How Does Jurisdiction Affect Cruise Ship Sexual Assault Cases?

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    How Does Jurisdiction Affect Cruise Ship Sexual Assault Cases?

    When a court has jurisdiction over a lawsuit, the case must be filed with that court. Because of this, learning the jurisdiction for your cruise ship sexual assault lawsuit will be crucial to your recovery.

    In general, federal courts have jurisdiction over most maritime injury claims, including cruise ship sexual assault lawsuits. However, there are some exceptions to this. For example, if you were assaulted while still docked at a port in Florida or within its territorial waters, Florida would have jurisdiction over your claim, meaning its statute of limitations for sexual assault lawsuits would apply. If you file your lawsuit in the wrong court, your case will be dismissed and you will have to start over. Such delays could cause you to miss the filing deadline and lose your opportunity for recovery. If the physical venue of your claim is inconvenient to you or other witnesses, you might be able to get a change of venue to make participating in your recovery easier.

    To get a free case assessment from our Miami cruise ship lawyers, call Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. at (305) 204-5369.

    Determining the Jurisdiction for Your Cruise Ship Sexual Assault Case

    Knowing the proper forum to file your cruise ship sexual assault claim is essential, lest you risk getting your lawsuit dismissed, leaving you without compensation for your various damages.

    Generally speaking, federal courts have jurisdiction over cruise ship sexual assault lawsuits and other claims related to accidents at sea. That said, jurisdiction can become a complicated matter when cruise ships include forum selection clauses within passenger tickets, identifying a specific court in which victims must bring sexual assault claims. Because many cruises leaving the United States depart from Florida, victims often have to file their lawsuits there. Furthermore, if you were assaulted on a cruise while it was within Florida’s territorial waters, Florida would have jurisdiction over your case.

    Our cruise ship sexual assault lawyers can, based on the exact location of the ship at the time of the assault and the fine print in your passenger ticket for the cruise, identify which court has jurisdiction over your case.

    Determining the right jurisdiction is important for several reasons, one being that knowing the jurisdiction will inform you of the filing deadline for your case. For example, if your claim is under maritime law, you will have three years to sue for negligence related to sexual assault on a cruise ship, according to 46 U.S.C. § 30106. That said if you were assaulted while still at a port or close to a port, the nearest state’s statute of limitations would apply.

    Filing a Cruise Ship Sexual Assault Claim in the Wrong Jurisdiction

    Jurisdiction is the power a court has over a claim. You can’t just file your lawsuit in any court; it needs to be one that has the authority to hear and decide your case. Otherwise, your sexual assault claim will be dismissed.

    Because recovery in sexual assault claims is so important for victims, filing a case in the wrong jurisdiction could be a serious issue that unfortunately prevents a victim’s recovery. That is because, when victims file in the wrong jurisdiction, their claims will be thrown out of court. Claims might be filed in the wrong jurisdiction for several reasons. For example, a victim might think that because the ship left from Florida, they can file their lawsuit in court there. But remember, that might not be the case, as federal courts have jurisdiction over most civil matters that happen at sea, including sexual assault lawsuits.

    Filing a lawsuit is no simple task. There is considerable preparation that goes into completing a complaint and gathering evidence capable of proving fault. If your claim is ultimately filed in the wrong court, you might have to start from the ground up, leaving you with little time to bring your case in the right jurisdiction. This could cause you to miss the statute of limitations that applies to your sexual assault claim.

    What if the Jurisdiction for Your Cruise Ship Sexual Assault Claim is Inconvenient?

    Often, the venues of civil cruise ship injury or sexual assault claims are inconvenient for victims and survivors. Our lawyers can help you navigate such difficulties to ensure they do not impact the success of your compensation claim.

    Venue changes are possible when civil claims are filed in federal court. According to 28 U.S.C. § 1404, venue changes are permitted when they are in the interest of justice and for the convenience of involved parties and witnesses. Depending on your case, we might be able to change the venue for your convenience and ease.

    If the judge denies a motion to change the venue of your civil claim, we can help you proceed with your case, even if you live far away. We can prepare the necessary information for your lawsuit, such as evidence showing how the cruise ship company acted negligently, leading to your onboard sexual assault. For example, according to the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act, cruise ships are mandated to have surveillance systems onboard to deter crime and violence. Our lawyers can obtain footage from the location of your onboard sexual assault, speak to witnesses, review your medical records, and collect additional evidence of negligence. This might cause the cruise ship company to want to settle the case out of court at a substantial amount, which could allow you to resolve your claim relatively quickly without being too inconvenienced by its jurisdiction and venue.

    Call Our Lawyers About Your Cruise Ship Sexual Assault Claim

    You can call Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. today at (305) 204-5369 to get a free case review from our cruise ship sexual assault lawyers.

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