What is a Forum Selection Clause on Your Cruise Ship Ticket?

We Accept Calls 24/7

(866) 386-1762
Table of Contents

    What is a Forum Selection Clause on Your Cruise Ship Ticket?

    The jurisdiction of a case can make life easier or harder for victims seeking compensation. When forum selection clauses are included on cruise ship tickets, the jurisdiction is set before the injury occurs.

    Forum selection clauses pre-determine the jurisdiction for certain matters. For example, cruise ships often include forum selection clauses on passenger tickets so that they can challenge lawsuits more easily. This can force victims to file lawsuits in other states and, in some cases, other countries. Because of this, forum selection clauses can pose serious challenges for victims hurt on cruise ships. In some cases, you might be able to contest a forum selection clause. However, these clauses rarely go unenforced, as cruise ship passengers agree to them before they embark on their vacations. Before you purchase a ticket for a cruise, carefully review all stipulations included on your ticket. That way, you can be prepared for what comes next in case you are injured at sea.

    Call our cruise ship injury lawyers at (305) 204-5369 to get a free evaluation of your case from Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. today.

    What is a Forum Selection Clause on a Cruise Ship Ticket?

    A forum selection clause hidden within a cruise ship ticket can greatly limit a victim’s ability to recover compensatory damages comfortably. So, what is a forum selection clause, and what might it mean for you?

    A forum selection clause essentially means that the location and jurisdiction of a possible case are set before the cause for action arises. So, suppose you were injured while on a cruise ship that was in the waters of a tropical island, but the forum selection clause on your ticket states that an injury case must be brought in Florida. In that case, you will have to file your injury lawsuit against a cruise ship company in Florida, even if you do not live there. In most cases, cruise lines will choose locations that make sense for their companies, such as where they are headquartered.

    This is common among cruise ships, as accidents might occur anywhere along a route. Before taking a cruise, carefully read your ticket and all other materials, like brochures, to see if there is a forum selection clause included for injured passengers who intend to file lawsuits for compensation. There is no guarantee that you will be able to contest a forum selection clause if you are injured on a cruise.

    Why Do Cruise Ships Include Forum Selection Clauses on Tickets?

    Forum selection clauses tend to benefit cruise ship companies more than they do injured passengers. This is the main reason why such clauses are often included on passenger tickets.

    A cruise ship will put a forum selection clause on a ticket so that it will be able to combat potential injury claims more easily. Because most cruise ships leave out of Florida, that is the location that cruise ship companies typically include as part of their forum selection clauses. Since the jurisdiction is always the same, cruise ship companies can turn to their existing counsel to handle cases. Cruise ship companies might also be more familiar with the laws and procedures of a certain jurisdiction than victims, further benefiting them.

    Furthermore, cruise ships tend to include forum selection clauses to make life harder for victims pursuing compensation. If a forum selection clause requires all injury cases against a cruise ship to be filed in a certain state, but you live across the country, bringing your claim might be much more challenging. Fortunately, our cruise ship injury lawyers often handle these types of cases, allowing you to seek compensation with the necessary support. So, even if the forum selection clause on your ticket is enforced, and you have to bring your case in the jurisdiction set by a cruise ship, you can still have a good chance of recovery.

    Can You Contest the Forum Selection Clause on Your Cruise Ship Ticket?

    Even if a forum selection clause is included on your ticket from a cruise ship, you might be able to contest it in certain situations. This can allow you to more easily file a claim for compensation following a cruise ship injury.

    The court might allow you to challenge a forum selection clause if the clause itself is unreasonable and unjust or in contrast to public policy. The clause might be deemed invalid because of fraud. Or, if the forum selection clause impedes a victim’s ability to have their day in court, it might be successfully challenged. Forum selection clauses might be challenged if the defendant has no ties to a specific location.

    That said, a 2021 decision from the United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, found that a passenger who claimed that they were exposed to a COVID-19 outbreak because of negligence while on a cruise had to file their claim in Italy because of the forum selection clause included on their ticket. So, despite being terribly inconvenient for the plaintiff, the forum selection clause was upheld and enforced.

    The issue of forum selection clauses written by cruise ships has been widely contested. That said, forum selection clauses are typically enforced as they are written into contracts, tickets, that are accepted by passengers. While you might be able to contest the enforcement of a forum selection clause successfully, it is important to carefully read the stipulations included on your ticket before heading off on a cruise.

    Do not anticipate that you will be able to contest a forum selection clause, as doing so could cause you to miss the statute of limitations for your case. If that occurs, you will be unable to file a lawsuit to recover compensatory damages of any kind.

    Call Our Attorneys to Discuss Your Cruise Ship Injury Case

    To have the boat accident injury lawyers of Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. assess your case for free, call us at (305) 204-5369.

    Related Articles

    (Click To Expand)

    Browse All News