For many people, the highlight of taking a cruise is not spending time aboard the boat but exploring the world around them. Cruise ship companies offer a range of excursions to make these adventures happen. Excursions can involve watersports, scuba diving, or exploring seaside towns on nearby islands.
While these excursions are fun for most people, it is important to understand that accidents can happen anywhere. If you were hurt on a cruise ship excursion, you might be able to sue for your injuries. A personal injury lawyer from Chalik & Chalik could help you seek justice for an injury on a cruise excursion.
Is a Cruise Excursion Waiver if Liability Valid?
Anyone that goes on a cruise excursion is likely to be required to sign a waiver before they can participate. The purpose of these waivers is generally to protect the cruise ship company and its agents from any liability when an injury happens.
The terms of these waivers can vary. In some cases, they are extremely broad and attempt to protect the company from liability under any circumstances. Other waivers might be narrower and more tailored to the law of a specific jurisdiction. For example, some waivers might specifically limit a cruise company’s liability for anything other than gross negligence.
What if You Signed a Waiver?
Depending on the wording of these agreements, you could be entitled to financial compensation even if you signed a waiver. At Chalik & Chalik, our attorneys are ready to review the language of the waiver you signed to determine if it is enforceable in a court of law. Often, courts will find that waivers are drafted in a way that goes against public policy. When this happens, these documents can be thrown out entirely.
Never assume signing a waiver means you have no case for compensation. It is not uncommon for courts to limit the effectiveness of a waiver or determine they are not enforceable at all. Your first step should be discussing your options with an attorney.
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Who Is Liable for Your Injuries?
If your injuries occurred on a cruise excursion, there could be different parties that are liable. This is true whether or not you signed a waiver. In fact, if a waiver is in place, there is a good chance it purportedly covers all of the potentially liable parties. That does not mean your case for compensation is hopeless, however.
You could have a viable case for compensation against the cruise company. Sometimes, these companies operate excursions themselves, with employees of the company acting as guides. In these cases, the cruise company could be liable for any injuries that result from negligence.
Other cruise ships contract with third parties to run excursions. This is especially common for excursions that occur in a port of call. When the negligence of a third party is to blame for an injury on an excursion, that third party could be liable.
Third-Parties May Also Bear Liability
It is worth noting there are times when the cruise ship company might also be to blame, even when the negligent party was not a direct employee. If the third party company was an agent acting on behalf of the cruise company, it might be possible to file legal action against both parties.
Can Waivers Determine Where I File a Lawsuit?
One of the circumstances that can complicate filing a lawsuit after an injury on an excursion is the fact that the waiver you signed or the ticket you purchased could determine where you have to file your lawsuit. Typically, cruise ships will include language that determines the legal venue of any personal injury lawsuits. This is true even when the injury occurred on an off-ship excursion.
The good news is that there is still an opportunity to file a lawsuit in the U.S., even in cases where the excursion occurred in another country or in international waters. However, you may have to file your lawsuit in the state named on the ticket. This is typically the state where the cruise line is headquartered.
What’s more, it could be possible for the waiver or other agreements you signed to limit any lawsuits to federal court. Many cruise companies prefer defending legal action in federal court, and the terms of these agreements will determine where you should file.
What About Jurisdiction Agreements?
It is also worth noting that—like with waivers—these jurisdiction agreements are not always valid. The attorneys of Chalik & Chalik could review your case to determine if you are actually limited to filing your lawsuit in a certain court or jurisdiction.
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Types of Excursion Accidents That Could Lead to Compensation
There are countless types of excursions that could take place on a cruise. It should come as no surprise to them that there are also endless ways a passenger could get injured on these outings. Some common examples include the following:
Many excursions occur on the water. These include swimming, motorsports, scuba diving, and snorkeling. When accidents happen on the water, the risk of drowning is always present.
Slips, trips, and falls make up a large number of accidental injuries on cruise ship excursions. These falls could occur onboard while leaving the ship or at the site of the excursion. When negligence plays a part in these falls, financial compensation could be available.
Injuries can occur on the way to excursions via ground transportation. Other excursions, like driving tours, might involve the use of motor vehicles. When these vehicles are involved in an accident, the injuries can be severe.
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Call an Attorney About Your Cruise Ship Injury Case
If you were hurt while on a cruise ship excursion, the fact that you signed a waiver and release of liability might not impact your ability to seek compensation. While the cruise company might pressure you not to consider your legal options, an attorney from Chalik & Chalik could advise you of your rights.
Do not take any risks when it comes to financial compensation for your injury. Following your injury on a cruise excursion, reach out to the team at Chalik & Chalik today for your free consultation.
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