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Recently, a 21 year old Virginia Tech student fell overboard while on a spring break Caribbean cruise.  The young student, a senior majoring in engineering, went missing off the Carnival Glory ship on Sunday, March 8, just a day after the ship set sail.  The student and several of his friends departed on the seven day cruise out of Miami during their university’s spring break.

Ship surveillance videos depict the victim falling off the ship while it was cruising near the Bahamas.  He accidently fell overboard during the night and the search began on Sunday.  For three days, the Coast Guard combed the ocean in hopes of finding the young student.  Another Carnival ship, Ecstasy, diverted its course to assist in the search.  After the extensive search did not turn up any signs of the victim, search efforts ceased.  Friends and family members of this well known and loved Virginia Tech student are left mourning his loss.

In the past decade, our Miami cruise ship injury lawyers found that about 250 people have fallen overboard off cruise ships.  Twenty two of these incidents occurred last year.  While uncommon, when these incidents do occur, the results are catastrophic.  Few people survive the plunge from the massive cruise ship deck, and those that do will face an immense challenge of surviving in often cold waters until help arrives—if it arrives in time.  Given these odds, not many people survive overboard accidents.

Falling overboard is not easy to do and will not usually happen purely by accident.  Often, alcohol is a factor when it comes to overboard accidents.  A few overboard instances each year are suspected to be suicide, and the remaining are classified as mysteries.  Foul play is suspected in a limited number of overboard instances each year, but determining the true cause of these falls is not always easy, especially when surveillance cameras are not present in the area of the fall.

In an effort to prevent overboard accidents, the Coast Guard developed the Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act, which regulates railing heights and requires certain training of all crew members to respond to overboard accidents.  Every ship will have a response plan in action so that emergency crews are departed as quickly as possible following notification of a person overboard.

However, technologies do exist that many feel would greatly prevent overboard deaths.  Motion sensors and thermal detection systems would set off alarms in the event that someone falls overboard.  The accuracy of these systems has greatly improved and several cruise lines now implement them.  The Coast Guard is considering requiring all cruise ships to install systems to detect passengers that fall off ships in an effort to prevent the tragic death of overboard passengers..

Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A.:  Seeking Justice for the Family Members of Deceased Cruise Ship Passengers   

Losing your loved one due to an overboard accident is one of the most tragic events possible.  If you have lost a relative on a cruise ship, the Miami Cruise Ship Accident attorneys at the law firm of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A are here to help.  Our lawyers have over 130 years combined experience and will zealously fight for your full recovery in a wrongful death action following an overboard accident.  Our unmatched professional excellence has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and acknowledgement as one of South Florida’s top-rated firms by the Miami Herald.  Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule an appointment so that we can begin fighting for your recovery.

 

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Recently, several high profile cruise ship disasters have cast a negative light on the industry.  The grounded Costa Concordia and the onboard fires on two Carnival lines, Triumph and Splendor, prompted the cruise ship industry to respond with the passage of a Passenger Bill of Rights.  Unfortunately, our Miami cruise ship accident lawyers find that the rights set out in this document mostly either already existed or were subject to numerous qualifications.

The Bill of Rights was an attempt by the cruise ship industry to turn passenger’s attention away from the actual problems faced by those injured on cruise lines—the fine print.  All cruise ship tickets contain fine print provisions that are designed to protect the cruise line in the event of an accident, even when the cruise ship itself acts in a negligent manner to cause the accident.  They apply when a passenger is either injured or killed on a cruise ship.

For instance, on many international cruises, the cruise line will insert a provision in the ticket that limits damages in the event of any injury or death to around $70,000.  When a passenger experiences a catastrophic injury or someone dies as a result of the cruise line’s negligence, this figure does not even come close to covering the actual damages.

The fine print will also contain a forum selection clause, requiring passengers file suit in only a particular court.  For instance, all lawsuits against Carnival and Celebrity must be filed in a federal court in Miami, regardless of where the victim lives, where the ticket was purchased, or whether the accident occurred.  The fine print thus deprives Florida residents of their right to a jury trial.

After the Costa Concordia disaster, injured passengers were shocked to learn that their claims had to be litigated in Italy.  This clause, found within the cruise line ticket, was upheld despite the fact that many tickets were purchased in the U.S. by American citizens.

Port excursions are an essential part to any cruise trip.  The cruise lines actively promote and advertise such excursions.  They sell the excursion tickets and make considerable money off doing so.  Yet cruise line tickets state that the cruise line is not legally responsible for any accidents occurring during excursions.  In the event a passenger is injured during an excursion, a suit will have to be brought against the local company in their foreign territory.  All of this exists without the cruise ship passenger’s knowledge before embarking on the excursion.

Even once the cruise ship passenger overcomes significant hurdles to get their case into court, they will face ongoing obstacles due to the fine print that often limits the admissibility of certain evidence.  Passengers are often prohibited from using pictures or video they took in court.

Due to the many procedural and evidentiary issues faced by injured cruise ship passengers, it is vital that these passengers retain the assistance of an experienced cruise ship attorney who will protect their legal rights.

Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A.:  Assisting with All Cruise Ship Injuries  

Most cruise ship passengers will purchase their ticket without giving much consideration to the fine print.  When disaster strikes, the cruise line will attempt to hide behind the fine print in the contract.  The Miami Cruise Ship Accident attorneys at the law firm of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A have assisted in a number of major cruise ship accident cases.  Our lawyers have over 130 years combined experience and will zealously fight for your full recovery following a cruise related accident.  Our unmatched professional excellence has earned us an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell and acknowledgement as one of South Florida’s top-rated firms by the Miami Herald.  Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule an appointment so that we can begin fighting for your recovery.

 

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Recently, one crew member died and another had to be hospitalized after a lifeboat accident occurred on a Princess Cruises cruise ship.  The accident occurred while the ship Coral Princess, was in Colon, Panama.  Two crew members were lowering the lifeboat to perform maintenance work on the ship’s hull.  As the lifeboat was in the process of being raised back into position on the ship, a cable snapped and the boat plunged into the sea with the two crew members still aboard.

A rescue effort immediately began and the two ship members were fished out of the water.  Both crew were transferred to a hospital on the shore for emergency treatment.  Sadly, one crew member died later on from his injuries.  The Princess Cruises line released a statement expressing its condolences to the family.

This is not the first accident to occur on a cruise line involving lifeboats.  In February of 2013, our Miami cruise ship accident lawyers learned that five crew members were killed and another three injured in the Thompson Majesty when one of the ship’s lifeboats pummeled into the sea in the Canary Islands during a training drill intended to assist in the event of an emergency.

When crew members are injured at sea, complex legal issues arise.  Whereas most shore side employees are barred from suing their employers due to the immunity provided under the Worker’s Compensation Act, crew members are generally able to qualify as seamen under admiralty law.  These crew members are thus afforded special rights and remedies not available to other workers.

Crew members who are injured at sea may commonly sue their employer or the ship owner under theories of:

  • Jones Act negligence
  • Breach of contract
  • Seaworthiness
  • Earned wages
  • Unearned or sick wages
  • Maintenance and cure
  • Wrongful discharge from employment

Each of these claims are complex and will require several elements be proven to a judge or jury.  It is imperative that injured crew members as well as the family members of deceased crew members contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss their potential case.  You will need to find an attorney well-versed in the unique area of cruise ship accident law, which involves novel laws, theories of liability, and steps for recovery.

Injured crew members may be able to obtain compensation for the medical expenses they incur as a result of the injury, wages for the time they will lose from work due to the accident, pain and suffering, and rehabilitation costs.  Those unable to return to work due to the injuries sustained may be eligible for additional compensation intended to provide for the long term nature of the injuries.

Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A.:  Assisting Passengers and Crew members Injured Aboard Cruise Ships

Working on a cruise line should be the dream job, with beautiful sights, the opportunity to travel, and often great benefits.  Despite these clear perks of the job, cruises can also pose serious dangers to crew members as well as passengers.  The Miami Cruise Ship Accident Attorneys at the law firm of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A have assisted many crew members and passengers injured aboard cruise ships.  We have also represented the family members of deceased crew members and passengers alike.  Our attorneys have over 130 years combined experience and will aggressively fight for your full recovery following a cruise related incident.  Our unmatched professional excellence has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and acknowledgement as one of South Florida’s preeminent firms by the Miami Herald.  Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule an appointment so that we can begin fighting for your recovery.

 

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Recently, a passenger aboard a Disney cruise apparently drowned while swimming at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island.  According to news reports, the 38-year old man from New York was a passenger aboard the Disney Wonder.  The ship was moored at Castaway Cay as part of the five night cruise to the Bahamas that departed from Miami.  Disney’s private island is located in the northern Bahamas.  Thus far, the details of the drowning have not been released.  An autopsy is being performed on the victim to confirm the suspected manner of death.

Disney recently paid a multi-million dollar settlement to the family of a young child who nearly drowned while aboard the Disney Fantasy, which did not have lifeguards.  In response to the case, Disney now trains over 1,200 lifeguards a year to protect children and other individuals in pools and at the private islands.  Disney requires its lifeguards complete a 24-hour basic training and water skills test, including learning CPR.  After completing training, lifeguards must perform four hours of in service training each month and eight hours of recertification each year.  Disney does have lifeguards in place at its private island, at least in areas where children swim.  It is unclear where the victim was swimming at the time of his death or whether lifeguards were present.

Tragically, just days after the death of the 38-year old New Yorker, a second passenger died while vacationing on a Disney cruise to the Bahamas.  A 56-year old American was discovered unresponsive at the Castaway Cay beach.  The victim was wearing snorkeling gear and a vest.  A lifeguard found the individual and brought him ashore.  They provided lifesaving measures and the victim was transported to a hospital in Miami.

Just two months before these terrible adult drownings at sea, a four year old boy nearly drowned on a Royal Caribbean ship, the Oasis of the Seas.  The child’s mother frantically alerted the ship’s authorities as to her son’s disappearance.  A guest spotted the child underwater in a wave pool, where it is estimated he remained in the water for at least six minutes.  The child was plucked from the pool and resuscitated by bystanders until the medical staff arrived and rook over CPR.

Royal Caribbean, unlike Disney, does not have lifeguards stationed at their pools and accidents like this one cause many to question the safety of this practice with so many children aboard.

These three recent drowning incidences highlight the potential dangers that cruise ship passengers face.  Anyone who has been injured or lost a loved one due to a cruise ship accident should contact an attorney as soon as possible to protect their legal rights.

Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A.:  Tackling Complex Cruise Ship Injury and Wrongful Death Cases

Cruises are supposed to be a time of fun and relaxation.  When a cruise goes terribly wrong and you are injured, you need the assistance of an experienced cruise ship accident attorney.  The Miami Cruise Ship Accident attorneys at the law firm of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A have assisted in a number of high profile cruise ship accident cases.  Our attorneys have over 130 years of collective experience and will zealously fight for your full recovery following a cruise related incident.  Our unmatched professional excellence has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and acknowledgement as one of South Florida’s top-rated firms by the Miami Herald.  Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule an appointment so that we can begin fighting for your recovery.

 

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It is common for many people to laugh-off the use of “legalese” and the implications that it has for their rights and interests, but forum selection clauses are one thing that people should consider carefully. Many of these provisions exist on the back of cruise ship passenger tickets or on associated documents. These clauses often get overlooked, but they can severely limit a person’s ability to bring a lawsuit against a cruise line after an injury.

Cruise accident victims may be surprised how difficult it is to get compensation for the harm that they suffered while on a cruise vacation. This complexity is part of the design of the cruise industry, which combine foreign registrations, maritime law restrictions, and draconian legalities to limit a person’s rights. The skilled Miami cruise injury attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. have more than 130 years of collective experience in breaking through the legal barriers in order to get our clients the compensation that they deserve.

Forum selection clauses limit the courthouses in which a legal claim may be brought. These binding legal terms are included as part of the cruise ship paperwork. Essentially, by going on the cruise, the passenger is agreeing to the terms presented as part of the ticket purchase. It usually is combined with a restrictive statute of limitations that mandates that any legal action must be brought within a short period of time, often one year. This applies regardless of what the law of the state in which the action is to be brought states.

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At the beginning of a cruise vacation, it is an exciting time where passengers are examining every aspect of the ship in anticipation of a fantastic vacation experience. However, one of the most important things to consider does not occur to most people and this is the flag that is flying at the top of the ship. While this ultimately will not be important for many cruise passengers, when someone is injured or is the victim of a serious crime on the ship, then this flag can play a critical role in the outcome for the victim.

There are many different complexities that can exist with getting justice for a cruise ship accident victim. This can be further complicated by the country in which the ship is registered. However, the accomplished Miami cruise injury attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. have more than 130 years of collective experience in overcoming the hurdles presented in this type of case.

The country in which the ship is registered can have a major impact on any legal action, starting at how the investigation into the event is handled. Many times a cruise line will choose to register a ship in a particular foreign country because it is an effective way to avoid the application of U.S. rules and regulations, as well as circumventing American tax codes. Although there still are regulations that do apply to these ships, based on the fact that these ships sail out of U.S. ports, they are able to avoid many restrictions.
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Although most cruise passengers experience a wonderful trip without any problems, there also are many people who unfortunately become sick or injured on a cruise ship. The problem with this is that there is no choice about the medical care that is available on the ship. For many years, a person who did not receive care that satisfied the standard of another doctor with the same training would not have any recourse against the cruise line. However, a recent court case has radically altered that reality for victims of cruise ship medical malpractice.

There are many different traumas that can impact a person who is taking a cruise vacation. When the medical standard of care fails, it is important to hold the doctors and other medical personnel liable for their wrongdoing. A recent change in the law may allow victims of medical malpractice to bring a legal action against the cruise line. The knowledgeable Miami cruise injury attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A are prepared to pursue justice on behalf of those who have been denied the opportunity to bring a legal action before now. Our dedicated attorneys have more than 130 years of collective experience in developing powerful cases on behalf of our clients.
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There are many wonderful experiences that a person can have while on a cruise vacation, but when there is negligence on the part of the cruise ship employees that leads to a serious injury, it is critical to take immediate action.

When a cruise ship passenger is hurt in a slip and fall accident on board the ship, it can lead to a long recovery period and significant pain and suffering. If you or a loved one has been harmed as the result of negligence of a cruise line, including its employees, the skilled Miami cruise ship accident lawyers at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. will work hard to get you the compensation that you need to recover from the harm that you suffered. Our skilled attorneys have more than 130 years of collective experience in getting the right outcome for our clients.

One of the biggest problems with slip and fall injuries on the high seas is that a patient may not receive the same level of medical care that he would if he were on land. Although many cruise ships do have advanced medical care facilities on board, they often are limited in the types of services that they can offer. This leads to an exacerbation of the harm that an injured person suffered during the fall.
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When people plan a vacation, they frequently take into consideration the crime statistics of their destination in order to make a choice that is comfortable for them. This often gets overlooked in booking a cruise vacation because of a perception that the cruise ship is inherently safer than other types of vacations. Due to the handling of crimes onboard a ship at sea, this often provides a false sense of safety that is not reflected in the actual crime statistics for cruise ships around the world.

Many cruise lines work hard to cover up the numerous crimes that take place onboard the ships. The knowledgeable and compassionate Miami cruise ship accident attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. have more than 130 years of collective experience in uncovering the negligence that often contributes to harm caused by criminal acts onboard these cruise ships.
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There are many different things that can go wrong on a cruise. One of the most headline-grabbing events is when a person goes overboard while on a cruise, whether a passenger or an employee. Although this often is treated as an uncommon incident, the fact is that nearly 250 people have fallen or jumped off cruise ships over the last 30 years. Many of these deadly falls could have been prevented if the cruise ship had taken some basic precautions.

Cruise lines fail to take many necessary actions, leading to dangerous conditions and serious injuries or fatalities on far too many cruises. The skilled and tenacious Miami cruise ship accident lawyers at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. have more than 130 years of collective experience in overcoming the many hurdles thrown up by the cruise industry in order to get compensation for our clients who were harmed while on a cruise.

Some of the overboard falls that happen on a cruise ship take place because the passenger was inebriated, intentionally went over the rail, or was the victim of a violent act. However, there are other times when passengers have gone overboard because they were allowed on deck during inclement weather, the rails were not sufficient to prevent the person from accidentally going overboard, or other defects posed a safety hazard. After an accident or intentional act, there often is insufficient evidence to determine what truly happened. If the cruise ship had adequate surveillance cameras or other security measures, there would not be so much ambiguity with many of the overboard cases.

In late November, 2014, a passenger fell overboard from the Sun Princess when the ship was returning to the port in Sydney, Australia after a 13-day cruise to New Zealand. The search for the elderly man’s body was called off and he was not found. In most cases, the individuals who fall from large cruise ships are killed. This may be from the impact forces of the fall or from exposure, drowning, or even marine life. The cruise ships often fail to respond quickly to the overboard event, even if the fall is detected right away through witnesses or the use of onboard radar equipment.
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