You may get hurt while exiting a cruise ship and walking in or outside a restricted area in a cruise ship terminal. If so, you may have a case.
Let’s look at a few cases where passengers were hurt while disembarking off a cruise ship.
Lady Hurt in Area Between Luggage Claim and Customs Must Sue in Miami Federal Court
Newell was a cruise ship passenger aboard the Carnival Imagination. After the cruise ended, the ship returned to the Port of Miami.
She exited the ship.
She fell over a metal stand
While walking in a restricted area in the cruise ship terminal, Newell claimed she was hurt when she fell over a metal stand located on a pathway between the luggage claim and the United States Customs station.
She claimed Carnival was careless
Newell sued Carnival in Florida state court, claiming that Carnival negligently maintained or created the walkway by its placement of the metal stands along the walkway.
Ticket contract required lawsuit in Miami federal court
The ticket contract between Newell and Carnival required that she sue in federal court in Miami.
State Court dismissed lawsuit
The state trial court dismissed the lawsuit because it said that claimed injury occurred while Newell was navigating through the disembarkation process. Since she was disembarking, the cruise ticket applies.
Carnival’s passenger ticket requires passengers to sue in Miami federal court.
She was hurt on her way to clear customs
She was hurt while walking along a pathway in the cruise ship terminal on her way to clear United State Customs. She claimed that her injuries were caused by Carnival’s failure to provide her with a safe walkway.
Contract Applies if Shipowner Commits Tort While Ship is Being Unloaded
The terms of the passenger contract apply if a shipowner commits a tort before or while the ship is being unloaded. The unloading of a ship’s passengers during the disembarkation process is a part of the unloading of that vessel.
Newell’s injuries occurred during the disembarking process
The appeals court said that Newell’s alleged injuries occurred during the disembarkation process.
Carnival’s employees assisted passengers during unloading process
Carnival’s employees participated and assisted the passengers during the unloading process that allegedly led to Newell’s injury.
When does the debarkation process start?
A Carnival supervisor said that debarkation starts as soon as:
- the ship docks and
- is cleared by Customs Borders and Protection and
- once they get clearance from Customs Boarders and Protection (CBP)
Guests come off the ship through the gangway and go down to the luggage hall. As soon as the guests are cleared by CBP, they exit the terminal. That is the basic debarkation process.
Carnival employees direct the passengers during debarkation
Once the debarkation process starts by Customs clearing the vessel, Carnival employees direct the passengers from the gangway into the luggage hall.
Once the passengers get their luggage through stanchions or ropes, Carnival employees direct the passengers from the luggage hall.
Once the Customs agent clears the passengers, Carnival employees direct the passengers from out of the terminal building.
Debarkation Process Ends When Guests Exit the Terminal
When guests exit the terminal (the luggage hall), the debarkation process ends. This happens after they clear Customs. Customs is a secured, protected and controlled area.
This case is Newell v. Lines, Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 3rd Dist. 2015. The appeal court’s ruling was made on November 18, 2015.
Fort Lauderdale lawyers represented the passenger. Miami lawyers represented Carnival Cruise Lines. This is not my case. However, I’ve settled many cases where a passenger was hurt while on a cruise ship.
Passenger Hurt on an Electric Walkway is ‘Disembarking’
Lipkin, a cruise passenger, was hurt on an electric walkway moving towards the luggage claim area within the cruise ship terminal.
The court ruled that the injuries occurred during the disembarkation process, that is, during the cruise ship’s “unloading” of passengers from the ship to a nearby point onshore.
Thus, Lipkin needed to sue Norwegian Cruise Line in accordance with its passenger contract. Norwegian’s guest ticket requires you to sue Miami federal court. Lipkin, 2015 WL 1380466.
Passenger Hurt While Being Pushed in Wheelchair to Parking Lot By Cruise Line Employee
A passenger claimed negligence against a cruise line. He was hurt after falling from a wheelchair while being pushed to a parking lot outside of the cruise ship terminal by the cruise line’s employee.
The court ruled that the passenger cruise contract applies when it is claimed that a shipowner’s employee commits a tort while the vessel is being unloaded.
Tip: Most cruise passenger contracts require that you sue in Florida. Most of the time you need to sue in Miami.
The court considered the cruise ship employee pushing the man in the wheelchair outside of the terminal to be unloading. Duck, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92974.
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