The Top 7 Hazards that You Face While on a Cruise

March 24, 2014

A cruise seems like the ideal vacation for many people. A person can settle into a room and unpack one time while visiting many different ports-of-call. There are flexible dining options so one can eat at any time without having to schedule the day around set meal times. It is possible to wear nothing but shorts and flip flops the entire trip or a vacationer can drag out the sequins and pearls or tuxedo. Sometimes, it is hard to see the downside, until a person is injured as the result of one of the many hidden dangers of a cruise vacation.

At Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A., we know the serious injuries that happen every day on cruise ships. Our knowledgeable Miami cruise ship attorneys have more than one hundred and twenty (120) years of combined legal experience in gathering the evidence necessary to get justice for victims of cruise ship negligence, which can take many different forms.

Although there are many different events that can bring a tragic end to a memorable vacation, here are seven of the most common cruise ship injuries:

• Slip and fall accidents - The slippery surfaces and swaying decks of a cruise ship lead to many slip/fall or trip/fall accidents. The change in flooring from one section of the ship to another also contributes to many falls. These serious accidents can lead to traumatic brain injury, broken bones, and spinal cord damage.

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Slip/Trip and Fall Injuries are Common on Cruise Ships

March 18, 2014

Although a cruise ship is not the first location that likely springs to mind when you think about a slip and fall injury, this is one of the most common injuries on a cruise ship. The motion of the cruise ship at sea combined with the almost ubiquitous presence of water and crowded common areas leads to many falls. Uneven surfaces also lead to many cruise ship slip and fall and trip and fall accidents.

When you are injured because the cruise ship failed to maintain floors and passageways in a safe manner, the experienced South Florida cruise ship accident attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. will fight to get you the money to compensate you for your injuries.

There are times when a passenger will fall and the fall was not caused by any individual's or company's negligence. It certainly is possible to get dizzy or trip over one's own feet, but often there is an external cause that could have been remedied before it led to the injury suffered in the fall. On a cruise ship, some of the common hazards include:

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The Cruise Ship May Be Liable for Your Excursion Injury

March 11, 2014

Many people are willing to try more adventurous activities while on vacation than they ever would during their everyday lives the rest of the year. Someone whose greatest risk at home was trying yoga in a hot room might find himself diving off a wall or galloping down the beach. While some of the excursions offered by many cruise ships do carry an inherent risk of injury, there are times when the cruise ship is responsible, at least partially, for the harm suffered by its passengers while off the ship.

There are far more serious injuries on cruise ships and during excursions every year than most people, even regular cruisers, are aware. The experienced South Florida cruise ship accident attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. understand the lengths to which the cruise industry will go to avoid taking responsibility for its negligence and we work hard to get justice for our clients.

Holding a cruise ship responsible for the injury that a passenger suffers while on a shore excursion is not straightforward. Often, the operators of these excursions are independent companies with international registrations and there are no strong ties between the cruise line and the tour operator. However, it is possible to recover from the cruise ship under certain circumstances.

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Norovirus Sickens Hundreds in Two More Cruise Ship Outbreaks

March 3, 2014

People excitedly plan for their cruise vacations for months, if not years. They purchase outfits in anticipation of their formal evenings and make sure that they have enough casual clothes to attend the various events, excursions, and midnight buffets. With this in mind, the last thing a person looking forward to a cruise vacation thinks about is what he or she should bring to stay confined to the cabin while sick. However, this is exactly what happened to more than 600 passengers and crew members onboard the Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Sea and nearly 200 passengers and crew on the Caribbean Princess, one of Princess Cruises' ships, in cruises leaving port at the end of January 2014.

Cruise ships make billions of dollars, much of it tax-free, every year, but do not effectively prevent outbreaks that make thousands of people seriously ill each year. The experienced Miami cruise ship accident attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. understand the complex organizational structure of cruise ships and can get victims of cruise industry negligence the compensation that they deserve. It should be cautioned that cases involving sickness on a cruise ship are not wlays worth bring a claim for. You should consult with a lawyer about your possible claim. Cruise line tickets limit the time within you must report a claim and file suit significantly. The tickets ofter determine in what venue, City and Court, cases may be brought. Many cruise lines, regardless of where in the world negligence occurred, require that the claim be brought in Miami, Fl, our home city.

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Drowning Tragedy Onboard the Norwegian Breakaway

February 25, 2014

A family traveling to Florida on the Norwegian Breakaway suffered a devastating tragedy at the beginning of February after a four-year-old boy drowned and his six-year-old brother was seriously injured in a cruise ship pool when the ship was off the coast of North Carolina. Like many cruise ship pools, this one does not appear to have been monitored by a lifeguard, so the boys were both non-responsive when pulled from the pool. This ship regularly travels between New York City and the Bahamas, stopping in Port Canaveral, Florida. Sadly, these terrible events are not isolated incidents.

The skilled Miami cruise ship accident attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. have more than three decades of experience in getting justice for victims of cruise line negligence. We will work hard to get you the compensation that you deserve if you were hurt on a cruise.

The cruise industry has a long history of drowning deaths on board its ships. When people book a cruise, they believe that their every need will be met by attentive staff based on the prolific hype of the cruise ship companies. While there may be a wine steward who will suggest the perfect pairing for each course, there likely will not be lifeguards on duty at the onboard pools.

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Couple Stranded in Turkey after Husband Sustains Serious Cruise Ship Injuries

December 23, 2013

In August, an 89-year old Tampa, Florida man, Dodge Melkonian, and his wife Jill took an Azamara cruise of the Black Sea. However, Our Miami cruise ship accident lawyers discovered that Dodge ended up sustaining a serious hip injury after slipping and falling while aboard the vessel. Due to the nature of his injuries, Dodge required additional medical treatment - more than the ship's personnel could provide - and as such, the ship left him and his wife at a local hospital in Bartin, Turkey, a small coastline village. Most people in Bartin could not speak English and as a result, Dodge was unable to receive the treatment he desperately needed. Ultimately, the couple secured an English-speaking tour guide, who safely got them to an American hospital in Istanbul.

Although Dodge finally received the medical attention he needed (including hip surgery and a blood transfusion), the elderly couple was left stranded in Turkey for several days without adequate support, ensnaring a U.S. Embassy, a cruise line, two countries and a Florida Senator to help them. As a result, the couple looked to Royal Caribbean, Azamara's parent company, to pay for the $10,000 per day hospital bill and the additional expenses they incurred as a result of Dodge's injuries. Despite the cruise line's assertion that they took all steps necessary to ensure that Dodge was properly cared for, several claim, including Florida Senator Bill Nelson, that they could have done more to help him and his wife. However, according to CNN news online, as of August, Royal Caribbean has agreed to reimburse the couple for their expenses.

A Cruise Line's Heightened Duty of Care

While the above story is rather extreme, these types of situations unfortunately can and sometimes do happen. In fact, with over 17 million cruise line passengers each year, it isn't surprising to learn that a person sustained injuries while aboard these luxury vessels. We represent such people all the time and have had client's live through nightmares similar to the Dodge's story. Accordingly, if you enjoy cruise line vacations, it is important to understand the applicable law and your legal rights to prevent this situation from happening to you. In general, cruise ships are considered to be "common carriers," which means that they have a heightened duty beyond the ordinary "reasonable care," to ensure the safety of their passengers. As such, a cruise line must exercise the highest degree of care to protect their passengers from harm. This includes an unwavering duty to ensure that their passengers arrive safely at each port and also, that they are properly cared for should they require treatment by a foreign hospital on land. Keep in mind that each cruise line may have different requirements that are set out in their bylaws as to certain measures they will take in a given situation.

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When Cruise Ship Vacations Turn Deadly

October 21, 2013

Recently, a thirty-nine year old on a seven-day cruise aboard the Carnival Magic fell from his cabin balcony, landing three decks below on an open deck. The man was pronounced dead shortly after his fall. Although it would seem that accidents and fatalities on cruise ships are rare, in fact, our Miami cruise ship accident lawyers know they occur more often than you would think. Unfortunately, there is no comprehensive database that informs the public about how often such accidents occur. Cruise lines, although based in the United States, typically incorporate and register their ships overseas. As a result, cruise lines are only obligated to report accidents to the state under whose laws the ship operates. This means there is a serious shortage of statistics on Miami cruise ship accidents, with one notable exception.

Ross A. Klein, a Canadian professor of sociology with dual citizenship in America, spent over 300 days on cruises for a span of ten years, between 1992 and 2002. Mr. Klein noted that there were serious discrepancies between what the cruise ship industry told the public and what he observed. Since that time, Mr. Klein has found himself in front of House of Representatives and Senate panels, testifying about the oversights he personally observed regarding the cruise ship industry as a whole. Mr. Klein further became an avid collector of news reports regarding collisions and accidents at sea and even spoke to many crew members and passengers about what goes on behind the scenes of an outwardly happy cruise ship vacation. Klein noted the following:

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Raising the Costa Concordia

October 2, 2013

On January 13, 2012, the world watched as a luxury cruise ship collided with a reef off the coast of an Italian island, take on water, and roll onto its side. Thirty-two people were killed in the cruise ship disaster. It was made even worse by the fact that the manner in which the boat capsized and the location made recovery of the ship an engineering nightmare.

Cruise ship accidents and injuries aboard happen with far more frequency than people realize, although they usually are not as dramatic as the Costa Concordia tragedy. If you or a loved one has been injured because of negligence while on a cruise, the Miami cruise accident attorneys of Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A. are ready to fight for your rights and the compensation that you deserve.

More than twenty months after the accident and the deaths of those 32 passengers and crew members, an American salvage company engineered a platform onto which the Costa Concordia was pain-stakingly maneuvered. Two bodies were discovered after the ship was righted and they are believed to be the missing passenger and crew member. It will likely be another year before the Costa Concordia is towed away and broken apart for scrap. For now, it remains a disturbing reminder of the dangers of the cruise ship industry.

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Unregulated Cruise Ship Industry Experiencing More Accidents

August 14, 2013

For many years, cruise ship accidents were not something that made the news or were in the thoughts of potential passengers. Then there were a series of incidents where cruise ships became disabled far out to sea, were hit with outbreaks of terrible viruses that left hundreds of passengers sick, had reports of violent crime and ineffective investigation, and experienced disasters where a large cruise ship runs aground. As numerous incidents are being reported, it may seem like more should be done to correct the underlying weaknesses that lead to these situations. The truth is there is a problem with the system. If you or a loved one has suffered harm as a result of a cruise ship accident, the skilled Miami cruise ship accident attorneys at Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A. have the experience to get compensation for your injuries.

The reason that there has not been more of a regulatory crackdown is because the cruise industry falls into a strange gap, where no one authority has total control over the enforcement of rules and regulations. This nebulous oversight means that cruise ships are not as accountable for the unsanitary conditions, dangerous hazards, and criminal incidents as they should be.

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That Dream Cruise Vacation May be Making You Sick

August 5, 2013

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just released a very disturbing report on the conditions present on one cruise line ship. In accordance with the vessel sanitation program (VSP), on June 17, 2013, inspectors for the CDC boarded the Silver Shadow, one of the ships belonging to Silversea Cruises. Despite trying to hide evidence of poor health practices, the CDC inspectors were able to document extensive violations and the ship received a failing score of 82. Anything under a score of 85 in considered unsatisfactory.

Silversea Cruises is considered one of the most luxurious cruise lines in the industry and the onboard practices of at least one of its ships are jeopardizing the health and wellbeing of the passengers. Not only do passengers risk serious illness from these unsanitary practices, but the weakness and disorientation of sickness can lead to even more traumatic injury. If you or a loved one has become seriously ill, or experienced any other type of severe harm, while vacationing on a cruise ship, then the Miami cruise ship injury lawyers at Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A. are prepared to offer the help that you need. Holding cruise ships accountable for their dangerous practices is the only way to affect industry-wide change and you deserve compensation for your injuries.

The subject of the July report was a surprise inspection and that much was evident from the reaction of the cruise employees, who tried to remove or hide more than 15 food trolleys full of food and cooking equipment and hide the items in ten cabins shared by galley crew members.

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Cruise Ship May Be Liable for Onboard Rapes and Other Violent Crimes

July 17, 2013

When a person embarks on a cruise vacation, he or she is thinking about the activities that will be enjoyed, the destinations that will be visited, and the fun that will be had. Generally, a vacationer will not be thinking about the possibility of violent crime. However, cruise ships are not immune from violence. If something terrible has happened during a cruise vacation, the Miami cruise ship injury lawyers at Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A. may be able to help you.

Sexual assaults account for fifty-five percent (55%) of violent crimes that are reported on the high seas, according to a 2007 statement by the FBI to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. There are many complications that result from these crimes. There is no formal police force on board most ships. This means that evidence may not be preserved, the crime scene may not be secured, and the investigation will not commence until legal authorities are able to board the ship. A victim of a violent assault may feel that there is no recourse for them, but the cruise ship may still be liable and a small measure of justice may be had.

Although all businesses and individuals providing specific services owe individuals a duty of care, cruise lines are considered "common carriers" and are obligated to exercise a duty of care beyond what a reasonable business entity would do. In essence, a cruise line has the highest duty of care to provide a safe environment for its passengers. If the cruise ship fails in its duty, the person who suffered as a result of that breach may be entitled to compensation if:

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How Safe Are Cruise Ships?

June 24, 2013

Cruise Ship Blog Pic.jpgThe Miami Cruise Ship Accident Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A., frequently posts articles about cruise ship safety and incidents, as our firm has attorneys specializing in cruise ship accidents in the Miami area. Regrettably, this all too familiar news story has surfaced yet again--another safety incident aboard a cruise ship has occurred. This time, it involved Royal Caribbean. On May 27, 2013, a fire broke out on the third deck of the Grandeur of the Seas while it was off the coast of Florida on its way to Cococay, Bahamas. Reports indicate that the fire was discovered at approximately 2:50 a.m. Passengers were directed to various muster stations after the fire broke out. The Grandeur of the Seas requested assistance from the United States Coast Guard. Although declining further comment, the United States Coast Guard did indicate that the fire was a "Class A" fire, which involves solid materials rather than flammable liquids.

According to various reports, Royal Caribbean staff secured the area on the ship affected by the fire and extinguished it using onboard equipment. Passengers were allowed to return to their rooms later in the morning. Photographs of the extent of the damage reflect substantial smoke damage, though the full extent of the damage is not clear in the photographs. What is clear from the photographs is that the smoke damage affected several decks of the ship at the stern area.

Several passengers were treated for medical issues, and passengers report other passengers passing out and vomiting. However, no injuries have been reported. The Grandeur of the Seas was able to sail to Freeport, Bahamas, and docked approximately seven hours after the fire broke out. The remainder of the trip had to be cancelled due to the damage to the ship. All of the 2,224 passengers were flown back from the Bahamas to Baltimore, Maryland, where the ship departed. Royal Caribbean issued a statement that all passengers would receive a full refund and a certificate for a future cruise trip.

This most recent occurrence is just one in a string of recent incidents involving cruise ships, many of which have been much more serious. One such incident involved the ill-fated Triumph, a Carnival cruise ship. In February of this year, Triumph was completed disabled by a fire in its engine room, leaving it stranded in the Gulf of Mexico for days. The 3,143 passengers aboard the ship were forced to live in tent cities on the upper deck of the ship due to conditions below deck. Bathroom facilities at the aft portion of Triumph were not functional after the fire, leading to human waste overflowing below deck. Triumph was eventually towed to Mobile, Alabama, for repairs. This was not the end of its saga, however. In April, while still moored in Mobile being and repaired, Triumph broke free during high winds. After several hours floating adrift, it was secured.

As these events indicate, passengers aboard cruise ships need to remain mindful of safety at all times. Although these massive ships can seem like floating cities, and safety seems assured, it is not. In the middle of an ocean or sea when something happens, there is simply no place to go. Fires and loss of power remain relatively common occurrences. Slips and falls, falls overboard, and theft are also issues of which passengers need to be aware. If you or a family member has suffered an injury or other incident aboard a cruise ship, our Florida Cruise Ship Injury Attorneys may be able to help you receive compensation for your injuries or losses. Please contact us today to set up a free consultation to discuss your rights at (305)595-2400.


Incidents Onboard Cruise Ships Are Common

May 14, 2013

According to Seattletimes.com, incidents such as fires, loss of power and others on board cruise ships are common place and often are not reported. In fact, many incidents are not reported at all because although many cruise lines operate from ports in the United States, their ships are registered in other countries, putting them outside U.S. jurisdiction.

Moreover, while these cruise lines are obligated to report crimes committed on board to the F.B.I., they only report incidents like fires, power loss or evacuations to the Coast Guard in the ports they operate from. In other words, there is no comprehensive database of all significant incidents that occur on board a cruise ship or a cruise line.

Yet, for the last couple of decades one person has tried to keep a somewhat comprehensive database about most of the incidents relevant to safety that take place on a cruise ship. Ross A. Klein, a Canadian/American Professor of Sociology at Memorial University in Newfoundland, Canada has been a cruise enthusiast all his life, spending more than 300 hours at sea between 1992 and 2002. At some point he noted that there was a difference between his observations and the statements made by the cruise industry about environmental and labor issues, so he decided to start compiling data on all kind of cruise related issues.

Now Professor Klein is considered an authority on cruise ship safety and regularly testifies before Congress about the cruise line industry. His website, CruiseJunkie.com, is perhaps the most comprehensive database to date of fires, sunken ships, collisions and other events at sea. Professor Klein gathers the information for his website from news reports and other sources such as crew members and passengers.

However, there are some limits to Professor Klein's database: most of the information he receives is from events that happen at cruises in North America and Europe because his sources are English speakers and English-language news organizations. This makes it unlikely that he will receive much information from events happening in Asia, Africa and South America.

Typical Events Reported

Among the events typically reported by Professor Klein are:

  • Adrift at Sea: Ships left adrift at sea by loss of power are common incidents. Professor Klein has logged dozens such events over the last two decades. Fortunately, most of these situations last only a few hours, thou there have been cases including the recent power loss of the "Triumph" from Carnival Cruise Lines that have gone on for days. Last February a fire in the engine room shut down the 14-year-old ship's power, propulsion, sewage and air-conditioning systems, leaving over 4,000 passengers adrift for days in the Gulf of Mexico with little food and raw sewage overflowing into the ship's walls and carpets...
  • Evacuations: Although not frequent (according to Professor Klein's numbers they happen approximately three or four times a year) when they do happen, they are carried out in an safe way and rarely end with the passengers actually abandoning the ship.
  • Fires on Board: Unfortunately, fires on board cruise ships are not infrequent. Professor Klein has recorded approximately 79 fires on cruises between 1990 and 2011. Until 2006 there were about three to four fires reported every year. From 2006 on there has been an increase in the number of reported fires to seven or eight a year, not only because the incidents themselves have increased (which they have because the industry itself has grown,) but due to social media, which makes it easier to report cases.
  • Non-Functioning Toilets: The problem is more common than usually thought because cruise ships use a vacuum system that gets easily clogged when someone (especially in the upper decks) flushes down the toilet anything other than human waste or toilet paper. When this happens, all the pipes from the top to the bottom (including some cabins across) get clogged and toilets overflow.
  • Running Aground: Fortunately, cruise ships run aground more often than they sink. Again, according to statistics gathered by Professor Klein, 99 cruise ships have run aground in the last 32 years. Of course, ships can run aground and sink too, as it happened to the "Costa Concordia" on February of 2012.
  • Sinking: Sixteen ships have sunk in the last 32 years. Of course, the disaster of the "Costa Concordia" is still fresh in everyone's mind. Yet, the worst sinking incident during that period was that of the "Estonia", a cruise ship that sank in the Baltic Sea in 1994, killing more than 800 people.

Dangers to Cruise Ship Passengers

There are many different activities for passengers to enjoy while on a cruise. Unfortunately, some of these activities can be dangerous, especially when using faulty equipment. When planning how to spend their time at the various ports of call, passengers often decide to book excursions with local excursion companies instead of booking them through the ship. While the excursions booked with the ship are usually more expensive, they are also usually safer, primarily because the cruise line is supposed to make sure that their operators maintain higher safety standards, since the cruise line itself may end up facing liability for any injury suffered by a passenger that booked the excursion thru the ship.

Following are some of the activities enjoyed by passengers while on land:

  1. Surfing
  2. Scuba diving or snorkeling
  3. Parasailing
  4. Boating
  5. Jet skiing
  6. Hiking
  7. ZIP lining
  8. Excursions on bicycles, on motorbikes or on 4X4 vehicles like Jeeps, etc.

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Are Limitation-of-Liability Provisions in Cruise Ticket Contract Unenforceable?

May 10, 2013

Gadling reported on February 6, 2012 that two cruise ships which arrived in Florida and one in New Orleans brought back nearly 700 sick passengers to shore over the weekend. The report indicated that Norovirus, which causes vomiting and diarrhea, hit passengers and crew causing hundreds to become ill. If these breakouts are a result of the ship owner's negligence, can the passengers recover damages for the illnesses contracted?

As a preliminary matter, it is necessary to state that ship owners owe a duty of care to all of the passengers on board. This general rule regarding ship owners was adopted by the United States Supreme Court in the case of Kermarec v. Compagnie Generale, 358 U.S. 625 (1959). The United States Supreme court clearly explained in said case that "it is a settled principle of maritime law that a shipowner owes the duty of exercising reasonable care towards those lawfully aboard the vessel who are not members of the crew. Having exposed the general rule of liability, we next need to determine whether ship owners can limit their liability by including a "limitation-of-liability" clause in their ticket.

Cruise Ship Ticket Typical Limitation-of-Liability Clause

Most cruise ship tickets incorporate a "limitation-of-liability" clause which stipulates that in the event of an accident, the cruise ship's liability will be limited to a certain sum. Most of the time these clauses are included in the fine print of the ticket and passengers are not aware of these limitation of liability clauses. Under these circumstances, are these clauses enforceable against passengers in the event of a major breakout as it was the case in the three cruise ships reported above? This very same issue was recently brought before the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida in the case of Wajnstat v. Oceania Cruises, Inc., 684 F.3d 1153, 23 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. C 1211 (11th Cir., 2012)

Felix Wajnstat and his wife booked a cruise on a ship owned by Oceania, which would depart from Istanbul, Turkey, stop at various Black Sea ports, and then end in Athens, Greece. During that cruise, Wajnstat became ill and sought medical attention from the ship's doctor. He was eventually evacuated to Sevastopol, Ukraine, where he underwent three surgeries and allegedly received substandard care.

Wajnstat filed a lawsuit in federal district court before the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida and claimed that Oceania negligently hired, retained, and supervised the ship's doctor. Oceania answered that its liability to Wajnstat, if any, was limited by the limitation-of-liability provision in the ticket contract which made reference to various treatises and statutes.

The district court concluded that the limitation of liability provision was not reasonably communicative because it was confusing and because it required the passengers to parse through various treaties and statutes to determine the limits of Oceania's liability. An appeal from this decision was eventually dismissed by the United States 11th Circuit Court of Appeals for lack of jurisdiction.

Not So Fast

When these viral breakouts occur in cruise ships, passengers are routinely contacted by cruise ship patrons offering them a free cruise ship in the future for their inconvenience. These patrons often refer to the limitation of liability clauses incorporated in the tickets to persuade the passengers in accepting the free ticket as compensation for their damages. Before accepting such an offer, sick passengers should confer with an attorney as they may be entitled to more rights than a simple free ticket in the future.

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Cruise Ship Liability When a Passenger Falls Overboard

May 10, 2013

Yahoo News reported that "Authorities were conducting an air and marine search Thursday off Australia's east coast for two cruise passengers who were believed to have fallen overboard" the Carnival Spirit the night before. The search was called off on Friday.

Apparently, surveillance camera footage showed that the young couple fell from the ship's mid deck Wednesday night, when the ship off the coast of Forster, Australia. According to the Yahoo news report, "the couple had been among 2,680 passengers on a South Pacific cruise. They were discovered missing as passengers disembarked, said Peter Taylor, spokesman for the ship's operator, Carnival Cruise Lines."

Passengers Falling Overboard: Not an Uncommon Occurrence

This latest's incident is just one in the many accidents that the Miami-based parent corporation, Carnival Corp., has had to deal in the past couple of years. Just over a year ago, the Costa Concordia sunk off the coast of Italy, killing 32 people. Also last year, the Costa Allegra caught fire and lost power in the Indian Ocean, leaving passengers without working toilets, running water or air conditioning for three days. Other Carnival cruises have had major issues where power was lost during this past year.

In response to these tragic accidents, the Cruise Lines International Association, a group of 26 major cruise lines, put together ten new safety rules to prevent similar accidents in the future. One of these rules required that the nationality of each passenger on a cruise ship be recorded and made readily available to search-and-rescue staff as appropriate. This latest rule was immediately applied in the Carnival Spirit incident and assisted investigators in determining that the missing passengers were from New South Wales. However, this new rule was of no help in finding the missing bodies.

A long investigation will now follow this tragedy in order to determine why these two passengers fell off the ship and so many questions will have to be answered. Was the fall voluntary or involuntary? Did the young couple try to take their lives? Was foul play involved and the bodies simply thrown overboard? Did the couple simply slip off the ship due to faulty ship conditions such as wet floors?

In order to obtain answers to these questions the rescue/recovery team will first try to find the bodies of the missing couple in order to determine if these individuals died before falling overboard. They will also have to interrogate passengers and family members in order to find clues as to whether the couple decided to take their lives. Finally, the investigators will have to obtain and review more camera footage in order to determine whether faulty conditions of the cruise ship itself was the reason why this couple fell overboard. Depending on this investigation, Carnival, Corp. may or may not be subject to yet another negligence lawsuit.

Falling Overboard Not The Only Hazard on Cruise Ship

Passengers disappearing at sea, a sinking ship or a ship that has catches fire is not the only reason passengers get injured or lose their lives on cruise ship. All types of accidents happen during cruise vacations, both on the ship and while on land. While on the ship, passengers have slipped and fallen on wet floors or damaged carpets. Passengers have contracted viruses due to poorly sanitized ship conditions. While participating in land based activities, passengers have suffered injuries when:

  1. Surfing
  2. Scuba diving or snorkeling
  3. Parasailing
  4. Boating
  5. Jet skiing
  6. Hiking
  7. ZIP lining
  8. Excursions on bicycles, on motorbikes or on 4X4 vehicles like Jeeps, etc.

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