Florida Cruise Ship Injury Statute of Limitations – How Long Do I have to File a Lawsuit for Cruise Ship Injuries and Cruise Ship Accidents on a Carnival, Royal Carribean, Princess or Norwegian Cruise Ship?

Florida cruise ship injury accident statute of limitations_fightsforyou.netEveryone loves to go on cruises as a relaxing vacation to all of the ports of call in the Eastern and Western Caribbean (Bahamas, Atlantis at Paradise Island, Turks and Caicos, Key West, Puerto Rico, St Thomas, St. Marten, St. Croix, Grand Cayman, St. Kitts, St. John, Bermuda, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cancun Mexico, Aruba, Curacao, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, etc.), enjoying all the food, alcohol, activities for the kids and children, the spa and gym, laying out in the breeze on the pool deck, cruise tour excursions and shore excursions, and the comedy and theater shows.  Unfortunately, because of all the children running around the pool soaking wet, waiters and staff serving drinks that spill over, the various cruise sanctioned shore activities and excursions, and all the ramps and raised door thresholds, cruise ship accidents are bound to happen no matter what cruise line you vacation on, whether it is Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Celebrity, Holland America, Disney, Oceania, Costa, Cunard, MSC Cruises or Regent.

Some of the most common causes of Florida cruise ship accidents and Florida cruise ship injuries include the following:

  • Slip and fall on wet floors, wet decks and wet stairs;
  • Trip and fall on stairs, doorway thresholds, uneven decks and uneven hallways;
  • Assaults or batteries by cruise security or other passengers (including intoxicated and drunk passengers and cruise staff);
  • Sexual assaults or crimes (such as rape) due to inadequate or negligent security;
  • Shore excursion injuries and tour excursion accidents;
  • Tender injuries or when boarding cruise ships or docks;
  • Passengers consuming contaminated food and contracting food poisoning;
  • Cruise ship fires;
  • Cruise ship sinking’s; and
  • Passengers falling overboard (and possibly dying or being killed) due to being served too much alcohol by cruise bar staff.


One of the most common questions asked of a Florida cruise accident lawyer or Miami cruise injury attorney is how long do I have to file a claim or lawsuit against a cruise line (ie, the cruise ship injury statute of limitations) for passenger injuries sustained on a cruise ship – I need to file a lawsuit and sue a cruise ship line. Of note, the passenger’s cruise ticket and cruise contract documentation will usually contain in its fine print and small lettering that claims and lawsuits for bodily injury are required to be brought within one year of the accident and in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, in Miami-Dade County, Florida.  In addition, the cruise ticket will also usually say that a passenger that suffers bodily injuries arising out of a cruise ship accident will have 180+ days (six months) to put the cruise line on notice of the accident.  Should these specific time frames not be complied with, a cruise line can move to dismiss a passenger’s lawsuit and they will usually prevail.

This is exactly what happened in the case of Racca v. Celebrity Cruises, Inc., 606 F.Supp.2d 1373 (S.D.Fla. 2009). In Racca, a passenger that was injured in a hallway sued Celebrity cruises, albeit almost two years after the accident occurred.  The cruise line moved for summary judgment claiming that the action should be dismissed because it was filed more than one year after the date of Plaintiff’s alleged injury which was in violation of the terms of Plaintiff’s ticket contract. The ticket contract at issue stated the following:

“No suit shall be maintainable … for any claim … of personal injury … unless written notice of the claim, with full particulars, shall be delivered … within six (6) months from the day the cause of action occurred, and in no event shall any such suit … be maintainable unless such suit shall be commenced (filed) within one (1) year from the day when the cause of action occurred….”

The Federal Court in Miami granted the summary judgment and dismissed the injured cruise passenger’s case, finding that the cruise accident lawsuit was filed in excess of the cruise ship statute of limitations period as reflected in the cruise ticket.

It should also be noted that Florida Court’s have held that even if you are a companion of the passenger that may have booked the cruise,  the travelling companion’s possession of the single cruise line ticket is sufficient to charge a passenger with notice of the ticket’s provisions notwithstanding  that a passenger fails to read the cruise ticket – the passenger who fails to read takes the risk of omission.

Moral of story: if you are an adult or minor child that is injured or killed (ie., wrongful death) on a cruise ship, whether you are sailing on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Norwegian, Holland America, Disney Cruise Lines or any other cruise ship, know that your cruise ticket likely requires that cruise ship injury accident lawsuit be brought within one year of the accident (ie., cruise ship statute of limitations or time to sue) and that you give notice of the incident within six months of the cruise ship injury, for which you may require a Florida cruise ship accident attorney or Miami cruise ship injury lawyer to assist you in bringing a claim or lawsuit against your cruise ship operator to recover monetary damages for your injuries, medical bills, pain and suffering, etc.

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