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Miami Cruise Ship Accident Attorneys Discuss Rape and Sexual Assault Aboard Cruise Ships

Last September, an ex-cruise ship employee pleaded guilty in a Miami federal courtroom to attacking, raping, and attempting to throw overboard a cruise line passenger because he believed the passenger had insulted his mother.  The victim was a 31 year old woman who was attacked while she slept aboard the cruise ship.  The woman reported to authorities that she lost consciousness several times while being attacked.  The brutal attack included punching, strangulation, and an attempt at forcible sex.  She was so severely injured that she had to be transported by helicopter to a South Florida hospital.

Cruise Ship Rape and Assault Statistics

            It is hard to compile accurate data as to the true number of rapes or sexual assaults that occur on cruise lines.  The most accurate numbers available suggests that there are about two reports of sexual assaults or rapes for every one hundred thousand passengers aboard commercial cruise lines.  During a five year period, this amounted to about 170 sexual assaults and rapes, most of which were not prosecuted and no one ever convicted.  While this number does not sound high, when you consider how briefly passengers are aboard cruise ships, it is alarming.

Rape and Sexual Assault Can Change a Victim’s Life

            Experiencing sexual assault or rape can result in lasting physical and emotional trauma.  Victims often report long term anxiety, depression, and fear.  Significant counseling and at times medication will often be necessary for the rape or sexual assault victim to return to a healthy mental state.  The trauma of their cruise ship experience will never be forgotten.

Cruise Ship Liability for Rape or Sexual Assault

            When rape or sexual assault occurs on a cruise line, the crewmember will likely face criminal charges.  In addition, civil liability for the incident may attach to the cruise line.  Most cruise ship lawsuits must be filed in Federal Court in Florida.  This is mandated by the language found on the cruise ticket.

In Florida, several major rape and sexual assault cases have been decided.  The court has previously held that when a cruise ship worker rapes or assaults a passenger, the cruise line will be strictly liable for the actions of the employee, whether or not it was conducted within the course and scope of employment.  This means, in layman’s terms, that the cruise line will be liable when a crew member rapes or sexually assaults a passenger.  However, comparative negligence principals will apply.  This can, in rare instances, be used to reduce a plaintiff’s damages.

Cruising is supposed to be fun and enjoyable, but sadly, for some passengers, cruises can go terribly wrong.  If you are injured on a cruise ship, contact an attorney as soon as possible to protect your legal rights.

Greenberg Stone and Urbano:  Experienced and Effective Representation for Cruise Ship Accident Victims

            If you have experienced any sort of injury aboard a cruise ship, the Miami Cruise Ship Accident Attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano are here to help.  With over 130 collective years of experience, our attorneys understand what it takes to mount a successful cruise ship accident case.  Our firm will aggressively seek to uncover all evidence of negligence and liability on the part of the cruise line.  Our attorneys will then zealously fight to see that you obtain compensation for all of your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Our unmatched legal excellence has earned us an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

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