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Cruise Ship Injuries and Maritime Law

Cruise Ship Accidents Statistics

By compiling statistics from the BBC, U.S. Department of Transportation and National Geographic, we can estimate that about 448 major cruise ship accidents have been reported since 2005. During these incidents, people have been injured and even lost their lives.

When an accident happens at sea, who has jurisdiction? Which laws apply? This article will give you more details about the differences between maritime laws and state laws for injuries on cruise ships.

What Types of Accidents Can Happen at Sea?

There are many safety hazards involved with taking an international cruise. Here are some of the most common types of accidents that lead to injuries on cruises:

  • The spreading of viruses
  • Fires
  • Improper sanitation procedures
  • Loss of power
  • Evacuation of the boat due to an emergency situation
  • Plumbing issues
  • The ship running aground
  • The ship sinking
  • Criminal activities

One recent example of such an incident occurred in 2013 on a Triumph cruise ship. A fire in the engine room caused a loss of power, air conditioning and sewage systems on the ship. As a result, the boat was stranded for several days. 4,200 passengers were aboard.

Where Did the Accident Occur?

The most significant aspect of a cruise ship injury case is determining where the accident occurred. Accidents that occur onboard the ship are usually subject to maritime law. Article III of the Constitution gives the U.S. federal courts jurisdiction over these at-sea disputes. When a cruise ship is docked in a foreign country or on open water, maritime laws apply.

Was a Crime Committed at Sea?

Around 100 cruise-related crimes were reported to the FBI between 2017 and the beginning of 2018. Surprisingly, sexual assault was the most commonly reported crime at sea. If you’ve been a victim of a crime while aboard a cruise ship, things can get complicated very quickly. The case becomes complex because multiple agencies will likely get involved including:

  • The FBI
  • Cruise Ship Security
  • The U.S. Coast Guard
  • Authorities from Foreign Countries
  • State authorities

These authorities are expected to cooperate and share any evidence with each other. Unfortunately, this complex investigation coupled with conflicting international law can create a very sticky situation. If you’ve been the victim of a crime at sea, then it’s best to reach out to an experienced maritime law attorney to help you determine what you can do.

Contact a Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Cruise Ship Injury Case in Florida

Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries on a cruise ship in Florida? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Lawlor, White & Murphey represent clients injured on cruise ships in Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Weston, Coconut Creek, Pompano Beach, Plantation, and throughout Florida. Call (954) 525-2345 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 2211 Davie Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312, as well as offices in Pembroke Pines, Weston, Coconut Creek, Pompano Beach, Plantation.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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