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Although cruises offer virtually unlimited access entertainment, activities, culinary delights, and tours, passengers can suffer serious physical and emotional injury when cruise line operators fail to provide adequate security.  Attacks against passengers and crew members that include rape, sexual battery, and other violent offenses occur on cruise ships and during shore excursions more often than you might think.  Cruise ships have a duty to properly screen their crewmembers to prevent hiring individuals prone to commit criminal acts and to implement security procedures to keep passengers safe.  Despite these duties, cruise lines sometimes fail to provide adequate security resulting in devastating consequences for cruise passengers.  In this blog, our cruise injury lawyers discuss a recent incident reported by the media demonstrating exactly the wrong way for a cruise line to handle a passenger who reports a criminal attack.

This tragic incident involved an accomplished violinist and competitive swimmer named Mary who was enthralled by the idea of cruises.  She collected cruise brochures when she would happen to pass a travel agency.  Her fascination with cruises suddenly turned dark when she suffered a sexual assault on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, which was reported in the New Times.  While experiencing a sexual assault is a horrific event under any circumstances, the cruise line was so dismissive regarding the consequences of this passenger’s experience that they made they situation worse. Continue reading →

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When you are riding on a ferry or cruise liner, you probably never consider the possibility of a collision between vessels.  While these types of accidents are rare, they do occur and can result in severe injury or even loss of life.  Insurers of commercial owners of vessels that provide boating excursions to the public understand the complex maritime and admiralty law that apply in such incidents and that possess the litigation resources to tenaciously fight liability.  In certain cases, ship owners will utilize tactics designed to cap the damage recovery and deprive an injured passenger or surviving family members of full recovery for their loss.  In this blog post, our cruise accident attorneys review the recent federal court decision in Holzhauer v. Gold Gate Bridge Highway & Transportation District regarding the attempt of a ferry line owner to limit liability for injuries incurred in a collision with another vessel.

Our Miami cruise ship injury lawyers are very familiar with a strategy commonly employed by owners of ships to limit their negligence liability for boating accidents.  The ferry was taking about 500 passengers on a thirty-minute excursion when it crashed into a speed boat.  Two people on the speed boat incurred injuries in the collision causing one to die.  The captain of both vessels indicated they did not notice the other vehicle until it was too late to avoid the accident.  The plaintiff introduced evidence that the captain of the ferry was using his mobile phone immediately before the vessels collided.  The estate of the decedent alleged that the captain of the ferry was distracted which constituted the proximate cause of the fatal collision. Continue reading →

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The crash involving Carnival’s Concord Concordia cruise ship that caused the ship to sink spurred multiple lawsuits brought by passengers.  These lawsuits stem from the ship seeking, which claimed the lives of 32 passengers and caused the evacuation of thousands.  Despite the fact the captain of the cruise ship has been convicted of manslaughter, a Florida federal appeals court ruled that a lawsuit brought by 57 plaintiffs cannot move forward in the U.S.  In this blog, our Miami cruise injury lawyers analyze the impact of the forum non conveniens litigation strategy used by the cruise line against U.S. passengers harmed in the crash.

The plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in federal court in Miami related to injuries and deaths of passengers of the Costa Concordia, which sunk after colliding with a coral reef.near the Italian island of Giglio.  The 3rd DCA dismissed the lawsuit pursuant to a motion filed by the cruise line.  The plaintiffs opposed the motion based on the fact ships owned by the Carnival subsidiary, Costa Crociere, had sailed out of Miami, FL, and 5 of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit and about 100 of the 3,200 passengers on board were U.S citizens.  Continue reading →

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Passengers enjoy cruises for many reasons that include a variety of live entertainment, recreational activities, exciting shore excursions, an abundance of good food, and lots of alcohol.  While alcohol consumption might be a featured part of any cruise for many travelers, intoxication increases a passenger’s vulnerability to hazards.  If you or a loved one is injured after selecting this form of travel, the cruise line will certainly raise alcohol use by a passenger as the cause of many accidents.  What cruise injury victims should keep in mind is that alcohol sales constitute one of the most lucrative sources of profit for cruise lines.  Our cruise accident lawyers know from experience that cruise lines often push alcohol sales at the expense of passenger safety.

In this blog, our Miami cruise injury attorneys review a recent case that examines liability of a cruise line for injuries to intoxicated passengers.  A couple traveling onboard the Carnival Dream were served 22 alcoholic drinks over a period of 12 hours.  Because the couple mostly drank Long Island iced teas, the beverages had a high alcohol content.  Evidence was introduced indicating that the evening the husband suffered his fatal fall, he was obviously intoxicated at dinner though he did not exhibit a loss of coordination or slurred speech.  Later that evening, he tumbled off a stool while sitting at the bar inside the ship’s casino.  The husband and wife purchase a final round of drinks approximately an hour after the fall in the casino.  When the wife went into a club, her husband stayed behind to smoke a cigarette.  The husband ends up heading back to his stateroom where he experienced a fatal fall from the balcony onto a lower deck. Continue reading →

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When passengers book and embark on a cruise vacation, the cruise line and ship personnel will promote a multitude of potential shore excursions.  Activities like extreme sports, climbing waterfalls, and zip lining can involve a significant risk of harm.  Our cruise ship injury lawyers find that although injuries experienced during a tour or recreational activity on land do not occur on the ship, the cruise line might be liable when it promotes or coordinates the excursion.  A recent court decision involving a lawsuit against Royal Caribbean provides a primer on the legal complexities involved in proving liability of a cruise line for injuries during a shore excursion.

In this lawsuit, which was filed in the Southern District of Florida, the complaint alleged that the tour guide directed passengers to hold hands with other hikers as they climbed Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica.  The plaintiff followed these instructions and held hands with a young girl as they made their ascent up the waterfall.  When the girl slipped and fell, the plaintiff was pulled down with her.  The complaint also alleged that Royal Caribbean had knowledge or should have known of the risk of holding hands while traversing the falls.  Since the cruise ship failed to warn of this reasonably foreseeable risk, the passenger sought to hold Royal Caribbean liable. Continue reading →

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While this blog tends to focus on cruise injury claims involving passengers, seamen employees also can pursue personal injury claims while working aboard a cruise ship.  While the language of the passenger ticket contract is used to curtail the rights of guests and tip the scales of justice toward the cruise company, certain provisions in crew member employment contracts achieve the same objective toward seamen on cruise ships.  In this blog, our experienced cruise ship injury lawyers analyze a recent court decision that addresses the right of crew members on cruise lines to seek remedies in the U.S. Federal Court System despite a conflicting arbitration clause in the crew member’s employment contract.

The arbitration clause in the case presents a common scenario for many seamen employed on cruise lines because it required that legal claims between the employee and the cruise line be litigated in a foreign location under foreign law.  Cruise lines rely on a treaty referred to as the New York Convention on the Enforcement of Foreign Arbitration Awards.  This treaty authorizes cruise lines to force employees to submit personal injury claims to arbitration when a written contract contemplates foreign performance or litigation between citizens of two different states.  However, the treaty indicates that a court of competent jurisdiction can determine if the arbitrator’s decision is unenforceable based on public policy. Continue reading →

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Our Miami Cruise Ship Injury Attorneys often find that people who are injured in falls because they trip and fall, the task of proving liability can be difficult because of the difficulty in proving the cause of the fall.  Most slip and fall and trip and fall personal injury claims require a careful investigation of the facts and circumstances because lawsuits based on this type of fall accident tend to be fact intensive.  When the fall occurs on a cruise ship because of a spilled beverage that is not cleaned up, the motion of the sea, or a bunched up carpet, these complications are exacerbated by special challenges in pursuing personal injury claims that occur on the high seas.  A lawsuit recently filed in Miami involving a trip and fall lawsuit filed against Carnival Corp. alleges the cruise company’s negligence caused the fall accident.

The complaint filed by the plaintiff alleged negligence in maintaining flooring caused the fall.  The lawsuit indicates that the passenger who filed the suit experienced physical injuries in a fall when he tripped on frayed carpet.  This lawsuit like most cruise accidents involving ships that depart out of Miami was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.  The plaintiff’s complaint filed in the lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff tripped on the poorly maintained carpet onboard the Carnival ship Imagination.  The plaintiff contended the cruise company was responsible for the injuries the plaintiff incurred because the passenger was not given an adequate warning regarding the existence of the hazardous condition.  The lawsuit, which was reported in the Florida Record, reportedly seeks compensatory damages, interests, all legal fees, and any other appropriate relief. Continue reading →

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While a cruise to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia might sound like a dream vacation, the trip became a tragedy for a grandmother who passed away in her stateroom during the cruise.  The 79-year-old seasoned cruise passenger was a grandma traveling with her daughter and grandson when she fell sick during the ten-day cruise.  The onboard doctors suggested she probably contracted the illness before boarding the ship.  According to media reports and as reported by our Cruise Ship Injury Lawyer, she was upbeat, in good health, and a veteran of seven cruises over the last decade.

After the grandma passed away, her surviving family members contended that their loved one contracted the gastroentroenteritis infection that caused her death during the cruise.  Although the cruise line vehemently denied that the elderly passenger contracted her illness onboard, the two family members that accompanied her on the cruise also contracted the illness despite not sharing her stateroom.  An autopsy had been scheduled to confirm the cause of death according to news sources. Continue reading →

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While many people have a vague notion that legal claims for damages are governed by deadlines referred to as the statute of limitations, they might not be aware of the special challenges they present in a cruise ship injury lawsuit.  Although the statute of limitations in Florida is four years from the date of injury, the deadline is much shorter in cruise injury lawsuits.  When passengers book a cruise, they often do not notice the “fine print” on the back of the ticket or receipt.  This ticket contract will typically change the statute of limitations to only a year and might even pose a notice requirement that must be fulfilled earlier than that deadline, such as within six months.  Passengers injured on a cruise need to be cognizant of this shortened deadline, as well as the importance of compliance with this timing requirement.  In this blog, our Miami cruise ship injury lawyers examine a slip and fall case that demonstrates the harsh consequences of failing to comply with the statute of limitations.

In Pettit v. Carnival Corp., a woman slipped and fell, suffering an injury while a guest on a Carnival cruise ship.  The woman was subject to a ticket contract that provided the statute of limitations was shortened to one-year from the date of the incident causing injury.  The woman filed a lawsuit in Miami-Dade County state court for personal injury approximately two weeks before the expiration of the one-year statute of limitations. Continue reading →

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Our cruise ship lawyers recognize that the challenges in pursuing legal claims for medical malpractice aboard a cruise ship can be a daunting task.  Cruise lines and ship medical personnel often structure their contractual relationships and take advantage of legal procedures and requirements to avoid liability.  In this blog, we examine an appellate decision in a medical malpractice case that left the plaintiff with essentially nowhere to pursue a lawsuit against the ship’s doctor personally.  The trial judge even observed that the doctor had engaged in “nefarious” conduct to ensure that he could not be sued in any court for his medical malpractice.

In Taylor v. Gutierrez, the plaintiff was a passenger on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas cruise ship.  The plaintiff began suffering intense abdominal pain, so she was taken to the ship’s medical facility to be examined.  The ship’s doctor diagnosed the passenger with gastritis, which is a relatively minor medical condition.  The passenger’s condition became worse, which led to her hospitalization in Mexico.  The patient subsequently discovered that her abdominal infection had been misdiagnosed.  Her worsened condition necessitated abdominal surgery to treat multiple organ failures caused by sepsis.  She also experienced a cerebral hemorrhage. Continue reading →

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