediately after the accident. They may call after they’ve been attended to by cruise ship medical personnel. They may call because they realize that what started out as a relaxing vacation has ended up in tragedy. Many law firms are suggestion this now, even local car accident lawyers like Baron and Herskowitz here in Miami who would prefer you to call from the accident scene, hospital or your home as soon after the accident as possible.
They want to know what their next move should be
As we outlined in a past article – Should I Call a Cruise Ship Lawyer While I’m Still On My Cruise? – having an attorney talk you through the “next steps” is often very important as well – especially if an injury claim is to be made against the cruise line. If you need to eventually file a lawsuit against the cruise line, the details of the incident will be extremely important. And as time passes, as we all know, details tend to fade.
Act fast or lose out?
Additionally, timing is important. What does that mean? It means that cruise lines dictate in their passenger contract that, if you’re injured and file a claim against the cruise line, that you have to do so within a certain period of time. Often that period of time is just 6 months from the date of the accident.
Deciding whether to file an injury claim against a cruise line takes time. The cruise lines know that a lot of details and decision making goes into the filing of a claim. They count on the fact that 6 months is really a short amount of time.
First and foremost, a hurt passenger is trying to recover from their injuries. Depending on how severe those injuries are, a passenger could lose valuable time – they may be hospitalized for extended periods or may be convalescing or working with rehab therapists.
Then there is the decision to go it alone or hire an attorney. Many passengers, regardless of the severity of their injuries will try to contact the cruise lines themselves and manage the details of filing a claim alone. This could lead to delays as well. An even when a lawyer is involved, it takes time to collect accident details, medical records and other pertinent information.
Again, the cruise lines rely on the fact that it’s hard to pull together the information you need to file a claim – and to do it thoroughly and correctly – within 6 months.
Royal Caribbean gives you 6 months – is that enough time?
Here’s a link to the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line passage contract that outlines the procedures for filing claims or lawsuits against the cruise line. Careful – it’s confusing and difficult to read. It’s one reason law firms like ours exist – hurt passengers often require help from experienced attorneys.
Here’s the part of the contract that talks about when the claim needs to be made against Royal Caribbean:
10. NOTICE OF CLAIMS AND COMMENCEMENT OF SUIT OR ARBITRATION; SECURITY: a. TIME LIMITS FOR PERSONAL INJURY/ILLNESS/DEATH CLAIMS: NO SUIT SHALL BE MAINTAINABLE AGAINST CARRIER,
THE VESSEL OR THE TRANSPORT FOR PERSONAL INJURY, ILLNESS OR DEATH OF ANY PASSENGER UNLESS WRITTEN NOTICE OF THE CLAIM, WITH FULL PARTICULARS, SHALL BE DELIVERED TO CARRIER AT THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS, C/O ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES LTD., 1050 CARIBBEAN WAY, MIAMI, FL 33132, WITHIN SIX (6) MONTHS FROM THE DATE OF THE INJURY, ILLNESS OR DEATH AND SUIT IS COMMENCED (FILED) WITHIN ONE (1) YEAR FROM THE DATE OF SUCH INJURY, ILLNESS OR DEATH AND PROCESS SERVED WITHIN 120 DAYS AFTER FILING, NOTWITHSTANDING ANY PROVISION OF LAW OF ANY STATE OR COUNTRY TO THE CONTRARY.
That’s some heavy reading – and that’s just one paragraph of an eleven page document.
Having a lawyer to help can make all the difference
Most people who are hurt on a cruise ship won’t have the ability to contact a cruise ship injury lawyer. Either they won’t think to do so, they’ll be too focused on getting medical care (as they should be) or, they won’t be able to “get service” to make a call or send an email from the cruise ship or the port they are in. But if it is possible to make contact with a lawyer, it is advisable. Law firms should offer free consultations in this situation. They can quickly help your review the details of the accident and outline the “next steps” for you.
At Waks and Barnett, P.A. we want you to be safe. When that isn’t the case, please call us so we can help.