You are a crew member who has just been injured while working aboard. What do you do? Our law firm specializes in cases involving people being injured on a cruise ship and know specifically which steps should be taken next. You will need to contact one of our talented personal injury attorneys to discuss your case. Now, what happens if the cases cannot be settled and it is taken to court? Major cruise lines have been working on implementing arbitration terms that have been placed in the employee’s agreements once he or she starts working as an alternative way to going to trial.
What is Arbitration?
Arbitration is the practice of using an ‘arbitrator’ or a group of ‘arbitrators’ to decide and resolve the conflicts between the two parties in question (Plaintiff v. Defendant). If you agreed into signing an Arbitration Agreement, just be aware that you give up your rights to having a jury trial. Having a jury trial is a main quality in the Jones Act that protects crew members that were injured while working on the vessel.
Cruise line companies including arbitration in their agreements, tickets, and contracts, comes as no surprise. Some terms are binding, while others can be non-binding, but 95% of the time, arbitration is enforced. As an injured crew member, you give up many rights once you agree to arbitration. Most big cruise line companies like Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Disney cruise lines, and others, limit your legal rights to be able to file a civil claim to the courts, and have your case heard by a jury.
Difference Between Arbitration and Trial
Arbitration and going to trial have the same goal: to dispute a difference between the plaintiff and defendant, but in this case, the injured crew member and the cruise line company. Although, their ending result is the same, the process of handling the case have many disparities between the two. Here are some differences:
- A single person(arbitrator) could be the deciding person of the case, while in a trial, it is a panel of jury members and a judge.
- Arbitration cases are less expensive, but usually most attorneys work on contingency-fees.
- Hearing of an arbitration are sometimes done in a foreign soil.
- Trail dates are provided faster in arbitration cases because not so many people are involved.
- Disputes are resolved quicker through arbitration.
- Trials are of public matter, while arbitration is performed privately. If you want the public to know about your case, they will not through an arbitration. All information is kept private.
- Appeals cannot be made after a decision is determined in an arbitration case. This is due to most terms within an arbitration agreement that become binding. So, if you are not satisfied with the results after an arbitration hearing, you are not able to appeal the decision. In a trial, you are allowed to appeal a decision that you were not happy with.
Where are Arbitration Hearings Held?
These hearings take place before the American Arbitration Association(AAA). The location as to where it will be heard usually depends on the conditions that the crew member agreed to when signing their contract. The majority of the hearings are performed away from home. Different rules are applied in arbitration hearings because the crew member is not protected by the United States civil justice system. These are tactics of the cruise line companies in order to discourage injured crew members in filing a claim.
Do not give up! We can assist you in an arbitration hearing. You are not required to go through this alone. You need someone who will be with you along every step of the way.
Typical Accidents in an Arbitration Hearing
The most recurrent accidents by crew members that end with arbitration include:
- One of the most common: slip, trip, and fall accidents
- Other crew members performing a criminal act that ends in another crew member being hurt
- Lack of quality maintenance in the ship
- Malfunctioning equipment
- Chemical exposures
- Pulling, pushing, or carrying of heavy objects
This is just a short list of all the accidents that can happen to a crew member while on board. Cruise line companies need to ensure all safety guidelines have been met. This not only protects their workers, but also the visitors on the cruise ship.
A Case Study involving the use of Arbitration
A gravely injured crew member filed a suit against Carnival cruise line. The cruise line refused him a dolly; the sufficient equipment for the crew member when lifting heaving objects in excess of 100 pounds that he performed as part of his job. This led him in having a herniated disc. The injured crew member had a discectomy performed on him, which permanently damaged his nerves that went through his leg. This made him permanently disabled. This carnival crew-member ended up receiving $800,000 through arbitration after being injured.
We Know How Arbitration Works
If you have signed an agreement in having your case heard through arbitration, get in touch with us. We have had substantial cases involving cruise members being injured and having to be heard by an arbitrator. Although, these hearings are different than going to trial, we want the same results for you. We want you to be awarded the maximum amount for the harms you have endured and help you through this emotional/draining process.
These hearings may confuse most people because it does not proceed like a trial case, but we are here to get you out of the confusion. Our especially qualified team of legal practitioners work in a determined manner; gathering all information required to win your case. Please, feel free to consult with one of our personal injury attorneys at (305)529-0001, or you can come visit us in person on 2655 Le Jeune Road #504.
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