The ticket imposes several limitations and restrictions on your right to sue and notice requirement that must be given or your suit may be forever barred. The most important limitation that your ticket contract imposes is the ONE YEAR statute of limitations which is absolute, and requires that you file suit generally in Federal Court in Miami-Dade County, Florida (depending on the cruise line, we will advise you as to that), and always within one year of the date of your accident.
Your ticket also requires that you provide a six month notice letter before you can file suit (did you realy bargain for and negotiate this contract) We routinely provide this letter as a courtesy to our clients,and advise referring lawyers who may not know this requirement, so that you do not lose their right to sue. However, if you did not provide this six month notice, consult with us since our experience may still allow you to file suit.
Take Photos: Preserve Your Evidence on the Ship Before You Leave
The ship is controlled exclusively by the cruise line. We are rarely able to take the same pictures that you can take while you at sea, before you leave the vessel. The foreign substance, dangerous condition, or person who may have caused you harm is on the ship during the cruise. This evidence must be preserved BY PHOTOS. Our clients often fall as a result of excess water, oil, suntan lotion, food, beverages, wax on decks, stairs or other surfaces. These dangerous conditions caused your injury. However, without pictures to show the jury you will have no proof of what caused you to fall. Without this proof it is our experience that the cruise lines will say you did not fall,or that it was simply your own fault. PICTURES ARE AN ABSOLUTE NECESSITY. Protect yourself and your case by being smart and taking pictures. Don't forget pictures of bruises, lacerations, scrapes, cuts, tears, clothing which may contain foreign substance.
Get Names and Contact Info of Witnesses
After your incident there may be witnesses, people who saw what happened to you slip, or other passengers or crew members iwho witnessed or in cases of sexual assault, abuse or attack, passengers who may have seen inapporpiate advances or behavior by crew members. These observations are critical to later prove your claim. These people may live anywhere, especially foreign seamen or crew members. Get names, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses. Remember that the cruise line controls the ship, the scene and the employees (crew members from poor nations, are afraid to lose their job). However, the more information you can obtain shortly after the incident will allow our office to follow up and obtain favorable statements on your behalf.
Obtain Immediate and Appropriate Medical Care
Each ship is equipped with an infirmary with doctors and nurses. Insist upon immediate care. Go to the infirmary. If they are unavailable go to the purser's desk. Demand medical care. If the ship's doctor and/or infirmary cannot care for your (serious injuries) insist that the captain, who has the ultimate obligation of care, return to the nearest port with appropriate medical facilities or have you off-lifted by medivac.
Recently, the Florida Supreme Court determined that cruise ship owners are not liable for the act of ship's physician,This is a bad decision. Florida Admiralty Lawyers are exploring current cases to challenge this bad law. There are ways cruise lines as well as their physicians and nursing staff can be held liable for medical negligence, for failing to hire qualified competent physicians, to equip the infirmary with proper medication and equipment, and for its own independent negligence.