The Sunshine State is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world, and a major port for cruise ships unloading passengers.
Recent news reportage on personal injury cases resulting from cruise vacations gone awry, reminds us that both crime and tortious negligence contribute to harm of passengers each year.
Accidents leading to injury are not uncommon in the cruise industry. Travel insurance coverage may offset some medical costs, but cruise passengers injured by crime or circumstances of gross negligence often have a difficult time recuperating from trauma-related expenses post-vacation.
If an injury is sustained off the coast of Florida during a cruise, the jurisdiction where the ship was located at the time of injury will be the determinant.
According to international maritime law or admiralty law, the official territorial waterways of any sovereign territory extends 12 nautical miles or 22.2 km, 13.8 miles from the baseline (low water mark) of a coastal state.
The sovereign territory of the state, Florida’s coastal waterways are considered part of federal jurisdiction. Cruise ships are civilian vessels allowed “innocent passage” in the region.
Cruise ship litigation cases in the U.S. are generally assigned to Florida state courts in Miami.
In cases in which the accident leading to injury occurred while on a ship traveling international waters or nearby ports o’ call in the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, or other parts of the Caribbean, the claim will most likely be denied by a Florida court.
Plaintiffs who have sustained an injury as result of an accident while on vacation in Florida meet eligibility criteria for claim consideration in a state court.
The Florida Statute of Limitations restricts claims filed on nature of complaint and jurisdiction where the incident occurred.
Florida law provides personal injury plaintiffs four years to file a claim.
Wrongful death claims filed on behalf of deceased family members are subject to a two-year filing limitation dating to the accident causing mortal injury.
The federal statute of limitations for cruise ship complaints does not follow international maritime law and allows plaintiffs only one year from the date of the incident to file a claim.
Have you sustained a personal injury from an accident or criminal wrongdoing while on a cruise vacation in a Florida port o’ call? A licensed attorney at law can assist you in recovery of compensation for pain, suffering, medical bills, and lost time off from work.
FL Legal Group is a licensed attorney practice in Florida, specializing in personal injury law.
Click Here ir call (813) 221-9500 to Contact FL Legal Group for consultation about a vacation-related personal injury matter.
Cruise Ship Law, Justia (last visited May 4, 2018), https://www.justia.com/admiralty/cruise-ships/
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Organization (NOAA), U.S. Maritime Limits & Boundaries, Office of Coast Survey (last visited May 4, 2018), https://www.gc.noaa.gov/gcil_maritime.html