Statutes of limitations are pertinent to any personal injury lawsuit filed. Although these limits vary from state-to-state, the purpose is to avoid giving those injured an unlimited window in which to file a claim. In Florida, F.S. 95.11 allows for up to four years to file an injury lawsuit based on negligence (though only two years if it’s medical negligence). There are of course some caveats and exceptions, but usually, you’re not going to be able to successfully file anything beyond that four-year cutoff.
Cruise ship injuries are different. Although these cruise ships are docked at Florida ports and that’s where most paying customers board, most of these companies are actually headquartered in other countries (usually the Bahamas). The applicable law that governs the statute of limitations would be Maritime Law, which usually gives injured persons three years to file a lawsuit. However, courts have said it’s perfectly legal for cruise ship companies to prohibit injury lawsuits against their companies after one year from the date of the incident. That is just one year for adults who are injured on cruise ships. Children may have up to three years, though if the child turns 18, he or she has to file the case within one year of turning 18.
The recent case of Chang v. Carnival Corp., recently before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, dealt with the issue of cruise ship injury and this statute of limitations, as well as the issue of the proper forum in which to file these claims. Continue reading