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When passengers book and embark on a cruise vacation, the cruise line and ship personnel will promote a multitude of potential shore excursions.  Activities like extreme sports, climbing waterfalls, and zip lining can involve a significant risk of harm.  Our cruise ship injury lawyers find that although injuries experienced during a tour or recreational activity on land do not occur on the ship, the cruise line might be liable when it promotes or coordinates the excursion.  A recent court decision involving a lawsuit against Royal Caribbean provides a primer on the legal complexities involved in proving liability of a cruise line for injuries during a shore excursion.

In this lawsuit, which was filed in the Southern District of Florida, the complaint alleged that the tour guide directed passengers to hold hands with other hikers as they climbed Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica.  The plaintiff followed these instructions and held hands with a young girl as they made their ascent up the waterfall.  When the girl slipped and fell, the plaintiff was pulled down with her.  The complaint also alleged that Royal Caribbean had knowledge or should have known of the risk of holding hands while traversing the falls.  Since the cruise ship failed to warn of this reasonably foreseeable risk, the passenger sought to hold Royal Caribbean liable. Continue reading →

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While this blog tends to focus on cruise injury claims involving passengers, seamen employees also can pursue personal injury claims while working aboard a cruise ship.  While the language of the passenger ticket contract is used to curtail the rights of guests and tip the scales of justice toward the cruise company, certain provisions in crew member employment contracts achieve the same objective toward seamen on cruise ships.  In this blog, our experienced cruise ship injury lawyers analyze a recent court decision that addresses the right of crew members on cruise lines to seek remedies in the U.S. Federal Court System despite a conflicting arbitration clause in the crew member’s employment contract.

The arbitration clause in the case presents a common scenario for many seamen employed on cruise lines because it required that legal claims between the employee and the cruise line be litigated in a foreign location under foreign law.  Cruise lines rely on a treaty referred to as the New York Convention on the Enforcement of Foreign Arbitration Awards.  This treaty authorizes cruise lines to force employees to submit personal injury claims to arbitration when a written contract contemplates foreign performance or litigation between citizens of two different states.  However, the treaty indicates that a court of competent jurisdiction can determine if the arbitrator’s decision is unenforceable based on public policy. 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 a cruise to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia might sound like a dream vacation, the trip became a tragedy for a grandmother who passed away in her stateroom during the cruise.  The 79-year-old seasoned cruise passenger was a grandma traveling with her daughter and grandson when she fell sick during the ten-day cruise.  The onboard doctors suggested she probably contracted the illness before boarding the ship.  According to media reports and as reported by our Cruise Ship Injury Lawyer, she was upbeat, in good health, and a veteran of seven cruises over the last decade.

After the grandma passed away, her surviving family members contended that their loved one contracted the gastroentroenteritis infection that caused her death during the cruise.  Although the cruise line vehemently denied that the elderly passenger contracted her illness onboard, the two family members that accompanied her on the cruise also contracted the illness despite not sharing her stateroom.  An autopsy had been scheduled to confirm the cause of death according to news sources. 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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Our cruise ship lawyers recognize that the challenges in pursuing legal claims for medical malpractice aboard a cruise ship can be a daunting task.  Cruise lines and ship medical personnel often structure their contractual relationships and take advantage of legal procedures and requirements to avoid liability.  In this blog, we examine an appellate decision in a medical malpractice case that left the plaintiff with essentially nowhere to pursue a lawsuit against the ship’s doctor personally.  The trial judge even observed that the doctor had engaged in “nefarious” conduct to ensure that he could not be sued in any court for his medical malpractice.

In Taylor v. Gutierrez, the plaintiff was a passenger on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas cruise ship.  The plaintiff began suffering intense abdominal pain, so she was taken to the ship’s medical facility to be examined.  The ship’s doctor diagnosed the passenger with gastritis, which is a relatively minor medical condition.  The passenger’s condition became worse, which led to her hospitalization in Mexico.  The patient subsequently discovered that her abdominal infection had been misdiagnosed.  Her worsened condition necessitated abdominal surgery to treat multiple organ failures caused by sepsis.  She also experienced a cerebral hemorrhage. Continue reading →

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While most people would not elect a cruise as their vacation of choice without the confidence that the vessel has adequate medical facilities, a qualified doctor, and other medical personnel, a recent media report reveals the presence of medical professionals might create a false of security.  ABC News recently reported that a nurse pretending to be a doctor worked for ten months on the Carnival-owned cruise ship Aidavita.  During his time as a bogus doctor on the ship, the nurse administered an astounding 1,300 treatments to passengers.  The fake physician also administered infusions or injections on 21 occasions during his time onboard the ship.  In this blog, our cruise ship injury lawyers examine the potential liability of the cruise ship for medical malpractice if the phony doctor harmed patients.

According to media reports, the doctor had a fake medical license that he used to obtain his positions as a doctor.  The cruise company apparently took the nurse’s word that he was a physician rather than conducting a background check to confirm the doctor’s credentials and standing in the medical community.  The failure to verify the phony doctor’s professional licensing is particularly troublesome because this can be done in a couple of minutes through an online database in most states.  In other words, the most basic form of due diligence by the cruise company would have protected passengers from being treated by the fake doctor. 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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When you saved and planned to take your family on a cruise vacation, you probably anticipated great food in massive quantities, unlimited forms of recreation, and top-notch entertainment.  You probably did not contemplate experiencing serious injury because of the negligent conduct of a crewmember and the cruise line.  Although the vast majority of cruise passengers escape from their time on the high seas without incident, many people suffer serious injuries each year.  As you prepared for your cruise, you probably did not seek legal advice because you did not realize you agreed to a long, detailed contract with many unfavorable provisions.  Many passengers never bother to look at the back of their cruise ticket while those that do rarely try to wade through the dense legalese.  Our Miami cruise accident attorneys have highlighted several common provisions in cruise contracts that merit careful consideration by travelers.

Horrible Medical Care Is Not Our Problem: While the medical care on most cruise ships is perfectly acceptable, most passenger contracts include a provision stating the cruise line is not responsible for medical malpractice committed by its physicians, nurses, and other medical personnel, or staff.  The language is designed to constitute a waiver of liability of the cruise ship when substandard medical care causes serious injury or wrongful death.  The cruise line also will claim that medical personnel, who make errors or omissions, are independent contractors rather than employees to evade liability.  An experienced Florida personal injury lawyer understands that being relegated to suing the physician, who often will not be a citizen of the U.S. or subject to jurisdiction in the U.S., will be less desirable because the doctor will have far less insurance coverage than the cruise line.  Our lawyers have the experience and expertise to avoid these potential legal pitfalls. Continue reading →

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When parents decide to take their family on a cruise, they do not anticipate their children will be exposed to sexual abuse.  Despite these expectations, you might not learn about such incidents from the cruise company when they occur.  In late January, a cruise employee allegedly enticed a teenage girl into performing a sex act.  According to a report by Local 10 News, a waiter aboard the Holland America cruise ship, MS Veendam, was arrested after he had a 15-year-old girl perform a sex act. The employee was charged with a lewd and lascivious act involving a minor.  The news source learned of the incident and reported it to the public.  The tactics used by the cruise line to avoid disclosing the incident focus attention on the difficult task of determining the risk of being the victim of a crime when deciding to take a cruise.

Our Miami cruise accident lawyers at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano know that most people that schedule a vacation on a cruise anticipate that the cruise company will implement adequate security measures.  Passengers also might be inclined to assume that the cruise line will elect to work with tour and recreation providers that screen their employees and adopt appropriate security practices.  Although these beliefs might seem reasonable, people are victims of crimes like rape, sexual assault, sexual molestation and other offenses on cruises each year.  Because certain cruise lines might be lax regarding security measures and protocols, travelers should investigate the security record of a cruise line before making a choice.  This task is not as easy as it might seem because of crime reporting practices in the cruise industry. Continue reading →

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