Why You Want a Maritime Lawyer, Especially From South Florida
Not all personal injury lawyers are the same. Just as you wouldn’t hire a tax attorney to handle your divorce, why would you hire a personal injury attorney that doesn’t specialize in maritime personal injury claims to handle your boating/cruise accident?
LaBovick, LaBovick & Diaz has a team specifically dedicated to handling maritime personal injury cases. These cases range from Federal cruise line cases to Jones Act claims. There are a lot of personal injury attorneys here in Florida. However, there are very few that have tailored their practice towards maritime personal injury claims. The law on the water is different than that on land. I oftentimes get calls from other personal injury attorneys who have taken on a maritime case only to realize they are in over their head. There are significant differences in both case and statutory law in regards to land v. water claims. For example, for boating accidents in Florida State Court, the statute of limitations is three years as opposed to four for land accidents. There also exists a causation flipping rule in maritime cases that may be applicable to your case if you hire the right attorney. Jones Act (injured seamen) litigation is likewise a very niche area that only a few maritime personal injury attorneys have knowledge. Having an attorney that knows these rules is important to get the most out of your maritime injury case.
Having a maritime lawyer in South Florida is especially important if you have been injured on a cruise. All lawsuits against Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian (as well as all their subsidiary companies) must be filed in Federal Court in Miami. This is due to the contract of passage you agreed to when you bought your cruise ticket. It does not matter where your cruise left from, where the incident occurred or where you live, you must bring your claim in South Florida. Another VERY important fact to remember is that the statute of limitations is only one year from the incident in your cruise case. This is extremely short. Most jurisdictions across the US have a statute of limitations of at least two years. This shortened statute is also included in your contract of passage. Oftentimes, there is also a provision that the cruise line be put on notice within six months of your incident in order to proceed with your claim. Once you actually file a lawsuit against the cruise line, you will be required to travel to Miami to attend a compulsory medical exam, deposition and mediation. In battling with the cruise industry, I have been very successful in getting them to agree to set up all of this over the course of a week in order to not inconvenience my clients more than they already are. Over the years, I have represented clients from all around the US regarding their cruise cases. While coordinating and communicating with clients across the country has its difficulties, our firm has set up a system that promises to make it as painless as possible for the client.
Hiring the right attorney for your case is an important decision. Properly vetting and making sure your attorney knows the area of the law they practice in will get you the best results possible. If you have a maritime personal injury case, don’t just hire any personal injury lawyer. Hire a team that has focused their practice to maritime injury claims. Call today for a free consultation.