Concerns over safety onboard cruise ships have prompted the industry to reinforce safety measures in the wake of the “Costa Concordia” disaster last January off the coast of Italy. According to foxnews.com, the new initiatives are not limited to adding more life jackets and placing them near the muster stations. Anyone that has taken a cruise knows that these stations are the places where passengers wearing their life jackets are supposed to gather in case of disaster. Yet, as happened onboard the Costa Concordia after the accident, the ship listed so fast that many passengers simply could not reach their cabins and collect their jackets.
Crime Onboard Cruise Ships
When taking a cruise vacation, some people tend to forget that a cruise ship is like a small city where you find all kinds of people, good and not so good. Cruise lines do not conduct criminal backgrounds check on passengers before selling them a ticket. So, yes, the name of the nice looking older gentleman sitting next to you at the dinner table could…be Hannibal Lecter!
Moreover, danger may come not only from other passengers, but from crewmembers as well. Although cruise lines are supposed to conduct criminal background checks on their employees, most of these crewmembers come from countries where they do not keep as complete and thorough records as we do in the United States, so, unavoidably, some not so good people may be recruited.
Consequently, passengers have to be aware of their surroundings much like they would on land. For example, although reposted sexual assaults have gone down from 28 in 2010 to 13 in 2011 and only one so far in 2012, experts still recommend that people be “street smart” when going about in a cruise ship. Never, they say, ride alone in an elevator or go by yourself to one of the many public restrooms available onboard, especially late at night. Also, don’t leave your small children alone in the cabin: cases of cabin attendants using their master keys to sneak in and molest the children have been reported…
One new measure is the passing by Congress of the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010, which requires cruise lines to report to the FBI all serious crimes and missing persons when they involve United States citizens. Prior to this law, cruise lines would voluntarily provide crime statistics to the FBI, but the information was not publicly reported. Now all those crimes are reported online.
Typical Accidents and Injuries Befalling Cruise Ship Passengers
Assaults or sinking ships are not the only kinds of dangers faced by passengers onboard cruise ships. Even when the ship makes it safely to port, people get injured as a result of slip and falls and other accidents they suffer while participating in any of the following activities:
- Jet skiing
- ZIP lining
- While on excursions on bicycles, on motor bikes or on 4X4 vehicles like Jeeps, etc.
The Lawyers of Greenberg Stone and Urbano Can Help
Typically, the cruise line will try to “low ball” an injured passenger into accepting a refund as compensation for his or her injuries. Don’t let the cruise line take advantage of your situation and pressure you into accepting their low offer. If you or a loved one have suffered serious injuries or death while on a cruise vacation or have been the victims of serious crimes while taking a cruise, the cruise line may owe you financial compensation. However, unless you immediately hire a law firm with experience handling these matters, they may never compensate you. The Cruise Lines Injury Lawyers of Greenberg Stone and Urbano have handled many such cases against these cruise lines over the years and can help you obtain the compensation you may deserve.
Please note that these cases are usually governed by the conditions established in the tickets, which typically establish a six month period prior to filing suit where you must give written notice of the claim to the company (among other requirements) and limit your ability to sue to one year from the date of the accident.
Consequently, it is essential to hire a lawyer as soon as possible. If you are concerned for the costs, please note that a Florida lawyer will not charge you for the initial consultation and will work your case on a contingency fee basis, which means that you will not be charged at all, unless the lawyer wins your case. If you or a close relative suffered an injury while on a cruise, we urge to contact a law firm with experience handling cruise ship injury cases. Visit our website to learn more about our firm and contact us today.