Articles Posted in Premises Liability

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The drowning of a passenger who fell from the Carnival Liberty cruise ship last month serves as a reminder that improved safety measures are necessary to prevent the tragic death of those who fall overboard.  The passenger disappeared from the ninth deck of a vessel in the Bahamas according to the Coast Guard.  While it might be comforting to assume that this type of incident almost never occurs, approximately 290 people have fallen overboard since 2000 reports cruise expert Dr. Ross Klein.  Many of these incidents could be prevented with the exercise of due care by the cruise line and ship personnel.  In this blog, our cruise injury lawyers review new legislation designed to improve cruise safety and mitigate the risk of passengers drowning after accidentally falling from a cruise ship.

While Congress passed the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Actin in 2010 (CVSSA), which mandated various safety features including the implementation of automatic passenger overboard systems, the cruise industry has been slow to adopt this technology.  Many cruise lines continue to rely on traditional safeguards like railings, reports from the crew and family members, and unmonitored surveillance systems.  These solutions cause delays in discovering a passenger in the water so that the passenger is washed out to sea, drowns or suffer hypothermia before a search and rescue attempt can be initiated. Continue reading →

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While cruises offer a litany of fun and recreational activities, a certain amount of risk of injury accompanies some of these activities.  This risk increases significantly when cruise lines and companies with whom they arrange excursions fail to exercise reasonable care for the safety of passengers.  Cruise lines attempt to erect obstacles to liability that include requiring passengers to sign waivers of liability.  In this blog, our Miami cruise accident attorneys review an appellate court decision permitting a lawsuit to move forward despite the existence of a waiver executed by the plaintiff in favor of the cruise company.

In the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida considered the enforceability of a waiver in a case in which the plaintiff was injured in a jet ski accident during a cruise.  The plaintiff and her companion were passengers on the Royal Caribbean’s Monarch of the Seas.  During the cruise, the couple took part in a jet ski tour in which the participants were supposed to follow in a line one behind the other.  A tour guide was located at the front of the line of jet skis while a second tour guide traveled alongside the group to keep the jet ski riders adequately spaced.  The jet ski tour departed from Coco Cay Island, which is Royal Caribbean’s private island in the Bahamas. Continue reading →

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Our first blog post in this two-part series analyzed the barriers to legal compensation in slip and fall lawsuits against cruise companies based on the ticket contract.  While all plaintiffs injured in falls must overcome considerable obstacles, cruise passengers face an even tougher road.  Whether the fall occurs at sea during a cruise under federal maritime law or in a Miami grocery store under Florida state law, the knowledge of the defendant constitutes one of the most critical issues in determining the outcome.  In this post, our Miami cruise injury lawyers examine the challenges that must be navigated even after the obstacles created by the restrictive language in the passenger ticket contract have been successfully handled.

The cruise line will not be liable for a slip and fall accident caused by a hazard on board ship unless the cruise line knew or should have known of the existence of the unsafe condition.  While the specific defense strategies a cruise line will employ will depend on the specific facts and circumstances of the case, one of the most common tactics used by cruise companies is to claim it lacked the requisite knowledge of the hazard.  Even if the cruise company lacks actual knowledge, constructive knowledge is sufficient.  Constructive knowledge essentially means that the cruise line should have known of the hazard with the exercise of reasonable care.

Although constructive knowledge can be established through multiple approaches, establishing the hazard was present for a long enough time that it should have been discovered and made safe will be the most common approach.  A way that the timeline for the creation or existence of a hazard can be proven involves the use of incident reports from prior slip and falls caused by the same hazard. Continue reading →

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Florida law places significant roadblocks in the path of individuals who are injured in falls on the premises of a resort, hotel, or other commercial business catering to the public.  Maritime and admiralty law, which governs slip and fall and trip and fall accidents at sea, places special barriers in the path of injury victims who experience such injuries while on a cruise.  When these barriers are combined, the prospects of success without a knowledgeable Miami cruise injury lawyer with a track record of successful judgments and verdicts against the major cruise lines are bleak.  In this two-part blog post, we examine some of the barriers that cruise victims must overcome when pursuing a slip and fall accident claim against a cruise company in the context of examples from actual cases.

Passenger Ticket Contract Restrictions on Passenger Rights

The barriers to pursuing a fall-related injury claim against a cruise line begin when passengers purchase their ticket.  For the typical passenger, their ticket is simply a way to establish they have paid for the right to take part in the cruise.  Few travelers take the time to carefully study the contract on the back of the ticket.  However, the ticket contract constitutes a powerful tool used to shield cruise companies from liability and to induce passengers to limit or extinguish valuable rights.  Key provisions in the passenger ticket contract that slip and fall victims must be aware of include: Continue reading →

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Although cruises offer a wide range of activities and entertainment, this type of vacation sometimes ends abruptly because of unsafe conditions, negligent maintenance, or careless crewmembers.  Staircases and steps constitute one of the most common locations of serious injury on cruise ships.  While a negligently maintained step can cause a tumble that results in a broken leg, broken arm, back injury, traumatic brain injury (TBI), or a broken wrist, our experienced Miami cruise injury attorney are intimately familiar with the difficult challenge of prevailing in these cruise injury lawsuits.

In this blog post, our Miami cruise ship slip and fall lawyers review a recent case demonstrating the challenge of winning a lawsuit involving a passenger’s fall on cruise ship steps.  In Taiariol v. MSC Crociere S.A., the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the cruise line after she slipped and fell on a step. The lawsuit alleged that the step was in a “dangerous, slippery and unsafe condition.”  This claim was based on deformation of the protective nosing on a step.  This part of a step common in cruise ships often is comprised of a metal wear strip with a rubber strip that is installed on the exterior lip of a step to decrease wear and tear.  The nosing will often encase lights (referred to as tivoli lighting).  When the nosing becomes loose or malformed from foot traffic, it can create a significant hazard to those using the stairs. 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 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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If you have been on a cruise vacation involving any of the major cruise lines, you know that many of the recreational activities, tours, and shopping trips occur during excursions.  Despite the fact that you might have heard of an excursion from a crew member and signed up aboard the ship, cruise lines will work diligently to avoid liability for accidents that occur because of negligence during these activities.  The ticket contract that you did not sign, and almost certainly did not read closely, will include a provision expressly indicating that the cruise company is not liable for injuries caused by the negligence of the individuals and companies sponsoring or hosting these activities.  In this blog post, our cruise injury lawyers examine a recent lawsuit filed against Royal Caribbean cruise lines for injuries sustained by passengers during an auto accident while on a shore excursion.

According to the Miami Herald report, the crash caused injury to more than a dozen passengers and the death of another passenger.  The passengers were injured while riding on a tour bus in Jamaica that collided with a truck on its way back to the Royal Caribbean International’s Independence of the Seas.  The news report indicated that passengers of cruise ships that participate in such excursions are routinely “shocked” by the erratic driving of the Jamaican tour drivers on narrow winding roads.  Continue reading →

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This question recently arose in the case of Williams v. Carnival Corporation. The case is pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami. Cruise ship attorneys at Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano have a combined 130 years of litigation experience and have encountered cases like the Williams case. Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano understand the maritime laws that apply to injuries suffered by passengers on cruise ships.

In the Williams case, a passenger suffered injuries after falling ill on board. The onboard physician treated the sickened passenger. He suffered “debilitating neurological damage” from medical treatment that fell below the standard of care a doctor owes a patient.  Williams’ neurological damage is permanent.

Williams and his wife filed a claim for damages in court. They alleged that the physician and the cruise line committed medical malpractice when they negligently treated Williams. Williams’ wife filed a claim for loss of consortium.  The cruise line asked the judge to dismiss the case because maritime law, which must be applied in this circumstance because the boat was at sea, does not allow for spouses to file a loss of consortium claim. The judge agreed with the cruise line and dismissed the count of the complaint alleging a loss of consortium. Continue reading →

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Cruise ship attorneys at Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano represent numerous clients who were injured while cruising. It is unfortunate that people get hurt while on vacation, but it does happen. If that unfortunate circumstance happens to you or someone you love, we can help you recover for your damages, including past medical bills and future medical bills, lost wages, and loss of future earnings. Sometimes, the cruise lines have a valid defense to claims brought against them by injured passengers.

At Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, we have seen cases like the matter recently decided in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.  In the case of Salazar v. Norweigein Cruise Line Holdings, the plaintiff in the case fell and injured himself on a dance floor. The plaintiff alleged that he fell on a spilled drink as he approached the disc jockey booth. The plaintiff admitted to having a few alcoholic beverages that evening. In fact, many people on the dance floor had drinks in their hands. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant cruise line was negligent by failing to clean the dance floor and that failure caused injuries to the plaintiff. The defendant cruise line argued that they did not have notice of the spilled drink and therefore was not negligent by failing to clean the dance floor. Continue reading →

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