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What is Arbitration?

Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution that offers a way for parties to resolve disputes outside of the traditional court system. With arbitration, the dispute will be heard by one or more individuals (known as arbitrators) who are impartial adjudicators. At an arbitration both parties present their case before the arbitrator (instead of a judge or jury) who will render a decision on the case. Depending on the parties’ agreement which often may be included in a dispute resolution section of a written contract, the arbitrator’s decision may be non-binding (meaning not enforceable if a party does not want it to be), or legally binding and enforceable in court (which means the decision may be able to be converted to a judgment in court and damages may be collected upon). The rules of evidence that must be followed during an arbitration often differ from those that must be followed in a traditional court.  

How is Arbitration Used in the Cruise Ship Industry?

Many cruise liners include arbitration clauses in both their passenger ticket contracts as well as their cruise ship employment agreements. Arbitration clauses are often found in a dispute resolution section of a contract. If both parties agree in writing to the dispute resolution provision in advance of a dispute, often courts will hold the provision enforceable. 

Accordingly, if you are a cruise ship worker and you are injured aboard a vessel, you may be required to file your injury claim through the arbitration process (instead of with the court) if your employment agreement includes a mandatory and binding arbitration provision.

Where Will My Arbitration Take Place?

Often a crew member employment agreement will include a venue clause that is included with or near a dispute resolution provision. This provision often states where a dispute may take place and pursuant to what state’s law or set of rules. With arbitrations, many contracts will state that arbitrations will be held before the American Arbitration Association (AAA) and pursuant to the rules of the AAA (or other similar arbitration association). 

The AAA has several locations throughout the United States. Often the venue provision of the agreement may state the specific AAA location where the arbitration will take place, or it may say that disputes will be heard at the AAA location nearest to a specific city or county in a specific state as named in the contract. Depending on which cruise liner you use, some arbitration provisions could require parties to arbitrate in a foreign country which could create significant obstacles for a crew member injured while working aboard a vessel to pursue compensation for damages sustained while on the clock. 

Accordingly, if you are a crew member injured while on the job, you are encouraged to speak to an experienced crew member arbitration attorney. The experienced maritime and crew member arbitration lawyers at Brais Law Firm can assist you with your crew member injury case. 

Contact the Crew Member Arbitration Attorneys at Brais Law Firm

Contact the crew member arbitration attorneys at Brais Law Firm for assistance with your maritime injury claim. To reach our lawyers you may click email the firm, call 800-499-0551 from within the U.S., Skype BraisLaw worldwide or click contact us to select and complete a form for a free evaluation of your case.