Cruise Ship Accident Lawyer Blog

Articles Posted in Cruise Ship Accidents/Incidents

bacteriaCases of gastrointestinal illness (“GI”) have grown to become a serious problem for various cruise lines. The cases are growing in number. Today, there are several cruise lines that are specifically required to report the total number of GI illness cases. These cruise lines are participating in the Vessel Sanitation Program (“VSP”).  

Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) there was a severe gastrointestinal outbreak on the Ocean Princess cruise ship of the Princess Cruises cruise line. From this apparent outbreak, 63 out of 603 passengers (or 10.45%) became ill while on the cruise. Seven crewmembers also became ill. This notable outbreak occurred during the cruise ship’s February 13th through March 7th, 2016 voyage. Among all those sickened, the predominant symptoms were vomiting and diarrhea. In response to this outbreak, the cruise ship’s crewmembers, those not sick, increased their cleaning and disinfection procedures, collected stool samples from the sickened passengers and crewmembers for testing and made daily reports of gastrointestinal illness cases. The CDS Vessel Sanitation Program (“VSP”) is currently monitoring the outbreak and the ship’s response procedures.  

Have you or a loved one suffered from an illness while on a cruise ship?  If it is found that the cruise ship was at fault for your illness, you may be entitled to compensation.  To best protect your interests, it is imperative that you retain an experienced attorney.  The Miami maritime lawyers at Gerson and Schwartz PA are here to help. At Gerson and Schwartz, PA we provide high quality legal representation. For more information call us toll free at 1-877-475-2905 or contact us online.   

Shower headSexual assaults on cruises are, unfortunately, not an uncommon occurrence. The facts are quite scary. One major cruise line recently indicated that there were 173 sexual assaults or rapes reported on their ships during a five-year period. To make matters worse, none of these 173 reports were ever prosecuted. A different major cruise line reported that there are two rapes or sexual assaults per month on each of its cruise ships. Just recently, off the coast of Florida, a cruise line’s steward was charged with sexually assaulting a teenage boy in a cruise ship shower. The steward was charged with lewd and lascivious molestation and sexual battery of a person less than 16 years of age. Investigators maintain that the steward saw the young boy in a ship sauna. The two started talking as they used the facility. To get away from the steward, the boy left the sauna and went to the showers; yet, the steward followed and engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct. 

The Lawsuit

If you wish to file a lawsuit against a cruise line, there are some important rules that you must be aware of. For one, cruise ship tickets that you initially purchase normally have a “forum selection clause” and a “choice of law clause.” These clauses are often printed on the back of the ticket in small font. These clauses specifically indicate in which state the passenger may sue the cruise line, as well as the law that will apply in his or her case. You should strictly adhere to the rules listed on your ticket. Failure to do so may ultimately have your case dismissed. If the cruise ticket has you filing the case in Florida, with Florida law applying, the following rules of law may apply to your situation.       

police tapeRecently, a Carnival Liberty cruise ship returned to a port in South Florida following a tragedy at sea. The unconscious body of a passenger, 36 years of age, was found aboard the cruise ship. The passenger, once found, received immediate medical treatment but was pronounced dead two hours after her discovery. Currently, the FBI is investigating the passenger’s death and is awaiting the autopsy report. The FBI has stated that the accident could possibly be a homicide.  Per the FBI, this case is largely still under investigation.

As it turns out, murders on the high seas are not uncommon. Just on Carnival cruise ships, for example, there have been a number of passenger deaths last year alone. Last year, a Carnival cruise passenger was brutally murdered by her husband. He was later charged and convicted of first degree murder.     

If someone you love was murdered at sea, it is critical to retain an experienced maritime lawyer. The relevant laws are highly complex. The Miami cruise ship attorneys at Gerson and Schwartz PA are here for you. Our attorneys have plenty of experience filing claims against all major cruise lines. We can provide you an ease of mind, as we know what do and know how to deal with the numerous complexities. We will fight hard to enforce your legal rights.     

9513572473_e39619123aCruise ship vacations provide for the perfect getaway. However, risks of injury and/or crime are relatively high for those embarking on a cruise. Recently, yet another cruise ship passenger fell off a balcony. This happens all too often. A Texas man fell off the balcony of a ship off the coast of Key Largo, Florida. He is currently being sought by search-and-rescue crews. This tragic event occurred about 36 nautical miles south of the Carysfort Reef Light. At around 11:00 p.m. on a Saturday night, David Mossman, age 46, fell 100 feet from the 10th deck of the cruise ship and into the dark water. This event was witnessed by another passenger and it was caught on security camera footage.

Cruise ship incidents, though not always fatal, can happen to any passenger, or crew member, at anytime. For this reason, it is critical that you take several safety precautions while you enjoy your cruise ship vacation. If you are injured, you may be entitled to compensation. It is imperative that you hire an attorney for your case. The Miami maritime lawyers at Gerson and Schwartz PA have the experience and skill needed to take on your case. Our attorneys are experienced in filing claims against all major cruise lines. We know how to aggressively handle maritime lawsuits. We will fight hard to enforce your legal rights and we will not hesitate to bring your case to trial if a fair settlement offer is not made.    

How to Stay Safe on Your Cruise

1c919lp8While swarms of people embark on cruise ships annually, crimes committed upon them seem to run rampant. What is sad is that many individuals who commit crimes aboard cruise ships actually get away with their crimes. It is a mess. What makes it even messier is the existence of the jurisdiction issue. A congressional hearing in 2007 revealed that in the past three years, 28 people have disappeared while on cruise ships. Of these, only three have been found! There have been 200 reported cases of assault or sexual misconduct aboard cruise ships. There have been four cases reported of grand theft. True, this may not appear to be a huge number of incidents.  Yet, it is a large number when you take into consideration the several nuances of enforcing the law at sea. Most of these cases have not been sufficiently investigated and few have even been solved.

If you are a victim of crime or injury at sea, to best safeguard your interests, it is imperative that you hire an attorney for your case. The experienced Miami maritime lawyers at Gerson and Schwartz PA are here for you. We have the experience and skill needed to take on your case.  Our attorneys are experienced in filing claims against all major cruise lines. We know how to aggressively handle maritime lawsuits. We will fight hard to enforce your legal rights and we will not hesitate to bring your case to trial if a fair settlement offer is not made.

Jurisdiction at Sea

P1070996Cruises have quickly become one of the most popular forms of vacationing. Each cruise is accompanied by its many activities to pick from and enjoy. For instance, several cruise lines offer whale watching. Whale watching is the practice of observing whales in their natural habitat. As with other vacationing activities, accidents tend to occur. One notable incident recently occurred. A 150-foot whale watching ship crashed into a wharf next to a downtown pier, injuring seven passengers and damaging the ship. There were 144 people onboard this ship. As it turns out, crewmembers reported that mechanical issues stuck the ship’s throttle in the forward position just prior to the ship’s crash. At the moment, the United States Coast Guard is investigating this accident.

This was certainly a horrific incident. If you or a loved one were injured on a cruise ship, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. It is imperative that you hire an experienced attorney for your case. The Miami maritime lawyers at Gerson and Schwartz PA are here to help.  Our attorneys are experienced in filing claims against all major cruise lines. We know how to aggressively handle maritime lawsuits. We will fight hard to enforce your legal rights and we will not hesitate to bring your case to trial if a fair settlement offer is not made.

If an Accident Occurs

file2021238176025Despite today’s poor economy, the cruise industry is certainly thriving. Cruise Market Watch, an online database, predicts that the cruise line industry will grow at a rate of 7% between now and 2017. People normally embark on cruises for one key reason: to escape the stresses of ordinary life. Yet, despite the opportunity to rest and relax, please be advised that you are not out of harm’s way.

For instance, a tragic incident recently occurred on a Disney Cruise ship when a grandfather’s thumb was amputated. Marco Acosta, 73, was enjoying his time on a Disney cruise ship preparing for the Captain’s dinner when the horrific injury occurred. Mr. Acosta was standing near a hallway door with his thumb on the doorframe, while his wife was also holding the door open with her foot. She moved her foot and the door “slammed shut with force” on Mr. Acosta’s thumb, severing it. Mr. Acosta visited a Cruise nurse who bandaged the wound and put the severed thumb on ice. It was days before Mr. Acosta had the opportunity to see a doctor. By this time, it was too late to reattach his severed digit.

Mr. Acosta filed a lawsuit against the cruise line, alleging that Disney’s negligence resulted in his injury. The lawsuit alleges:

cruise ship poolEmbarking on a cruise vacation is something that most of us truly enjoy. It is even more special when your family is all together. Yet, as with any other form of vacationing, accidents can happen. For example, just recently, on a central Florida-bound cruise ship, nearly 35 miles east of Cape Lookout, two children were discovered unconscious in a pool around 11:30 a.m. The older child was ultimately revived and flown by a Marine Corps helicopter to a nearby hospital.  Unfortunately, the younger child died onboard the ship.

This was certainly a tragic event that should not have occurred. The cruise line itself should consider several safety procedures to ensure this never happens again. There should have been a lifeguard, or two, watching over swimmers in the pool. Not all injuries to children on board cruise ships are fatal, but injuries to children on cruise ships are all too common. If your child is injured on a cruise ship, he or she may be entitled to substantial compensation. It is important that you hire an attorney for your case. The Miami maritime attorneys at Gerson and Schwartz PA are here to help! We know the relevant laws and have over 80 combined years of representing cruise ship passengers and crewmembers that are injured.   

Premises Liability on Cruise Ships          

12 Skagway, Alaska May 2015Are you contemplating suing a particular cruise line? These suits are not uncommon. Recently, a group of 33 Carnival passengers sued Carnival Cruise Lines for damages after an engine fire left the cruise ship adrift for five days. The affected passengers asked the company to pay $5,000 per month for the remainder of their lives for mental anguish and medical expenses.  Their cruise ship, after suffering an engine fire, was left without power, air conditioning, and operating toilets. A federal judge in Florida heard arguments from each side. Said judge found that the cruise line was negligent for the engine fire and awarded damages to the class.       

There are countless reasons why you may wish to sue a cruise line. Maybe you were injured on the ship or suffered sickness from undercooked cruise ship food. Or maybe you were the victim of a crime on the ship due to lack of security measures. Or maybe the suspect was actually a crewmember! It is important that you consult your cruise ticket. This is because cruise lines inoculate themselves against passenger lawsuits by printing stringent terms on their tickets that require passengers to waive their right to a class action lawsuit.

Whatever the reason may be for your desired lawsuit, the process of taking action against a cruise line is quite complex. It is therefore highly advisable that you retain an experienced maritime attorney like the ones found at Gerson and Schwartz PA. We know the relevant laws and have over 80 combined years of representing cruise ship passengers and crewmembers that are injured.

Closeup of assorted coins.

Closeup of assorted coins.

In our last post we discussed the process of filing a claim against a cruise line. This post will delve into  settlements. There is actually a lot involved with settlements in any case. Upfront, however, please be aware that often times cruise lines will not settle without a reason. In obvious liability cases, the cruise line operator may realize that the odds are against them. Other times, companies may settle as a business decision. However, that decision depends on the injuries involved, vialibility of the legal theories at issue. At times, the public may think that because they read about a court settlement that the cruise line company will just fold. What they do not always realize is that many settlements dont even happen until hours and hours of work take place. Sometimes, the cruiseline companies may settle just before trial.  Cases can even settle during a trial or before the case is presented to a jury.

If you seek to bring a personal injury claim against a cruise line company  you should always hire an experienced attorney for your best chances of receiving a fair and just settlement. The maritime attorneys at Gerson and Schwartz PA are here to help. Our attorneys know the relevant laws and value of personal injury claims while representing cruise ship passengers and crewmembers that are injured.

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