The General Maritime Law of the United States provides protections to cruise ship passengers who suffer injuries at any time while onboard a ship, including when that ship is on the open seas. The rules are similar to any personal injury claims, but the engagement of a knowledgeable and experienced admiralty lawyer to seek compensation for injuries is highly advised because of the unusual legal nuances of suing a cruise ship line.

Understandably, the need to engage admiralty lawyers is not considered by most people planning a cruise. But as recent, highly-publicized cases illustrate, several types of misfortunes can befall passengers on an onboard holiday:

  • Food poisoning
  • Slip and falls or other injury
  • Assault by crew, both physical or sexual violence
  • Assault by another passenger, also physical or sexual violence

Cruise lines are well-prepared for such events and have skilled admiralty lawyers who write ticket contracts that specify how to handle any alleged infringement of maritime laws. Although few people actually read the terms, those tickets often require passengers to pursue lawsuits within two parameters:

  • Statute of limitations. The lawsuit must be brought within one year of the injury, even though most personal injury statutes allow for three years after discovery of the injury. The admiralty lawyer for the plaintiff must sometimes provide good reason why the injury discovery was delayed (e.g., an undiagnosed concussion from a slip and fall injury led to a cognitive impairment diagnosis 18 months later).

  • Venue. Such a suit needs to be brought in a specific court at the convenience of the cruise line (often in Seattle or Miami).

Contact us

Powell & Majestro provides legal representation to clients in personal injury litigation, and has frequently served as maritime lawyers to cruise ship passengers. The firm is experienced in working on behalf of injured seamen, tourists and the operators of recreational seagoing craft in both inland waterways and open seas. Contact us today.

Powell & Majestro PLLC
405 Capitol Street
Charleston WV 25301-1765
(304) 346-2889

The General Maritime Law of the United States provides protections to cruise ship passengers who suffer injuries at any time while onboard a ship, including when that ship is on the open seas. The rules are similar to any personal injury claims, but the engagement of a knowledgeable and experienced admiralty lawyer to seek compensation for injuries is highly advised because of the unusual legal nuances of suing a cruise ship line.

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