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Cruise Ship Accident Attorneys Explore Common Cruise Line Defenses Against Slip and Falls

Slip and falls are one of the most common accidents to occur on cruise ships.  As Miami cruise ship accident attorneys, we have to be prepared for classic defense tactics utilized by cruise lines.  One such tactic is assertion of the “open and obvious” defense.  Cruise lines owe a duty of reasonable care to their passengers.  To prevail on a slip and fall claim, an injured accident victim must prove that the cruise line acted negligently.  Even with this established, the cruise line can raise several defenses.  Among the most used is the open and obvious defense.

The Open and Obvious Defense

Cruise lines have the duty to warn passengers of known dangers, but this duty does not extend to open and obvious dangers. Open and obvious dangers are considered those that should be obvious to a passenger by the ordinary use of one’s senses.  When faced with a slip and fall claim, cruise lines will often raise this defense and claim the cruise ship had no duty to warn its passengers of the obvious danger.  The success of this defense will depend on the unique circumstances of the case. Continue reading →

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Cruise ships often accommodate 3,000 guests or more. These massive floating cities have significant security needs.  At Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, our cruise ship attorneys understand the critical importance of security cameras on cruise ships. Cruise ships are equipped with pools, casinos, restaurants, and numerous other areas that could pose a threat to passengers.  Cruise ship surveillance provides important benefits, such as:

  • Crime prevention: Surveillance cameras can help to deter crimes, including theft and acts of violence. When crimes occur, footage of the incidents will prove important for prosecution.
  • Missing persons: There have been several cases of missing persons on cruise ships, and cameras are often the only way to trace the missing individual.
  • Accidents: Accidents happen on cruise ships and when they do, camera footage of the accident can be critical to determining the cruise line’s liability.

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If you have been injured while on a cruise, it is critical that you know the deadline for filing your personal injury action. Failure to file within the deadline, or statute of limitations, may result in dismissal of your action.  Each state sets its own statute of limitations and deadlines will vary depending on the type of legal claim.  However, for cruise ship accident cases, the time period set out in your cruise ticket, which comprises your contract with the cruise line, will generally take precedence.  Most cruise ship tickets require that plaintiffs file their personal injury action within one year, but it is critical that you refer to your specific cruise ticket as deadlines may vary.  Additionally, our cruise ship injury attorneys have found that many cruise tickets require you provide notice of your injuries within a certain amount of time.

At Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, we have assisted thousands of injured cruise ship passengers in timely filing their cruise ship accident case. We understand how confusing it can be to meet all mandatory deadlines and notice requirements.  Our firm will carefully assist you in meeting the deadlines and preserving your legal rights.  As an injured cruise ship passenger, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Continue reading →

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In 2011, British crew member Rebecca Coriam seemingly vanished without a trace off the cruise ship Disney Wonder.  To this day, the circumstances surrounding Coriam’s disappearance remain shrouded in mystery.  The Miami cruise ship attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano have a combined 130 years of experience representing cruise ship accident victims and their families.  We have assisted in many cases with confusing facts that require intense investigations.  Now, we review the disappearance of Rebecca Coriam and Disney’s role in this missing person case.

Coriam Vanishes

On the morning of March 22, 2011, Rebecca Coriam was in the crew lounge of the Disney Wonder as it sailed off the coast of Mexico.  There, a security camera recorded Coriam taking on the phone. She appeared to become upset.  She hangs up the call and leaves the crew lounge.  From there, she has never definitively been seen again.

When a search of the ship found no Coriam, investigations turned to the waters, presuming she had gone overboard.  A detective from the Royal Bahama Police Force flew in to investigate the disappearance because the ship is registered in the Bahamas.  He spent just one day aboard the ship investigating and flew home.

Theories swirled on Coriam’s disappearance, with the captain speculating that a large wave sent her overboard while at the crew pool. Others suggested she fell on the jogging track and went overboard.  Many believed the Disney and Bahamian police knew more about her disappearance than they were letting on.

Rebecca Coriam’s parents also wondered whether she could still be alive. They received a notice from the bank that someone had tried to access Rebecca’s account several months after her disappearance.  They also received a call from someone who stated they were quite positive they spotted Rebecca in Venice with a dark haired man.  Even further, her Facebook password was changed by someone with details about the account. Continue reading →

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Passengers aboard the Celebrity Solstice recently experienced two separate tragic accidents while at port in Tauranga, New Zealand.  First, a bus carrying a group of cruise ship passengers back to the ship was involved in a head-on collision with a car. The driver of the car did not survive.  Some of the passengers sustained minor injuries but were otherwise fine.  Less than an hour later, an American passenger was struck and killed by a truck while on a cycling tour of the city.  The 71-year-old passenger was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.  Our South Florida cruise ship attorneys were horrified to learn of these two tragedies and our thoughts go out to the family members of those involved.

The Celebrity Solstice was launched in 2008.  This luxury ship features a live grass lawn, a 12 deck atrium, and even its own glassblowing studio.  It can accommodate 2,850 people and is 1,041 feet in length.  One of its featured destinations is New Zealand.  Passengers have the option of numerous excursions to enjoy off the ship in New Zealand, including cycling, white water rafting, bush jet boats, and more.

The Tauranga double tragedy is unprecedented. According to the bus company involved in the crash, the bus fleet has never been involved in an accident of this magnitude during its 28 years of operations.  Nonetheless, passengers and the family of the woman killed are distressed by these two alarming events that happened in such a short time. Our Miami cruise ship accident attorneys understand that cruise ship accidents can occur unexpectedly. When a cruise ship accident turns deadly, it is imperative that passengers understand their legal rights. Continue reading →

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As cruise ship injury attorneys we often encounter problems relating to the “fine print” on a passage ticket.  Our clients’ rights and responsibilities are defined by those seemingly inconspicuous paragraphs filled with legalese. Your eyes easily glaze over at the very attempt to read the words that are much more significant than they appear at first blush. We advise our clients to take their time to read and try to understand the fine print before going on a voyage. You can readily forfeit important rights to which you are entitled if you are unaware of the contents of the ticket.

The passage ticket for a cruise line is more than just a notice allowing you access to the ship and a reservation in a stateroom. A passage ticket is a binding contract that is more than a reminder of when the ship departs and from which port. The contract language contained in the ticket is binding on both parties. Although you have not negotiated the specific terms of the contract, you must comply with the terms thereof. For example, you must give written notice to the cruise line within the specified time frame of injuries you suffered on board. Additionally, the ticket commonly binds the voyager to sue within one year from the date of the injury. Some tickets even force you to apply certain laws of a state or country. Lastly, you agree to sue in the court or courts delineated in the ticket even if filing the suit is utterly inconvenient for you. Continue reading →

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Our cruise ship attorneys remind cruise ship passengers that when you are on the high seas, you are completely at the mercy of the captain and the crew. You expect that cruise lines hire competent medical personnel to treat sick or injured passengers. Cruise lines have a lot to lose if they do not hire qualified physicians and other assistants. The last thing a cruise line wants is a reputation for not treating their passengers properly. Until recently, however, cruise lines were not necessarily liable for the medical malpractice committed by the ship’s physician and his staff.  This development in the law, at least as it relates to the United States Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals (of which Florida is a member), permits victims of medical malpractice on the high seas to sue the cruise line rather than just the physician.

The case that brought about the change was Franza v. Royal Caribbean. In that case, the plaintiff’s father was an elderly passenger on a Royal Caribbean ship. He fell and struck his head very hard while boarding a trolley shortly after the cruise liner docked at a port in Bermuda.  A crew member from the ship wheeled the plaintiff’s father back on board the vessel and brought him to the sick bay for medical treatment. No doctor treated the plaintiff’s father at the sick bay. Instead, a nurse came by and examined the plaintiff’s father’s head. The nurse failed to order diagnostic testing despite reasoning that the man had a concussion. The nurse suggested that the man’s wife pay close attention to her husband’s condition and call back if his condition worsened. Continue reading →

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As South Florida’s pre-eminent cruise ship injury attorneys, we have handled many cases involving cruise lines that fail to maintain the standard of care they owe to their passengers. Our United States Supreme Court announced the rule of law that cruise lines must follow to protect their passengers while in navigable waters over 50 years ago. The high Court ruled that the owner of a ship owes to all persons on board a duty of reasonable care under the given circumstances.  The cruise ship must have notice of the potential danger, and the danger must be one that is not limited to the dangers of the sea, such as being swept overboard by a rogue wave. Rather, the ship owner has the duty to protect passengers from injuries that occur on the boat that could also occur on land, as long as the danger was not open and obvious. One example is slipping and falling on a wet deck.

The ship owner’s obligation to protect passengers extends to ports and activities at the ports as well. Cruise ships have a duty to warn passengers about dangers they may encounter off the boat. Again, however, the cruise line must have some form of notice of the danger and extends to places where the ship’s passengers are likely to visit. For example, a passenger could get hurt on an excursion sponsored by or associated with the cruise line and be liable for the passenger’s injuries. If, however, the passenger fell into a volcano while trespassing, then the cruise line is not responsible. The example is a bit absurd, but it proves the point.  Continue reading →

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As cruise ship injury lawyers in Miami we have a tremendous amount of experience litigating cases involving personal injuries that occurred on board a cruise ship at sea. Unfortunately, injuries frequently happen on cruise ships.  Cruise lines are liable for a person’s injuries if the cruise ship does not meet the standard. Cruise lines fight tooth and nail to avoid paying a settlement. Consequently, you need to retain a law firm that will work hard to recover the compensation you deserve.

Cruise lines owe their passengers a duty of care while on the high seas. Despite the duty owed to each passenger, cruise lines can get away with causing an injury to a passenger. In the Lombardi case, the passenger and her husband were avid cruisers. They were familiar with the layout of the stateroom after cruising for a couple of days. However, one evening Mrs. Lombardi had to get back into their stateroom in a rush. Mrs. Lombardi rushed into the bathroom, tripped over the raised threshold and fell hard. She sustained injuries from the fall. Mrs. Lombardi could not see where she was going. The stateroom’s lights did not come on automatically upon opening the door. Norwegian Cruise Lines refused to settle the case, and Lombardi filed a lawsuit in United States District Court for the District of Southern Florida. Continue reading →

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Logic dictates that a cruise ship’s decks can get wet while at sea. Decks become very slippery after precipitation, or sea spray falls on them. A recent court decision proves that cruise lines must warn their passengers about the dangers of slippery decks and are liable for injuries caused by the decks that are unreasonably dangerous. If you or a loved one suffered injuries on a cruise ship at sea, the South Florida cruise ship attorneys from Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano will fight to win the compensation you deserve.

As experienced cruise ship injury attorneys, we are very familiar with slip and fall injuries that occur on cruise ships while at sea. In the recent case of Frasca v. NCL (Bahamas) Ltd., the plaintiff fell on a wet deck. The plaintiff, his wife, and two friends went to dinner. They exited the dining room to explore the deck. The sun had set by that time and fog and mist set in. As such, the decks became very wet. The plaintiff was the last of the four through the door onto the deck. The plaintiff walked through the door, slipped on the wet deck and fell down hard on the floor.  The plaintiff suffered excruciating pain in his leg. The following day, the plaintiff went to the emergency room at a local hospital after the ship docked. The doctor administered pain medication, but that did not cure the pain. Consequently, the plaintiff had an MRI after returning to his home. The test revealed that his hamstring muscle tore itself off of the bone. The plaintiff sued for personal injuries including medical expenses along with pain and suffering and claimed that the cruise line failed to warn him about the possible danger relating to the wet decks. Continue reading →

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