Last month, South Florida news outlet WSVN reported that a teenage boy had decided to file a lawsuit against Carnival Cruise lines, alleging that the boy had been beaten by a security guard while aboard the Carnival Imagination in June. Our Florida cruise ship attorneys have been following this case closely.
According to the teen, who was fourteen at the time of the incident, he tried sneak into the ship’s nightclub, but was spotted and ran out by the security guard. The teen alleges that the guard chased him into a nearby stairwell, where the guard grabbed him and slammed him into a wall. The teen claims the security guard let go when two passengers began taking photos and intervened. The guard then escorted the teen to his parents’ cabin. The boy’s family alleges that he suffered a bulging disk in his neck as a result of the assault and is now under the care of a neurologist and psychologist. The family maintains that they intend on filing a lawsuit and are calling for the security guard to be fired so as to prevent a similar incident from happening to other passengers.
As this blog has discussed before, preventing and controlling crime on board ships is one of the biggest problems that the cruise ship industry faces. Every year, dozens of cruise ship passengers fall victim to physical and sexual assaults onboard cruise ships at the hands of crew members and other passengers.
According to FBI statistics, in 2007, there were 207 criminal incidents reported by the U.S. Coast Guard and Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) that year. However, as this blog has mentioned, that number is likely much higher. At the time the report was issued in 2007, there had already been 41 reported instances of sexual assault accounting for 55 percent of the violent crimes that were reported. Further, there were a reported thirteen assaults resulting in “serious bodily injury.”
What makes this case so much more disturbing is the fact that the alleged offender is a security guard tasked with ensuring the safety of the ship’s passengers. Cruise companies have a duty to provide a safe environment for their passengers, and the failure to do so may entitle the injured party to compensation.
However, a different standard applies to criminal acts committed against passengers by cruise ship employees. Under general maritime law, cruise liners are strictly liable for the intentional, wrongful, and criminal acts of their employees, such as in a rape or sexual assault. This means that a cruise ship company may be found liable for the criminal acts of its employees without a finding of fault, such as negligence.
The Florida cruise ship accident attorneys of Gerson and Schwartz, P.A. are licensed to practice law in all of Florida’s state and federal courts, and have been representing the victims of cruise ship crimes for over four decades. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a crime while on a cruise ship, contact the attorneys of Gerson and Schwartz, P.A. today.