What Are Your Rights After a Tender Boat Accident on a Cruise from Miami?

Just imagine: you are on your first cruise out of Miami, and on your first trip to port; the tender boat you are in is involved in an accident. What do you do?

What is a tender boat?

A tender boat is typically defined as a small boat that is used to ferry passengers to and from a larger boat to and from a port or a dock. Tender boats are frequently used by cruise ships to take passengers back and forth from docks or ports that cannot be used by the cruise ship itself due to either size restrictions or navigation issues such as the water being too shallow to allow the larger ship to dock. Tender boats are sometimes owned and operated by the cruise line but often are operated by third party companies that are hired by the cruise line to operate specifically as their tender captains.

What happens in a typical tender boat accident?

Unfortunately, tender boat accidents happen all too frequently. They generally occur during the embarkation and disembarkation (loading and unloading of passengers) portions of the voyage. As passengers try to get in or out of the tender, they often slip or fall due to wave action and the rolling and pitching that it creates on a smaller sized boat like the typical tender. Tender accidents also occur while navigating through a busy harbor and usually involve running into another vessel or submerged obstacle or in instances where there is too much speed involved in the docking of the vessel. These accidents can also be caused by rough weather such as high winds or active seas.

What Are Your Rights After the Accident?

Most cruise lines do their best to operate safely. However, poor judgment, poorly skilled captains and otherwise negligent behavior still occur frequently. If you are injured by such behavior, you do have specific rights, although they are far different than if you were injured in, for example, a car accident while traveling to your local store.

Tender accidents can be very complex issues due to the possibility of multiple laws governing the case. For example, is the case governed by Florida law, international law, Bahamian law or a combination of all three? To further complicate matters, was the tender operated by the cruise line or a private company? What location do they operate out of? Then there is the matter of your cruise ticket. Your ticket, very often, is a contract used by cruise companies to limit their liability for personal injuries that happen on their watch by including waivers of liability and limitations on your time to sue if you are injured. All of these questions and more can substantially limit the time and ability you have to recover compensation from the cruise line and other responsible parties.

The first thing you need to do is contact a skilled and experienced maritime attorney. The laws that govern in these situations are very different than what your average personal injury attorney is experienced with. The circumstances surrounding tender boat accidents are also typically more complex than your average car wreck, as well.

Contact a Florida Accident Attorney

If you have been injured in a tender boat accident, please contact Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. We are a Miami law firm that has represented maritime clients for over 40 years in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. We have the experience to achieve the outcome you deserve. Give us a call toll free at (877) 475-2905 to set up your free consultation today.

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