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.
The Most Common Types of Cruise Ship Injuries
With thousands of cruise ship vacations each year, accidents are bound to happen. With this in mind, the most common types of injuries are as follows:
• Slip and falls • Water-related accidents (in the pool or on a waterslide)
• Recreation-related accidents
• Injuries sustained during on-shore excursions • Dock injuries • Medical malpractice or negligence • Illness from spoiled food or unsanitary conditions • Falling overboard
Restrictions on Cruise Ship Injury Lawsuits
What you may not know is that that the ticket you receive to embark on your journey contains contractual language outlining the ship’s scope of liability regarding the safety and well-being of its passengers. While each cruise ship company’s terms may vary, they generally state that there are a number of requirements that must be satisfied before a lawsuit can be filed against them. For example, most cruise lines state that the cruise line must be put on written notice of a claim withih 6 months of the date of injury and that suit must be filed within an enumerated time period, typically one year from the date of the incident. Moreover, cruise ship companies have recently begun to add various terms into their tickets and contracts that limit where a claim can be filed, with many naming Miami as having jurisdiction over the no matter where on the planet the ship is sailing or the incident occurred. That is why it is important to read all of the documentation you receive from the cruise line before you actually begin your journey. It is also essential that you speak with a Miami Cruise Ship Accident Attorney if you were injured while aboard a vessel or during an excursion. Only an attorney experienced in these unique types of cases knows exactly how to handle these claims and also, understands the scope of your rights and responsibilities. If you were injured while on a cruise ship, contact a qualified attorney now to help you fight for your rights.
Contact an Experienced Miami Cruise Ship Accident Lawyer Today!
The Miami Cruise Ship Accident Attorneys of Greenberg Stone and Urbano have the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully litigate your cruise ship personal injury case. We are an “AV” rated firm by Martindale Hubbell, have been deemed “Superlawyers”, and are also invited members of Primerus, an international society of leading law firms. With more than 100 collective years of legal experience fighting for the rights of clients, our lawyers are among those voted as South Florida’s top-rated lawyers by the Miami Herald. Call (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 today for an evaluation of your case or go to our website for more information.