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How does admiralty law govern cruise ship injury?

Most Louisiana residents who board a cruise ship are looking for a fun vacation and a time to relax. People boarding cruise ships rarely think about what kind of danger they could be in or what kind of accidents could happen while on a cruise. Unfortunately, accidents on cruise ships happen often. It is good to know what admiralty law is and how it affects cruise ship passengers from Louisiana.

Admiralty law, also known as maritime law, is the law governing ships and passengers on the ocean or a large body of water. It is a combination of international and U.S. law and covers torts and injuries that occur on the water. Federal district courts hear the majority of all maritime law cases. Admiralty law also covers the obligation of ship captain to passengers, which is relevant for passengers of a cruise ship.

Under admiralty law, a cruise ship operator must exercise reasonable care for the safety of his passengers. A cruise ship operator will be held liable for any negligent actions resulting in accidents to his ship passengers. When filing a claim with a cruise ship for negligence, you must file in the state written on the back of the ticket. This is fairly iron-clad, and an injured person cannot file in any other state or jurisdiction.

It is important to know that the law that governs the land does not necessarily govern what happens on the water. Cruise ships are scenes of accidents resulting in injuries on-board and due to conditions of the sea or other ships. A cruise ship operator can be held liable for any injuries incurred due to negligence. Before boarding your next cruise, flip over the ticket to get an idea of what state you may have to file a claim in, in case of injury.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Cruise Ship Accidents and Liability," accessed on Sept. 8, 2014

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