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

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 and Urbano 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:

• There was an actual breach of duty;
• The plaintiff was harmed;
• The breach of duty was the direct cause of the harm; and • The plaintiff suffered damages.

If a passenger suffers harm as the result of a sexual assault, the victim may bring a personal injury lawsuit against the vessel itself, any company that may have chartered the ship, the company that operates the ship, and/or the company that sold passage on the ship. In the case of assault, the victim also may bring a suit against the perpetrator.
As part of their duty to their passengers, cruise ships must provide a safe environment in which their guests may enjoy the voyage. There are industry standards established for cruise lines to create an atmosphere in which passengers can engage in reasonable behaviors without fear of harm. These obligations include:

• Performing due diligence on any member of the crew or staff, including background checks before hiring these individuals;

• Routine monitoring and review of the activities of everyone onboard the ship, including both crew members and passengers;

• Employing a sufficient number of security personnel in relation to the numbers of guests present on the ship at any time;

• Installing security cameras in the appropriate areas.

• Lighting public areas in the commonly-accepted manner; and
• Following other industry-accepted protocols.

If the cruise ship breaches its duty with respect any of these responsibilities and that breach results in the assault of a passenger, then the various entities associated with the cruise ship may be liable for the victim’s damages.

If you are the victim of assault on a cruise ship, the attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano can help you get the justice that you deserve. There are many nuances with cruise ship litigation, including possible restrictions on the time with which you can file a lawsuit. It is imperative to reach out to a cruise ship accident attorney in Miami as soon as possible.

We will provide you with a free consultation so that we can learn your story and provide you with advice about your legal options. Our attorneys have brought successful legal actions against cruise ships and the companies that run them in Miami and the greater South Florida for decades. Please contact us through our website at or call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 to set up a Free Consultation.

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