Florida Cruise Ship Injury Attorneys Discuss Mediation

December 11, 2014

The majority of people who take a cruise enjoy a nice vacation that does not result in any long-lasting harm. However, for those who are injured as a result of the negligence of a cruise ship company or its employees, it can be a long process to get justice for the injuries that they experienced.

Cruise ship accidents lead to very serious injuries. The cruise ship industry often spends a lot of money to avoid paying a claim rather than compensating a victim for the harm that he or she suffered. The sophisticated and experienced South Florida cruise ship accident attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. know how the cruise ship industry works and will do everything possible to maximize the award that our clients receive. Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. have more than 120 years of collective experience developing the most effective strategies to get the results that our clients deserve.

Cruise ship industry cases are particularly difficult to pursue because of the international registration of cruise ships and the strong disclaimer language that cruise ships force passengers to accept. Although litigation is often successful in obtaining awards that compensate victims for harm suffered on board a cruise ship, an alternative exists in the form of mediation. This legal alternative has its benefits as well as its detriments. When cruise ship accident cases are litigated, there is a requirement to proceed to mediation prior to availing oneself of the judge and jury. This mediation can result in a fair monetary award, but much of the success of the mediation lies with the mediator who is assigned to the case.

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Florida Cruise Ship Injury Attorneys Discuss Cruise Ship Liability for the Spread of Disease

December 5, 2014

The spread of the deadly disease Ebola has been in the news on a daily basis for the past month or so. In fact, the danger that this disease brings was recently brought home to a group of passengers on a cruise ship recently. Specifically, a health care worker from Dallas, Texas who had contact with a patient who was infected with Ebola then went on a cruise aboard the Carnival Magic. The passenger voluntary quarantined herself in her cabin while aboard the cruise ship. After she disembarked the ship, it was determined that she was not infected with the Ebola virus. However, this situation raises the issue of what steps a cruise line must take in order to protect its passengers from the spread of illness.

There are many ways that a cruise ship passenger can experience harm while trying to enjoy a cruise vacation; however, the spread of dangerous diseases is one of the most pervasive causes. Unfortunately, the cruise ship industry has a long history of ignoring the problem. The skilled and compassionate South Florida cruise ship accident attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. understand how to uncover the evidence to demonstrate cruise line negligence. Our attorneys have more than 120 years of collective experience in getting our clients the results that they deserve.

Although illnesses such as Ebola have a very low risk of transmission under everyday conditions, the fact that many cruise ships fail to take the necessary measures to maintain a clean environment does result in many serious illnesses. These illnesses include:

• Norovirus;
• Bacteria that lead to serious food poisoning; and
• Legionnaire's disease.

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Wrecked Costa Concordia Reaches its Final Destination

November 17, 2014

The wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship was towed to its last port recently, two and a half years after it ran aground and sank, killing 32 people. It took four days to maneuver the 114,500 ton ship from the Tuscan island of Giglio where it ultimately sank. The long journey marks the end of one of the greatest cruise ship disasters of all time and the most complex maritime salvage ever attempted.

The Costa Concordia which now sits in a scrap warehouse was once a beauty of the seas. The first of the Concordia class cruise ships, Costa Concordia was one of the largest ships built in Italy. It offered 13 decks, approximately 1,500 cabins, 505 private balconies, and several spa staterooms. Guests could enjoy the fitness center, gym, thalassotherapy pool, sauna, Turkish bath, and solarium, along with four swimming pools, five Jacuzzis, five spas, two retractable roofs, and a poolside movie theater.

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Senate Hearing Focuses on Cruise Ship Safety

November 4, 2014

During a recent hearing before the Senate, Laurie Dishman recalled her horrifying experience of being choked and raped aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise by one of the cruise line's employees. Dishman shared her pain and humiliation during the 2006 attack, stating that cruise line staff were slow to act and discourteous in assisting her. Staff asked Dishman to collect her own evidence stemming from the attack and place it in trash bags. They did not transport her to the infirmary immediately, nor did they provide anti-retroviral medications. Our Miami cruise ship accident lawyers found that they did not even offer her another cabin in which to stay for the remainder of the cruise to Mexico. Dishman's attacker was never arrested or tried in the U.S., despite an FBI investigation that ensued once the ship landed in the U.S.

In response to Dishman's horror story and many others like it, Senator Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat from West Virginia, introduced a bill last year to improve the safety of passengers on cruise ships. Senator Rockefeller believes the reason behind such attacks and accidents stems from a lack of oversight and accountability for the safety of passengers in the cruise industry. Rockefeller says that in spite of clear evidence of problems, including mechanical failures, crimes, drowning, and mishandled medical emergencies, occurring with regularity, the cruise ship industry continues to deny it has a problem.

The hearing held on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 was the second thus far, called to raise awareness to the problems plaguing the cruise industry and how the bill could address them. While cruise line officials appeared at the first hearing, none were present for the second.

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Cruise Ship Rape and Sexual Abuse

October 29, 2014

On board any major cruise ship, fun for the whole family abounds. Pools galore, water slides, and parties every night. But behind all that fun lies a danger that most cruise passengers do not really think about--sexual assault. Rape and sexual assaults are the dominant threat to women and minors on the high seas, with the majority of such attacks occurring on cruise ships. Our Miami cruise ship accident lawyers find that sexual assault is the leading crime reported to and investigated by the FBI, and at least 150 sexual assaults have occurred in cruise ships in the past four years. Many suspect the actual figure is far larger, as the lack of reporting of crimes that occur at sea has been under much criticism as of late. Miami is cited as one of the ports to see the largest number of sexual assault cases due to its sheer volume of departing and arriving cruises.

One 28 year old woman was raped aboard a Carnival cruise last year. She stated that two Carnival crew members held her down in their cabin and raped her repeatedly. After she ran to inform security, their first act was to administer a Breathalyzer. The crew members claim the sex was consensual, and though the woman admits she had a few drinks, she vehemently told security she had been violently raped and thought she might be killed.

As a result of the ordeal, the woman filed suit against Carnival and the cruise line responded with what has become standard for the industry--they denied any wrongdoing and claimed they took all appropriate measures to handle the situation. Unfortunately, the woman has become one of many sexual assault victims terrorized aboard a cruise ship at the hands of crew staff, and then further mistreated by the cruise employees who seem to offer little medical, psychological, and investigative assistance following an attack.

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Coast Guard Investigating Casino Ship that Ran Aground

October 12, 2014

In a scene described as more Hollywood than reality, a casino ship filled with passengers ready for an evening of gambling turned into a nightmare when the ship ran aground. The Escapade, a ship owned by the Florida-based company Tradewinds Casino Cruise Firm, was making its maiden voyage off the state of Georgia with 96 passengers and 27 crew members aboard. The ship departed from the city of Savannah at about 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 15 and was set to return at 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday. A half hour from its expected arrival date, however, the ship ran aground.

Passengers aboard the stranded Escapade donned life jackets and were provided with food and water. The Coast Guard initially attempted to pull the Escapade free using tow lines and with the help of high tide at noon on Wednesday. These efforts failed when the tow lines broke. At that point, the decision was made to evacuate all passengers and crew members, who had been on the ship since 7 p.m. the night before.

Our Miami cruise ship accident lawyers found that although the accident had all the potential to lead to serious injuries, thankfully none have been reported thus far. Nonetheless, passengers undoubtedly had a frightening and frustrating experience being trapped on the stranded Escapade.

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Family Offers Reward in Case of Vanished Cruise Ship Honeymooner

September 2, 2014

On July 5, 2005, George Smith IV vanished from aboard his honeymoon cruise in the Aegean Sea. His body was never recovered. Despite what authorities have said, his mother, Maureen Smith, remains certain her son's death was not an accident. Maureen Smith recently appeared on CBS News' 48 Hours, stating to the public that there is no doubt in her mind that her son was murdered on the cruise ship. Now, in a renewed effort to solve the nine year old case, the family of George Smith IV is offering a $100,000 reward for any information leading directly to the arrest and conviction of the individual(s) responsible for their son's disappearance and presumed death.

George Smith IV boarded the Royal Caribbean ship "Brilliance of the Sea" with his new bride, Jennifer Smith, that fateful July. What should have been a memorable honeymoon traveling in the waters between Greece and Turkey turned to tragedy when George vanished. According to reports filed in 2005, our Miami cruise ship accident lawyers read that George had been drinking heavily and gambling in the ship's casino. A passenger reported hearing men arguing on Smith's balcony. Another passenger heard furniture being moved around. Jennifer Smith was later found passed out in the hallway. A blood stain was found the next morning on a lifeboat canopy beneath the Smiths' balcony.

As revealed by 48 Hours' investigation into the case, several troubling aspects point to the possible involvement of the men that last saw George alive. A videotape shot by three men who saw Smith that night shows them commenting about him in a callous manner. One man then flashes a gang symbol and makes a statement that appears to perhaps be bragging about doing something to George.

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The Parents of a Cruise Drowning Victim Call for More to be Done

July 31, 2014

In the fall of 2013, a family was enjoying its final day of a five-day cruise on the Carnival Victory when their six-year-old son, Qwentyn Hunter, drowned in a pool full of revelers. It was the DJ who spotted the little boy in the pool and called for him to be pulled out of the water. Attempts to revive him were unsuccessful. The parents now have discovered what many people familiar with the cruise ship industry have learned, which is that there are limited remedies for those who have suffered serious harm on board a cruise ship, especially when the victims are children.

The complex interplay of maritime law and international registries makes getting justice for harm done on a cruise ship very difficult. The experienced and dedicated Miami cruise ship accident attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. understand how to develop the most effective legal strategy to get recourse for our clients. With more than 120 years of collective experience, our attorneys are committed to getting justice for victims of cruise ship negligence.

The parents of drowning victim Gwentyn Hunter have now gone public with their tragedy in order to prevent it from happening to someone else. The have learned about the Death on the High Seas Act, which is the wrongful death provision of maritime law. What this does is limit the damages that a victim's family can receive to only economic losses. Therefore, one who loses a loved one may not be entitled for money for their loss, pain and suffering. Based on the way in which courts calculate the value of the death of a child in a cruise ship incident does not cost the cruise industry a lot of money because the child was not earning wages or a salary and therefore, the money paid to the grieving family is relatively low. This translates into little motivation to make cruise ships safer for children.

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Engine Problems Halt Cruise

July 14, 2014

A cruise vacation involves trips to beautiful ports of call and days spent enjoying activities while at sea. A recent cruise ended with the loss of an engine and an unscheduled stay in Naples, Italy before an early termination of the cruise. The ship, which formerly operated as the Sovereign of the Seas under the Royal Caribbean cruise line, now operates as the Sovereign under Pullmantur Cruises. When the engine problems were not able to be repaired, the remainder of the cruise was cancelled.

While the cancellation of a cruise may not seem like a serious event, the fact that old ships are still pressed into service leads to dangerous conditions on board the ship. If you have been injured on a cruise, it is possible that your injury was the result of negligence on the part of the cruise line. The skilled South Florida cruise ship accident attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. have more than 120 years of collective experience getting compensation for those people who have been injured while on a cruise.

In the case of the re-christened Sovereign, it originally went into operation in 1988. This makes it one of the older cruise ships that still is carrying passengers. The ship currently is undergoing repairs at a shipyard in Marseilles, France with a plan for it to return to full service by the end of May. Although this ship received a new paint job, much of the structure and equipment on the ship are original, leading to joints that could fail and defects that could lead to serious accidents. Some of the most common accidents on a cruise ship are:

• Slip and fall and trip and fall accidents - these accidents happen on stairs that are not maintained properly, with railings that are not secured, as the result of broken tiles or damaged carpet, and on dangerous walkways. As a ship ages, more and more problems will develop;

• Accidents in and around swimming pools and recreational equipment - these may involve dangerous diving boards and deteriorating gym apparatuses;

• Shore excursion mishaps - many dangerous events happen while enjoying activities with companies that do business with cruise lines;

• Food poisoning - there are many issues on cruise ships that involve food that has not been stored or prepared in a safe manner. If the kitchen equipment ages along with the ship, it may not be up to the task of preserving perishables;

• Accidents on escalators or elevators - there are many moving parts that go into a fully functional people-mover, so as the mechanics age, they begin to deteriorate, leading to dangerous situations;

• Injuries that occur when objects fall are not uncommon on cruise ships - when ships begin to age, it is more likely for parts of the ship to break off and impact passengers and crewmembers.

Although some of these accidents do not relate to the age of the ship, many others are linked directly to the deterioration of the ship from the process of age. When cruise lines decide to keep older ships in service, they are risking the safety and even the lives of the passengers who believe they are booking passage on a trip of a lifetime.

Cruise Ship Accident Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. Advocate for Victims

The cruise industry continues to be an extremely profitable business. One of the reasons that many of the cruise lines bring in exorbitant profits is that they do not spend more money than necessary to maintain the cruise ships. This may lead to a breakdown in the structure and fixtures of a cruise ship that contribute to dangerous accidents. The experienced Miami cruise ship accident attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. understand how to get compensation for victims under existing maritime laws. With more than 30 years representing victims of negligence, our firm has received an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and was voted one of South Florida's top-rated law firms by the Miami Herald. In addition, we have been invited to join Primerus, which is a highly selective legal society. To discuss what happened to you, call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website.

Are Cruise Lines Doing Enough to Screen Employees?

July 7, 2014

When a person first boards a cruise ship, s/he is greeted by seemingly friendly and welcoming cruise ship employees who promise everyone an excellent time, regardless of how long they will be on board the ship. Many times, the crew is comprised of people from around the world, providing an international flare to the cruise, no matter where the ports-of-call are located. However, this diverse crew means that there may be people who are working on the cruise for the wrong reasons. Crime is a serious problem on board cruise ships and the vast majority of these crimes are not reported to the public.

Although there are conflicting reports about the number of serious crimes that happen on cruise ships, the fact is that passengers are seriously injured in violent crimes far more than most people realize. Sometimes, it is a crew member who attacks a passenger. With more than three decades of experience getting justice for clients, the Miami cruise ship accident lawyers of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. are ready to fight for you if you suffered harm while on a cruise.

It is difficult to fully grasp the extent of the problem with violent crimes because the information is voluntarily reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Of the information that is provided to law enforcement, a small fraction is released publically. As part of an investigation into crime on board cruise ships, Senator John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.V) stated that there were approximately 960 crimes reported to the FBI from 2011 to 2013, but only 31 of these were actually released to the public. These sobering statistics demonstrate why most people assume it is completely safe to go for a cruise when there are many reasons to exercise caution. There is no strict reporting requirement because cruise ships are often registered outside the United State.

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Cruise Ship Accident Kills Two Dockworkers

June 25, 2014

At the beginning of April, two dockworkers were assisting the Royal Caribbean ship Independence of the Seas in releasing its moorings and departing from the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. According to passenger reports, the two workers were in a small boat and were working to remove the final mooring lines. Statements indicated that the Independence of the Seas moved out before the men were free of the ship, with tragic consequences.

There are many different cruise ship accidents every year, many of which result in little more than a slap on the wrist for the cruise line. However, the suffering of the victims and their families lasts indefinitely. The compassionate and knowledgeable Miami cruise ship accident attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. understand how to get justice for victims of the negligence that is widespread on cruise ships. Our attorneys have more than 120 years of collective experience fighting for the rights of those who have been injured during a cruise.

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Politicians Starting to Push for Transparency in the Cruise Industry

June 18, 2014

The cruise line industry brings in large amounts of revenue for the companies that operate the various ships. However, the corporate structure of cruise lines and the international registration of vessels make it very difficult to regulate the standards to which cruise ships must be held, especially with regard to safety on board the ship and the suitability of the crew for their jobs. Our Miami cruise ship injury lawyers believe this lack of oversight has led to many serious problems, including a high crime rate and many tragic accidents. It appears that the degree of risk to cruise passengers finally may have triggered a political response by the United States.

Many passengers are not aware of the dangers that they face when they book that trip to an exciting destination because safety reports and on board issues are not widely available. If you have been injured or a loved one was killed while on a cruise, the dedicated and knowledgeable South Florida cruise ship accident attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. can help you get the compensation that you deserve if negligence led to the harm that you suffered. With more than 120 years of collective experience, we know how to build a successful case. We have handled many many cruise injury cases. These cases have included everything from falls, pool incidents, children being injured while on-board, passengers hurt on excursions or injured by the cruise lines failure to warn of known dangerous areas as well as for other types of negligence.

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Lifeboat Accident Demonstrates Safety Problems on Cruise Ships

June 9, 2014

In February 2013, the Thomson Majesty was in the midst of a seven-day cruise arriving in Santa Cruz de La Palma when it conducted a safety drill involving the 1,498 passengers and 594 crewmembers on board the ship. At the end of the exercise, (which involved instruction regarding how to deal with general emergencies and lifeboat safety), a group of crewmembers entered three lifeboats in order to conduct further safety drills. When one of the lifeboats was being hoisted, the wire rope fall at the forward of the boat failed, leading to a series of events that culminated with the lifeboat falling more than 20 meters into the water with eight crew members onboard. Five crew members died. The safety report was recently released regarding this fatal accident.

Cruise ship accidents take many forms, including tragic events during safety drills. At Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A., our dedicated Miami cruise ship accident attorneys have more than 120 years of collective experience in getting justice for accident victims, regardless of how they were injured. We are ready to help you as soon as you contact our firm.

The safety report that came out after this terrible incident indicated that the wire rope had failed as a result of corrosion and that the rope appeared void of the necessary lubricant to maintain its strength and effectiveness. The lack of proper maintenance apparently had led to the deterioration of the strands to the point where the strands of the wire rope separated and permitted contaminants and seawater to enter and compromise the structural integrity of the rope. In addition to these problems, the wire rope was not fitted in accordance with the specifications of the manufacturer and the proper lubrication was not utilized during the maintenance that was done. This all should have been detected had proper inspection techniques been used. Passengers take lifeboats and the feeling of security one gets from seeing them in place too much for granted.

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Too Big To Sail? A Look at the Safety of Massive Cruise Ships

May 27, 2014

Over the decades, cruise ships have increased tremendously in size, weight, and passenger capacity. In 1985, the biggest cruise ship was the 46,000 ton Carnival Holiday. In early 2000's, the largest ship, the Queen Mary 2, was three times as large. Today, two 225,000 ton ships rule the high seas. Cruise ships continue to get bigger and more popular, but some safety experts are expressing concerns over this continual expansion of ship size.

Our Miami cruise ship accident lawyers find that cruise ships operate with little oversight or enforcement and, according to James Hall, a safety management consultant and former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, (NTSB) the industry has been very fortunate up until now.

Recent events have highlighted the potential perils of mammoth cruise ships. Thirty two people were killed when the Costa Concordia, owned by the Carnival Corporation, capsized off the coast of Italy. The accident revealed several flaws in emergency procedures and lapses in safety. More recently, a fire aboard the Carnival Triumph, left passengers stranded without power for four days until the ship was finally towed to shore. Yet another blaze on Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas forced the ship to dock in the Bahamas. The stern was left blackened by smoke.

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What to Do If You Have Been Injured or Taken Ill on a Cruise Ship

May 19, 2014

Millions of people set off on cruise ship excursions each year seeking fun and relaxation. No one expects to be harmed while enjoying a cruise ship vacation, but sadly thousands of individuals are injured or killed in cruise ship accidents. Accidents often result from cruise line negligence. Injuries commonly arise from slip/trip and falls, unsafe shore excursions, the ship's failure to inspect and maintain their vessel, and inadequate security. Illnesses also abound, frequently striking a large number of cruise passengers due to the ship's failure to take adequate sanitation measures.

Being injured or taking ill on a cruise ship can be frightening. You are often out at sea, isolated from hospitals, doctors, and mainland comforts. The following is a list of the steps our Miami cruise ship accident lawyers think you should take if you have been injured or contracted an illness on a cruise ship. Adherence to these protocols will help protect your chance at a later recovery and ensure proper medical treatment.

1. Seek immediate medical assistance--the first thing you must do is seek help right away for your injury or illness. Go to the ship's doctor or seek other first aid treatment so that your injury can be evaluated and proper medical care administered. Make sure that before you leave the ship you have a copy of your entire medical records from the ship, including x-rays, medications etc.

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