Maritime & Cruise Ship Accident Lawyer Blog

Articles Posted in Cruise Ship Accidents/Incidents


You take your family on a cruise featuring a huge Olympic-sized swimming pool on deck. Your kids are excited to get a chance to enjoy the water while on the ship. However, when you arrive at the pool you notice something quite troubling – no lifeguards. For our team of cruise ship injury lawyers, not having a lifeguard on duty is simply unacceptable and extremely dangerous.

As of the date of this posting, only Disney requires lifeguards to be on duty at swimming pools onboard cruise ships. You read that correctly – out of all the various cruise lines (e.g., Carnival, Viking, Winstar, etc.) only one liner requires on-duty lifeguards. The other cruise lines appear to have decided that since lifeguards are not legally required, they do not want to invest in this important safety precaution.

There does not appear to be any other legitimate reason for not having at least one lifeguard on duty at swimming pools on cruise ships, especially with so many ships being occupied by families with young children able to access the pools. The cruise ship industry has grown precipitously with mega cruise ships featuring massive pools utilized by hundreds of passengers. These cruise liners must understand that a drowning can occur in the blink of an eye. In fact, in many instances, a drowning situation may not even be recognized by a passenger until it is too late.

Congress Needs to Take Action

If cruise liners continue to throw caution to the wind and leave pools open for passenger use without any lifeguards present, Congress needs to get involved and pass a safety regulation. Make no mistake about it, the cruise ship industry would likely fight any regulatory action. This may shock you, but Congress actually had to step in and require that cruise liners report crimes that took place aboard their ships. Prior to that that regulation, it was voluntary and the data was sparse regarding the types and frequency of crimes that occurred on cruise ships. The same data is needed for drowning incidents aboard cruise ships.

With Great Profit Comes Great Responsibility

Cruise ships are reaping huge profiting by having more elaborate ships featuring major swimming attractions such as Olympic-sized pools, wave machines, etc. With the money they are bringing in, they should invest in having at least one, if not more, lifeguard on duty. It could actually help save them money by reducing the number of drowning incidents, which may thereby reduce potential litigation and medical costs.

Contact an Experienced Cruise Ship Injury Law Firm Today

As it stands today, the only way cruise ship companies are going to get the message about the importance of lifeguards is through the courts. If a loved one drowned or suffered a permanent injury after being deprived of oxygen while underwater in a cruise ship pool, contact our maritime law firm today. The cruise ship accident attorneys at Gerson and Schwartz, PA are here to help. We are licensed to practice law in all Florida state and federal courts and are affiliated with lawyers and firms in jurisdictions throughout the United States.


A 24-year-old woman fell and suffered serious head trauma while aboard a Carnival Victory cruise ship. News reports indicate that she is now fighting for her life and may be paralyzed unable to ever walk again. Our team of Miami cruise ship injury lawyers are shocked and saddened by this news report. It begs the question – could this traumatic injury have been prevented?

The details about what exactly caused the passenger to fall on the cruise ship remains a mystery, as of the date of this posting. However, what we do know is shocking. The young woman reportedly hit her head hard, but was not taken off the cruise ship through medevac to the hospital for six to eight hours, according to In that six-to-eight hour delay, she suffered multiple strokes.

A delay of that length is wholly unacceptable. Why she was not medevacced immediately upon

discovering her head injury defies logic and common sense. The family of this young woman needs to investigate what exactly happened and who dropped the ball. Delaying treatment for someone with a potential traumatic brain injury only exacerbates the harm, as evident by the fact that this young victim suffered numerous strokes during the waiting period. There is a legitimate question as to whether her extensive injuries were caused by the fall itself or by the unacceptable delay in treatment.

What the Family Must Do Next

If the family of this young woman considers legal action against Carnival, they have some preliminary hurdles they must got through. They will need to send written notice to Carnival alerting them of their intent to file a personal injury claim, in accordance with the time limitations likely stated in small print on the back of the young woman’s Carnival cruise line ticket. Consulting with a cruise ship injury law firm would make sense at this phase since an experienced cruise ship accident attorney can help guide you through the complicated maze of laws and regulations governing cruise ship injuries.

Along with the notice, the family needs to get the names of cruise ship personnel who learned of the young woman’s injury and who made the decision to delay requesting a medevac. The family also needs to request a copy of any documents that were filled out, like an incident report.

Any photos and/or video footage of the accident scene should be collected, as well. News reports indicate that the young woman was accompanied by her boyfriend on the cruise. If he has any photos or video, he needs to turn them over to the family right away.

Once these steps are taken, legal action must be pursued sooner rather than later since there is usually a shorter statute of limitations associated with civil claims filed against cruise lines.

Hire an Experienced Miami Cruise Ship Injury Law Firm Today

As you can see, taking legal action against a cruise line is far more complex when compared to an auto accident claim, motorcycle accident claim, or other land-based accident claim. You need to seriously consider contacting an experienced maritime attorney who understands the complex laws associated with these types of claims. That is where Gerson and Schwartz, PA come in. They know how to handle these cases and offer free, confidential consultations.



Cruise liners spend millions of dollars on advertising aimed at the “passenger experience” and portraying the cruise experience as one where your enjoyment and safety are paramount. What they do not tell you is the lengths to which they have gone to protect themselves from potential civil liability if an accident, attack, or other terrible incident occurs on their ship. If you or a loved one is seriously hurt on a cruise, our team of Miami cruise ship injury lawyers has some sobering news: The fine print hidden on the back of a cruise ticket, written in such small font so as to avoid practically anyone’s notice, protects most cruise liners from responsibility for their carelessness.

Limitations on Your Seventh Amendment Right to a Jury Trial

When you purchase a cruise line ticket, you are agreeing, probably unknowingly, to sacrifice your right to pursue punitive damages or to claim compensation for emotional distress against the cruise liner for the injuries or the death of a loved one. Furthermore, most cruise line tickets include an arbitration clause. This clause limits the right of passengers to file a civil claim in a court of law (in dereliction to the Seventh Amendment of the U.S. Constitution) and have their case heard before a jury, in certain circumstances. Another abuse of legal chicanery are forum-shifting clauses that drastically limit where a cruise ship injury or wrongful death suit against the cruise line can be filed (e.g., some forum shifting clauses require you to file suit in a foreign country). These clauses are intentional hurdles put in place to stifle anyone from seeking significant restitution through the civil justice system.

Arbitration Clauses – How are They Legal?

In 1925, the Federal Arbitration Act was signed into law which forces courts at every level to enforce the arbitration accords that many businesses, including cruise operators, have utilized in numerous mundane contracts. It is no surprise that businesses that include these clauses in their contracts win over 95 percent of arbitration. Yes, you read that correctly. A business has a significant advantage over you in an arbitration setting. Why? Because the business has a say in selecting the arbitrator who will hear the dispute and routinely picks the one with a track record of deciding in favor of the business. For example, Carnival Cruise Lines has their legal team participate in hundreds of arbitrations per year. You, on the other hand, will probably participate in an arbitration just once in your entire life (hopefully). Common sense dictates that a professional arbitrator will have a financial bias towards favoring the cruise line since they want to generate more business. An arbitrator who decides in favor of the passenger probably will not get hired again by Carnival or any of the other big cruise lines.

Other Harsh Limitations on Your Right to Civil Restitution

Many cruise liners require injured passengers to notify them within six months of the injury of their intention to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against the liner. Even if you meet this strict notice requirement, you are then required, according to the terms of the contract included with the ticket, to file the suit in a court selected by the cruise line within one year.

Time to Contact an Experienced Cruise Ship Injury Lawyer Today

As you can see, the decks are stacked against you when it comes to taking legal action against a cruise line. That is why you should not take them on alone. The cruise ship accident attorneys at Gerson and Schwartz, PA are here to help. The lawyers at this firm are licensed to practice law in all Florida state and federal courts and are affiliated with other lawyers in numerous jurisdictions throughout the U.S. and overseas. Contact the office today to set up a free, confidential consultation.

DSC06923Recently, a passenger sued Carnival Cruise ship on account of suffering a sexual assault by an unidentified individual while using the ladies’ restroom in the ship and alleged that, in spite of reporting the incident to the support staff on the same day, no active measure was taken by the cruise ship crew or personnel. Our team of Miami cruise ship lawyers are not surprised. This brings to light the fact that sexual assaults on cruise ships are not uncommon at all.

What to Do if You are Sexually Assaulted on a Cruise Ship

If you and/or the perpetrator of a sexual assault is an American national and the ship sails from or to a U.S. port, then the FBI will have jurisdiction over the case. In other circumstances, it is more complicated to determine which agency—or even which country—has jurisdiction. The location of the vessel, the nationality of the perpetrator or victim, ownership of the vessel, the points of embarkation and debarkation, and the country in which the vessel is flagged may all have an effect on jurisdiction.

If you ever happen to experience sexual assault on a cruise ship:

  • You may wish to seek medical attention to treat any possible injuries and to check for injuries you may not be able to see. If you are at sea, you can receive care from the ship’s medical facilities. If you are shore side, visit the nearest emergency room or hospital.
  • You have the right to confidentiality when you request and receive support services. Any information you provide to medical staff, counselors, and other support staff while receiving services after a sexual assault must remain confidential. This includes information disclosed during a sexual assault forensic exam and any other support services available.
  • You have the right to a sexual assault forensic exam to collect DNA evidence that may help prosecute the perpetrator. If you wish to have an exam performed, try to avoid showering, changing your clothes, or cleaning the area where the assault occurred.
  • If you are outside the U.S., you can find support from the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you are visiting. Consular officers are available for emergency assistance 24/7. They can connect you with a variety of resources to help, wherever you are. They do not provide direct legal counsel.
  • You can report the crime to the FBI. If you are on board the ship when the crime occurs, contact the FBI and U.S. Coast Guard about the crime to receive advice on how to proceed. You can reach the FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C at 202.324.3000.
  • You can report the crime on board. If the crime occurred on board the ship, you can report the incident to a cruise ship security officer as soon as possible. You have the right to insist that the scene of the crime be secured until law enforcement officials arrive. It may be helpful to write down the names and contact information of any individuals, both crew members and passengers, who witnessed or were involved in the incident.

Speak to an Experienced Cruise Ship Injury Lawyer Today

The cruise ship injury attorneys at Gerson and Schwartz, PA understand how to handle sexual assault cases that have taken place on a cruise ship. We understand the legal complexities and are licensed to practice law in all Florida state and federal courts. Additionally, our Florida law offices are located close to the port of Miami and Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. We are ready to help. Contact us for a free, completely confidential consultation.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch of UK Government (MAIB) recently published a report about the drowning of a 29-year-old female passenger in a swimming pool on board Sapphire Princess in the East China Sea. The victim was found floating face down in a swimming pool on board the Sapphire Princess. Despite rescue and resuscitation attempts by passengers and crew, the victim did not survive. In their report, MAIB concluded that the mere usage of a notice board expressing that lifeguards were not on duty and persons using the pools should do so at their own risk was inadequate and failed to sufficiently raise awareness among the passengers about the risks of unsupervised swimming. Our team of Miami cruise ship accident lawyers were saddened to hear about this awful incident when it occurred, but we are not surprised by the MAIB’s findings.

Serious safety issues were also noted by the MAIB team during their investigation, and officials specifically noted that:

  • With no dedicated pool attendants it was left to pool users and bystanders to recognize an emergency and raise an alarm.
  • The crew members (catering staff) in the vicinity of Neptune Pool had not received instruction from the company in medical first aid.
  • There was no documented formal risk assessment available for ship’s staff reference when assessing swimming pool operational safety.

Here is a shocking fact: There are no specific regulations pertaining to the operation and use of swimming pools on cruise ships. However, The Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels (Health and Safety at Work) Regulations of 1997 require that risk assessments are carried out.

Specifically, the regulation states that:

‘A suitable and sufficient assessment shall be made of the risks of the health and safety of workers arising in the normal course of their activities or duties, for the purpose of identifying groups of workers at particular risk in the performance of their duties, the measures to be taken to comply with the employer’s duties under these regulations, and any significant findings of the assessment and any revision of it shall be brought to the notice of workers. This assessment shall extend to the risks to the health and safety of other persons on board ship in so far as they may be affected by the acts and omissions of the employer…’

Understanding Your Legal Rights if a Loved One Drowns While on a Cruise Ship

Cruise ship deaths that occur at sea are different from an injury or death that occurs on land. Many passengers are shocked to discover that cruise line companies insert binding contractual provisions in passenger tickets shortening the time injured parties have to file a lawsuit against the cruise company. Cruise ship passengers are required to give written notice of their intent to pursue a wrongful death drowning claim, and in some instances, you may only have six months to do so. Depending on the cruise line you or a loved one was on, you may only have one year from the date of the incident to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Contact a Miami Maritime Lawyer Today

The cruise ship injury and wrongful death lawyers at Gerson and Schwartz, PA have handled these types of cases and understand the subtle nuances associated with maritime law that come into play with a claim against a cruise ship. The firm’s Florida offices are located in the heart of Miami, Florida close to the port of Miami and Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation.

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) self-adopted a “Bill of Rights” in May of 2013 in order to allegedly fulfill the commitments of care and comfort to all their onboard passengers on luxury cruises throughout the world. Our team of experienced Miami maritime lawyers were hopeful, yet skeptical, of such a self-regulating scheme in the cruise industry. Named the International Cruise Line Passenger Bill of Rights, cruise ship passengers were provided with numerous “rights” including:

  • The right to disembark a docked ship if essential provisions such as food, water, restroom facilities, and access to medical care cannot adequately be provided onboard, subject only to the Master’s concern for passenger safety and security and customs and immigration requirements of the port.
  • The right to a full refund for a trip that is cancelled due to mechanical failures, or a partial refund for voyages that are terminated early due to those failures.
  • The right to have available on board ships operating beyond rivers or coastal waters full-time, professional emergency medical attention, as needed until shore side medical care becomes available.
  • The right to timely information updates as to any adjustments in the itinerary of the ship in the event of a mechanical failure or emergency, as well as timely updates of the status of efforts to address mechanical failures.
  • The right to a ship crew that is properly trained in emergency and evacuation procedures.
  • The right to an emergency power source in the case of a main generator failure.
  • The right to transportation to the ship’s scheduled port of disembarkation or the passenger’s home city in the event a cruise is terminated early due to mechanical failures.
  • The right to lodging if disembarkation and an overnight stay in an unscheduled port are required when a cruise is terminated early due to mechanical failures.
  • The right to have included on each cruise line’s website a toll-free phone line that can be used for questions or information concerning any aspect of shipboard operations.
  • The right to have this Cruise Line Passenger Bill of Rights published on each line’s website.

This Bill of Rights was said to go into immediate effect for all U.S. passengers who booked a cruise on any of CLIA’s North American member cruise lines, regardless of its destination or itinerary. More than two years have passed since the industry self-adopted the supposed Bill of Rights. Has it made any difference in terms of improved safety for the passengers?

Here are some important statistics:

  • Last year over 1,700 passengers and crew members fell sick from gastrointestinal illnesses like norovirus.
  • Since 2012, at least seven children have drowned or nearly drowned in cruise ship pools that rarely have full-time lifeguards.
  • In 2015, a 21-year-old college student fell overboard and was never found — one of at least two dozen incidents in the last two years in which cruise passengers or crew have gone overboard, according to media reports.

Not only the Bill of Rights, but even the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA) was brought forward in 2010 with a similar objective of passenger protection, applicable for all ships setting sail to and from the United States, carrying at least 250 passengers and having onboard overnight passenger/crew sleeping facilities. Despite these safety initiatives, cruise liner passengers are still at risk of suffering serious, debilitating injuries, or even losing their life on a cruise ship.

Contact an Experienced Miami Cruise Ship Injury Law Firm

Along with developing and implementing important safety protocols, a way to send a signal to the industry that certain unsafe practices are unacceptable is by protecting the rights of you and your loved ones when a preventable accident occurs. The cruise ship accident lawyers at Gerson and Schwartz, PA are here to help. Our team of experienced personal injury attorneys are licensed to practice law in all Florida state and federal courts. Our Florida law offices are located close to the port of Miami and Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.

Carnival Cruise Line has ordered “mega cruise ships” that will hold about 7,000 passengers each, making them essentially floating cities. Obviously, this means bigger profits for Carnival, as bigger ships will mean more passengers and more ticket sales. But is bigger going to mean better and safer? Probably not. Our team of experienced Miami maritime injury attorneys have handled serious cruise ship injury cases and, in many instances, the focus for the cruise line is to pack as many people on board, regardless of potential safety hazards.

Some maritime experts are getting worried about the security issues associated with putting so many people on a ship at the same time and going for extended voyages at sea. This can pose problems for smaller ports which do not have the infrastructure to handle potentially thousands of people at the same time, especially when it comes to providing emergency services. In fact, mega cruises can practically double a small port’s population in a matter of minutes by dumping an entire “city” full of passengers and creating havoc. In addition, the bigger cruise ships will, by having more number of people on board, increase the danger of outbreak of diseases like the norovirus (which recently occurred on two Royal Caribbean cruise ships in 2015). These mega ships are likely going to be magnets for criminals and thieves looking to steal purses, wallets, and other valuables.

A legislative proposal by U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Ed Markey named the Cruise Passenger Protection Act of 2015 (CPPA) will make it mandatory for cruise liners to have built-in state-of-the-art security technologies such as man-overboard detection systems and other relevant security systems. The proposed law would also provide for security measures for passengers who have been victims of crimes at sea. The CPPA is just a proposal at this point working its way through Congress. This means, as of now, the level of security on a cruise ship is dependent upon the discretion of the cruise line.

More On-Board Attractions May Increase Risk of Injury

As cruise ships continue to grow, cruise lines routinely try to “improve” the experience by offering a litany of on-board activities such as swimming pools, rock climbing walls, miniature golfing areas, gymnasiums, and so forth. As these attractions expand, the risk of suffering a serious injury expands. In many instances, passengers have suffered broken bones, torn muscles, or even suffered permanent spinal cord trauma, while participating in these types of activities. If you injury is not treated in a timely and effective fashion on board, the damage and potential permanency of your injuries only grows.

Speak to an Experienced Cruise Ship Injury Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one was seriously harmed while on a cruise ship, reach out to the experienced maritime attorneys at Gerson and Schwartz, PA. The firm’s Florida offices are located in the heart of Miami in close proximity to the port of Miami and Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. Our attorneys have 80 years of collective experience handling personal injury claims, maritime accidents, and wrongful death cases.

Cruise ships are not always about welcome drinks, sundecks, and romantic dinners under the moonlit night. There are, unfortunately, many serious crimes that can occur on board a cruise ship, no matter how secure you think you may be. Petty thefts, serious assaults, battery, and even rapes have been reported on cruise ships. In fact, over 950 cruise ship crimes were reported to the FBI between 2011 and 2012, and those are only the crimes that the FBI is aware of. Unfortunately, many crimes, especially sexual assaults, go unreported. Our team of Miami maritime lawyers are here to help and have handled many cases for victims of serious criminal acts while on board a cruise ship or other vessel.

Get Treatment, if Needed

If you or a loved one are the victim of a physical assault or rape by a fellow passenger or crew member, seek immediate medical attention. Cruise ships should have trained medical professionals on board to provide treatment. Be sure, once you return to land, to get copies of the medical records so you can provide them to the authorities and to your attorney. This will help established that the incident occurred if a claim is pursued against the cruise liner and/or an employee of the liner.

Speak Up

For any crime, whether it be a physical injury or theft, speak to the Captain or an official on board and tell them exactly what happened and where. This is important since it puts the staff on notice that a criminal act has occurred on board and will likely result in an incident report being filed to document the incident. Again, this helps create the record of what transpired that will assist in pursuing criminal charges or a civil claim once you return to land.

Read Your Ticket

Carefully read the back of your cruise ship ticket to know what claims you can make against the liner. For example, many people don’t realize that the statute of limitations for certain types of claims is only one year. For criminal acts, the limitations period may not apply, but it depends on what happened to you or your loved one. Again, this is why it is important to speak to a maritime lawyer.

Speak to an Experienced Maritime Law Firm

Our Miami cruise ship crime attorneys are familiar with the tactics many cruise lines use in order to avoid legal responsibility for criminal acts. Gerson and Schwartz, PA is at the forefront of assisting cruise ship passengers including cruise ship crime victims throughout the United States. Our law firm continues to lobby the international cruise community for stricter laws, rules, and regulations in order to protect passengers and even crew members. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a rape, sexual assault, or other violent crime on a cruise ship, contact our law firm for a free consultation. All cases will be discussed with an attorney directly. For more information on how we can help call 305-371-6000.

Cruise ship accidents can happen anytime, anywhere, without any prior warning whatsoever. Take, for example, the recent incident involving the Royal Winner Princess II party cruise ship, which hit the Carolina Beach Wildlife Fishing Pier on July 11, 2015 injuring 15 passengers on board. At least two passengers had to be taken off in stretchers under emergency circumstances with neck braces. In spite of all the modern scientific technological advancements, human error accounts for more than eighty percent of cruise ship accidents, according to official reports from the U.S. Coast Guard. Loss of concentration often results in overlooking submerged obstacles lying ahead, like rocks or icebergs, and panicked manoeuvring the huge vessel at the last moment often proves fatal and overturns the ship altogether – injuring passengers on board. As experienced maritime lawyers, we want our readers to understand and be prepared for a serious cruise ship incident.

Important Steps Any Cruise Ship Accident Victim Needs to Take

If you or a loved one gets hurt while on a cruise ship, be sure to report the incident immediately to a crew member or other administrator (be sure to get their full name and contact information). Take photos, record videos, and get the names of any witnesses. You want to have documentation reflecting when and where the incident occurred. Once you have safely returned to land, a written notice of intent to file a claim according to the terms of your cruise ticket is necessary (a maritime lawyer can help with drafting and sending this letter).

Why You Should Contact a Cruise Ship Injury Lawyer if an Incident Occurs

A cruise ship incident can result in an array of injuries ranging from those requiring a few weeks of physical therapy to life-threatening injuries that may result in permanent damage. Regardless of the type of injury, you need an attorney who actually has experience handling cruise ship injury cases. Why? Because they can be quite complex involving maritime law, federal law, and/or state law. If you hire an attorney who has never handled a cruise ship injury case, you are exposing your case to the risk of being dismissed on a summary judgment motion or a legal technicality.

Low Risk, High Reward

Retaining a maritime attorney for your cruise ship injury claim  is a low risk, high reward proposition. Personal injury attorneys handling cruise ship accident claims generally work on a contingency fee basis. You don’t pay a lawyer an hourly fee or big retainer fee. Instead, your lawyer gets paid contingent upon you getting paid.

Reach Out to a Maritime Lawyer Today

The cruise ship accident attorneys at Gerson and Schwartz, PA are licensed to practice law in all Florida state and federal courts. We are affiliated with other lawyers in virtually all jurisdictions where we are not admitted to practice. Our Florida law offices are located in the heart of Miami, Florida close to the port of Miami and Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. Our attorneys have 80 years of collective experience handling personal injury claims, maritime accidents, and wrongful death cases. All cases are handled on a contingent fee so there are no attorney’s fees unless we recover money on your behalf. Contact us today at for a consultation at 1-877-475-2905.

A lawsuit based in maritime has been filed in the brutal beating of a cruise passenger that we mentioned on our blog a few weeks ago. With the filing of the lawsuit, the victim’s attorney has revealed the carelessness of the cruise line that contributed to the vicious attack. Our Florida maritime law firm is monitoring the case closely.

The Horrific Attack

DSCF6491The case stems from a  Holland America cruise ship passenger was brutally beaten by a Holland America employee, who apparently had a master key and used it to gain entry into the victim’s cabin. The employee tried to strangle the woman with a phone cord, smashed her with a laptop and other blunt objects, and even tried to throw her overboard. She was also sexually assaulted. At one point, her oxygen supply was completely cut off from the choking. The entire attack lasted about an hour, until the victim managed to escape the cabin into the hallway.

The victim asked others to relay to her family that she loved them, certain she would not survive her injuries. Her body was racked with bruises and gashes, she had bites on her hands, her teeth shifted from the force of the blows, and she sustained significant traumatic brain injuries.

Cruise Line Negligence v. Strict Liability

It is easy to look at this kind of brutality and ask what a cruise line could do to prevent a maniac employee from unexpectedly going on a rampage. Many people believe that a cruise line (or even a land-based business) should not be responsible for criminal violence committed by its employees. However, under general maritime law, cruise ship companies are strictly liable for criminal acts committed by their employees. That means that cruise ship accident victims do not need to establish principles of negligence such as notice, and breach of a legal duty in order to succeed. If a criminal act such as a rape, sexual assault or battery is committed by an employee of the cruise line, the ship is responsible.

But the lawsuit is explaining how a cruise ship’s carelessness can play a large hand in allowing these kinds of incidents to occur.

In this case, the victim’s attorney still notes that it was careless and could be gross negligence, to allow a lower-level employee to have a master key that allows them to gain access to any cabin at any time. Gross negligence could pave the way for punitive damages.

When neighboring passengers who heard the screams for help called 911, their calls were not routed to security. Instead, they were routed to the front desk, which then decided whether the calls warranted getting security involved. As it turns out, the front desk staff on duty classified the calls as “medium priority,” thus leading to security not being called to the scene in a timely manner. A broken toilet the day beforehand had been classified as “high priority.”

When help did arrive, 45 minutes later, it wasn’t even security—it was a front desk employee. That employee didn’t even have a master key, the way the employee who beat the passenger did, thus preventing any kind of immediate response.

The ship also had only one roving security officer, despite there being 3,000 passengers.

Cruise lines seem to be lack basic fundamental principles of passenger safety and security procedures. Even though cruise ship companies represent that the cruise line offers the same level of safety and security as on land based environments – this is not the case. People shouldn’t assume that the same safety assurances and responsiveness they have on land will apply when they are at sea.

If you are injured while a passenger on a cruise ship, don’t wait to get help. Talk to a maritime and cruise ship injury attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. today for a free consultation about your injuries.