Royal Caribbean is one of the world’s most popular cruise lines. With thousands of people on board each ship and amusement park-like attractions for passenger entertainment, there are plenty of opportunities for injury. No one goes on vacation planning to sustain a life-altering injury, but they are a risk onboard cruise ships. If you have been injured on a Royal Caribbean ship, you should know how to pursue legal action and claims for your injuries.
Cruise Ship Accidents and Injuries
Modern cruise ships like to keep things fun and innovative for passengers, but unfortunately, some of the unique activities they offer come with a significant risk of injury. With attractions such as trampolines, waterslides, and even skydiving, passengers who partake in these activities run the risk of incurring unexpected and potentially severe injuries.
Even if you avoid all the riskier activities, cruise ships are the perfect breeding ground for all kinds of injuries to happen. Wet floors and stairs can cause slip and fall injuries. Slips and falls can also happen near pools and similar water features, in addition to the possibility of drowning accidents. Unfortunately, falling overboard is not an uncommon occurrence either. Passengers may also fall victim to food poisoning or virus outbreaks, which spread rapidly in enclosed environments where people are tightly packed together, such as cruise ships. The sheer number of passengers and crew onboard also raises the danger of physical altercations, assault, and injuries at the hands of other passengers or crew.
Unfortunately, a ship at sea is not the ideal place for proper medical assistance should you require it, and severe injuries will find the onboard medical resources sorely lacking.
Filing Restrictions and Maritime Law
The nature of cruise ship operations means they are subject to maritime laws, which means there are differences from a typical personal injury case. Maritime law holds that a ship is subject to the laws of the country it is registered in, which for tax and other reasons, is almost never the United States or any other homeport country whose laws passengers might assume protect them.
Cruise ships have been flying “flags of convenience” since the days of Prohibition to skirt U.S. laws and regulations. This means most ships are flagged in, and therefore subject to the laws of, countries such as the Bahamas, Panama, Bermuda, and Malta. This, naturally, leads to cruise lines flocking to register in those countries where safety, labor, and environmental regulations are the least stringent.
Your purchase of a Royal Caribbean cruise ticket amounts to a legal contract with the cruise line which bars you from pursuing injury claims except in specifically outlined circumstances such as negligence or intent to harm. The cruise line also places restrictions on where, how, and when you can file a claim.
How to File a Claim
If you wish to file a claim against Royal Caribbean, there are many complex and confusing laws and regulations by which you must abide. For instance, you are required to file a claim within six months of any injury or death, and it must be filed at Royal Caribbean’s headquarters in Miami, which may be problematic for you if you don’t live in the area.
For these and other reasons, it is advisable to hire an experienced maritime attorney such as Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkelman, PA to pursue any claim against Royal Caribbean. These lawyers have the experience and knowledge to guide you through your claim and pursue any remedies that may be available to you.