Cruise ships are back in Mobile, enabling locals to easily access four and five day jaunts to Mexico. These regularly scheduled trips are a far cry from the disasters the city had to handle a few years ago, when disabled cruise ships required emergency assistance. While you hope your planned cruise doesn’t end in calamity the way those outings did, it’s always a possibility. If you or a loved one is seriously injured or becomes ill from food poisoning or another avoidable issue while on a cruise, an experienced maritime attorney can help.
Cruise ships are considered common carriers. That means the ship travels along a prescribed route when carrying passengers and/or freight. While common carriers must adhere to certain safety standards, they are not held to the strictest liability levels. That makes determining liability difficult. By law, it comes down to what “a reasonably careful ship operator” did or did not do to protect passengers. That does not only pertain to injuries, such as slip and falls. Unfortunately, assault, rapes and other crimes of violence occur during what was supposed to be a relaxing vacation.
If you suffer an injury on land because of another person’s negligence or recklessness in the United States, there are plenty of personal injury attorneys to represent you. Those occurrences fall under tort law. Suffer that same injury on a cruise ship, and you will discover that relatively few lawyers specialize in maritime law. Because of tight time restrictions on filing suit in maritime law, it is crucial that you discuss the case with a knowledgeable maritime attorney. Miss that window, and your claim is barred. It’s also important to read and understand the boilerplate on your ticket, because the purchase and use of the ticket is your contract with the cruise ship operator.
The majority of cruise ships operating out of U.S. ports are not registered in this country. Most are registered in countries with less stringent safety standards. Under the law, the plaintiff in the case – the injured party – must prove that the ship’s operator knew or should have known an unsafe condition existed. Ship operators aren’t psychics, so there are many events that will not qualify as negligence because they were not issues the operator could have foreseen.
It is possible that proving fault requires finding witnesses to the incident or negligent condition. Another course of action is hiring an expert witness to provide information about ship safety standards and how they were neglected or evaded.
Contact an Attorney Serving Alabama
If you or a loved one is injured in a maritime accident, you need the services of a skilled personal injury attorney in Alabama. Call our law firm today at 205-383-1809. We will review your case and let you know your options going forward.