If you suffer an illness or injury while on a Royal Caribbean cruise, it may be possible to file a claim against the company. This might be the case if your incident stemmed from negligence on the part of the cruise line or one of its employees. Here are three steps to take if you want to bring a claim against Royal Caribbean:
Speak to a Personal Injury Lawyer
Going up against a cruise line by yourself may not end the way you want. All personal injury cases are complex, but those involving cruise lines and maritime laws can involve even more intricate laws and statutes. The best way to protect your rights is with help from an experienced law firm. An attorney can help you learn whether you have grounds for a claim, where to file, and how to negotiate a settlement with a cruise line or insurance company. Most firms offer free initial consultations, so you have nothing to lose by contacting a local firm in Texas regarding your potential case.
Understand the Elements of Your Case
With or without an attorney’s help, it is important to analyze the elements in your specific case to decide whether you have grounds for a personal injury claim. To receive a settlement after a personal injury on a cruise ship, the plaintiff (the individual filing the claim) must prove four main elements:
- The defendant (the cruise line) owed the plaintiff a duty of care. All common carriers, or companies that transport passengers, owe duties of care to their guests. These duties include providing a reasonably safe environment.
- The defendant breached its duty of care. The plaintiff must have proof of the cruise line’s negligence, such as serving food that had expired or failing to properly maintain the ship’s staircases. The court must rule that a reasonably prudent cruise line would have done something differently in a similar situation to avoid injury.
- The defendant’s breach caused the plaintiff’s injuries. Just because someone sustains an injury on a cruise ship does not make the cruise line automatically liable, even if the person has proof of negligence. The cruise line’s negligence must be the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries to have a case.
- The plaintiff suffered specific damages in the incident. Texas’ civil laws allow an injured party to pursue a claim with the goal of recovering for specific damages. These include personal injuries, property damages, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and lost quality of life.
If it appears that you have all four elements needed for a personal injury lawsuit, you may bring a claim against Royal Caribbean cruise lines for your injuries. If you aren’t sure about the elements of your case, speak to an attorney.
File Your Claim
Claims against cruise lines are unique in that injuries often occur while at sea – thus, maritime laws come into play. This means that to bring a claim against the cruise line, a party must file the claim in the county where the cruise line’s headquarters resides. For Royal Caribbean, this is Miami, Florida. No matter where a plaintiff lives, he or she must file a claim with the Miami-Dade County courthouse.
There is a strict statute of limitations (filing deadline) for bringing cruise line claims – typically no more than one year from the date of your injury. The cruise line will have its own rules regarding deadlines for filing. To make sure you fill out and file the proper documents to bring your claim, work with an attorney. These cases can easily spiral into complex lawsuits, and require professional legal assistance.