Nearly every major cruise line operating out of the United States requires passengers injured aboard their ships to bring a lawsuit within one year of the accident. This little known fact is found in the cruise boarding pass. For example, Carnival Cruise Lines’ boarding pass provides a, “suit to recover on any such claim shall not be maintainable unless filed within one year after the date of the injury, event, illness or death…” However, what happens when the injured passenger is a minor? Are minors held to the same standard as adult passengers? The answer is NO!
The Federal Limitation of Liability Statute which allows cruise lines to limit the time period for their passengers to bring a claim also tolls the one year suit time provision until such time when the minor’s legal representative is appointed provided the appointment is made within three years of the minor’s injury. This means the one year suit time starts only when a legal represenative is appointed for the minor. In a situation where the person was injured while a minor, but reached the age of majority (18), the one year begins on the injured person’s eighteenth birthday.