If you recently disembarked from a cruise ship with newly acquired injuries, you may wonder about your legal rights. Do you have the right to file a claim or lawsuit against the cruise line for your injuries?
Unfortunately, there is a strong chance that you waived your legal rights when you signed the cruise ticket, or the “cruise contract.” Cruise warns that by signing the ticket, you may have unwittingly waived three critical rights.
Your right to safety
Most cruise line contracts contain language that essentially states that, when you board a cruise ship, you willingly assume all risks associated with doing so. By agreeing to this, you agree that you cannot hold the cruise line legally accountable for any harms that befall you while aboard the vessel.
Your right to pursue legal action under your terms
Say you do sustain injuries while aboard a ship, and say you do decide to pursue legal action. In such an event, the cruise contract may be able to dictate how and when you must submit a claim or lawsuit. For instance, in Texas, you have two years from the date of the incident to file a claim. However, a cruise contract may shorten this to just a few months. The contract also dictates how legal proceedings must take place, with most cruise lines favoring binding arbitration over open negotiations and litigation.
Your right to claim ignorance
As with any legal contract, reading a cruise contract is your responsibility. You cannot claim, after the fact, that you did not understand what the contract said or that, by signing, you waived your rights. For this main reason, it may benefit you to retain the help of a knowledgeable professional before signing any legal documents.