Articles Posted in Cruise Ship Accidents/Incidents

Saturday, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines’ Grandeur of the Seas returned to Baltimore from a seven day journey during which a number of passengers suffered from a gastrointestinal illness causing symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea.

Sick in the Bathroom

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) officially issued a cruise ship illness outbreak alert for the ship, on which  111 of 2122 (5.23%) passengers, and 6 of 790 (0.76%) crew, reported falling ill with symptoms of vomiting and/or diarrhea. The CDC still has not officially announced the cause of the illness, but our Florida maritime accident attorneys are waiting with anticipation for a discovery.

According to the Outbreak Alert, Royal Caribbean took the following action to deal with the outbreak:

  • Increased cleaning and disinfection procedures.

  • Made announcements to onboard passengers of the outbreak, as well as encouraged reporting of symptoms and hand hygiene.

  • Collected stool specimens from ill passengers and crew to send to a CDC lab.

  • Consulted with the CDC on plans for a comprehensive sanitation procedure upon making port in Baltimore, which included: additional cleaning crew to complete a thorough super-sanitization cleaning and disinfection; staged disembarkation for active cases to limit illness transmission; and terminal and transport infection control procedures.

The outbreak aboard the Grandeur of the Seas was small compared to other such epidemics that have occurred recently. According to another CDC Outbreak Alert, in January, Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas suffered from the largest gastrointestinal illness outbreaks on a cruise ship in 20 years, with 630 of 3,071 (20.5%) passengers, and 54 of 1,166 (4.6%) crew falling ill.

The issuance of Outbreak Alerts such as these is part of the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program (“VSP”), designed to prevent and control the transmission and spread of gastrointestinal illnesses aboard cruise ships. Gastrointestinal illnesses can cause vomiting, dizziness, diarrhea, dehydration, and, in very serious cases, death. Despite the CDC’s efforts to improve cruise ship health and cleanliness, violations occur often on many cruise ships.

Part of the problem is the fact that many passengers afflicted with gastrointestinal illness are unable to leave their cabin due to their symptoms or don’t want to risk being quarantined by the ship’s crew. Because these passengers don’t report their symptoms, the seriousness of an outbreak can be diminished.

Cruise lines have a duty to provide their passengers with a safe and sanitary environment.  Failing to establish and enforce proper cleaning and hygiene procedures may expose a cruise line to liability for negligence. As this blog has mentioned before, because cruise ship claims are subject to different laws and much shorter statutes of limitations, sometimes as short as one year, they are best handled by experienced cruise ship accident attorneys.

The Florida cruise ship accident lawyers 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 negligence for over four decades. If you or someone you know has been injured in a cruise ship accident or has been the victim of a crime while on a cruise ship, contact the Florida maritime attorneys of Gerson and Schwartz, P.A. today.

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Over the weekend Royal Caribbean’s was struck another blow when two of its ships, the Adventure of the Seas and the Navigator of the Seas, had problems returning to port. The Adventure of the Seas lost propulsion Saturday night after the cruise ship leaked oil and barely made it to San Juan on Sunday. Navigator of the Seas was unable to make port on time due to an oil spill caused by a collision between a ship and a barge. Although the ships were delayed for different reasons, the handling of the incidents by Royal Caribbean is causing the company huge headaches.

Cruise ship

It would appear that neither passengers arriving to board the Adventure of the Seas in San Juan, nor those entering Houston to embark on the Navigator of the Seas were advised of the ship’s delays. One of the most common complaints about cruise industry is the cruise lines are woefully unprepared to deal with emergency situations onboard their ships. Further, when problems arise, passengers are kept in the dark as to the nature, extent, and possible duration of any complications. It would appear that Royal Caribbean remains among the ranks of those cruise lines that has failed to develop sufficient procedures to effectively communicate with its customers, both onboard and on ground.

Royal Caribbean’s recent woes are yet another in a seemingly never-ending string of cruise mishaps, made worse by cruise liners continued policy of denial and concealment of such issues. As our Florida cruise ship accident attorneys recently discussed on this blog, although some cruise liners are now volunteering statistics regarding the safety of their vessels, those companies are unscrupulously artificially deflating crime numbers and diluting crime statistics through several underhanded tactics.

According to an article published in the New York Times last year, cruise incidents are much more common than commonly perceived, citing the following statistics:

  • Between 1990 and 2011 there were approximately 79 fires onboard cruise ships and, until 2006, there were three or four fires each year.

  • Between 1972 and 2011, 98 cruise ships ran aground, an average of 2.5 ships each year.

  • Between 1980 and 2012, sixteen cruise ships sunk. Although sinking of cruise ships is becoming more rare, such incidents can be devastating, as demonstrated by the catastrophic crash and sinking of the Costa Concordia in 2012, which resulted in the deaths of thirty two individuals and injuries to dozens of others.

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. Despite enhanced safety measures and new policies designed to ensure passenger safety, cruising can be a risky activity.

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 accidents for over four decades. If you or someone you know has been injured in a cruise ship accident, contact the Florida maritime accident attorneys of Gerson and Schwartz, P.A. today.

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Yesterday, the National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) commenced a forum in Washington D.C. to address a number of issues related to the cruise ship industry. The meeting will be attended by NTSB representatives, Coast Guard officials, representatives of the International Maritime Organization (“IMO”), and members of the Cruise Line International Association (“CLIA”), the organizer of the meeting. Our Florida cruise ship accident attorneys have been monitoring the forum for any developments.

Cruise Ship

According to a NTSB spokesman, the agency regularly holds forums addressing safety issues, but is the first in which the cruise industry has been the focus. The spokesman commented, “Because the cruise ship industry is worldwide, and has sort of a diverse oversight structure that’s international in scope, we felt that maybe we could add something to the conversation by bringing everyone together.

Although topics to be addressed at the meeting include regulation of the industry accident investigations ship design and fire protection and emergency response, the International Cruise Victims (“ICV”) a prominent non-profit organization advocating for cruise safety, was not permitted to send representatives to the forum.

The exclusion of the ICV from the meeting may be related to the turmoil caused by the organization last year following the announcement by several major U.S. cruise companies, that they would voluntarily report cruise ship crimes and man overboard situations ahead of the passage of the legislation.

Following a hearing in front of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean, released their crime statistics dating back to 2010. After the announcement, the ICV issued its own press release, claiming that the cruise companies were artificially deflating their crime numbers and diluting their crime statistics.

Although not represented at the forum, the ICV submitted a 51-page report on safety, operations and oversight, and issued a press release expressing disappointment at being excluded, stating “the victims and the maritime experts working with ICV should not be excluded because they have much to contribute to understanding the safety issues on cruise ships.”

Despite a number of enhanced protective measures and policies designed to ensure passenger safety, cruising can still be a risky activity. Cruise ship accidents are becoming more and more common and don’t only occur while at sea, rendering the need for experienced legal counsel for those injured in such accidents more important than ever.

Cruise ship accidents must be handled differently than ordinary personal injury cases, because they often arise under a different type of law, such maritime, admiralty, or contract law, and are subject to much shorter statutes of limitations to pursue a claim, sometimes as short as one year. Further, cruise companies often utilize various tactics to delay litigation, resulting in the degradation of evidence and, in certain cases, loss of the right to compensation.

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 accidents for over four decades. If you or someone you know has been injured in a cruise ship accident, contact the Florida maritime accident attorneys of Gerson and Schwartz, P.A. today.

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Our Florida Cruise Ship Accident Attorneys have dedicated their decades of experience to representing cruise ship passengers that are injured by the acts or omissions of the cruise ship industry and its employees. However, as this blog discussed last month, on occasion, it is one of the cruise ship’s crew that is injured by the negligence of a cruise company.

Sunset

Generally, cruise ship crew members who are injured on the job are protected by the provisions of the “Jones Act,” as long as they fall under the legal definition of “seamen.” The Jones Act provides that a seaman that is injured as the result of the negligence of an employer or co-worker on a vessel may recover two different types of financial compensation from their employer known as “maintenance” and “cure” benefits. “Maintenance” requires the cruise line to continue paying a crew member wages in the event an on-the-job injury prevents the individual from being physically able to work, while “Cure” is the obligation of the cruise line to provide a crew member with medical care in the event an injury is sustained in the course of employment.

Recently, the protections offered to cruise crew members by the Jones Act have been threatened by proposed legislation, H.R. 4005. Introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on February 6, 2014, H.R. 4005, entitled the “Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014”, for the most part, regulates various aspects of how the Coast Guard conducts its business.

However, buried in the bill is a provision that would prohibit a seaman who is a citizen of a foreign nation from bringing a claim for damages related to personal injury, illness, or death under U.S. laws if said seaman: (1) was not a resident of the United States when the claim arose; (2) the injury, illness, or death arose outside U.S territorial waters; and (3) the seaman had a right to seek compensation under the laws of the nation in which the vessel was registered or in which the seaman maintained citizenship.

If passed, this provision would essentially prevent foreign cruise ship employees from filing lawsuits in the U.S. courts to recover for injury or illness incurred while working on a cruise ship. Although headquartered in the U.S., many cruise ships are actually registered in foreign countries. For example, a large number of cruise ships are registered in the Bahamas, including all of Royal Caribbean’s 22 ships, Norwegian Cruise Lines with 10 ships, and Carnival, with 6. This means that, under the provisions of the proposed law, foreign crew members working on Bahamian-registered ships would be required to bring lawsuits either in the Bahamas or in their country of citizenship. Not only does this measure unfairly discriminate against foreign crew members, but it encourages cruise lines to avoid hiring U.S. citizens, because it does not have to worry about being sued in U.S. Courts by non-citizen crew members.

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 crew members and cruise ship employees injured at sea for over four decades. If you are a seaman or crew member that has been seriously injured on a cargo ship, cruise ship, or sustained an offshore injury, our Florida Maritime Attorneys are here to help.

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Recently, our Florida Cruise Ship Accident Attorneys have been watching several different situations in which cruise lines have been implicated in cases of potential medical negligence and wrongful death.

Stormy Sky

In January, this blog discussed an unfortunate incident involving the death of a 72-year-old passenger aboard Carnival’s Sun Princess ship, which led the Australian authorities to launch a formal investigation. In that case, Betty Virgo was refused overnight medical supervision by ship’s staff and ended up dying the next day. Virgo’s body was returned to several days later, but it had been embalmed without an autopsy. Carnival denied that its medical staff was negligent in treating Virgo.

Now, Carnival is back in the news as a Chicago Tribune story discusses the sudden and mysterious death of a 29-year-old man while cruising last month. According to the story, John Perricone started feeling ill on February 19th. When Perricone had trouble walking the next morning, he visited the ship’s doctor. While in the infirmary, Perricone began to convulse and died shortly thereafter. According to authorities, foul play is not suspected in Perricone’s death and his cause of death has not been determined, pending an autopsy from the medical examiner’s office in New Orleans, the ship’s home port.

Under Florida law, physicians, hospitals, and other medical professionals owe their patients a duty to act with a certain level of care generally accepted within the medical industry. When medical professionals fail to satisfy this duty, the resulting negligence may result in liability for medical malpractice.

In the event a passenger dies aboard a ship, the cruise line is required to adhere to certain procedures. First, the cruise line must contact the deceased’s next of kin and report the death to federal authorities, including the FBI and Coast Guard. Although foul play is not suspected in Perricone’s case, the cruise line should have taken on the responsibility of determining whether any other passengers were suffering from similar symptoms.

The cruise line is required to store the deceased’s body and arrange to have the body transported upon making port. Usually, the body will be held onboard until the ship makes port in the U.S.; however, if the cruise line transfers the body in a foreign port, the deceased’s family may have to cover the expense of transporting the body home.

Although no medical negligence may have occurred in Perricone’s case, it is in his family’s best interest to contact an experienced cruise ship attorney to discuss their rights. Cruise ship cases must be handled differently than ordinary personal injury cases, because they often arise under a different type of law, such as maritime, admiralty, or contract law, and are subject to much shorter statutes of limitations to pursue a claim, sometimes as short as one year. Further, cruise companies often utilize various tactics to delay litigation, resulting in the degradation of evidence and, in certain cases, loss of the right to compensation.

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 accidents for over four decades. If you or someone you know has been injured in a cruise ship accident, contact the Florida maritime accident attorneys of Gerson and Schwartz, P.A. today.

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Earlier this month, our Florida cruise ship accident lawyers saw a report on ABC News that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has launched an investigation into an incident aboard a cruise ship which left one child dead and another hospitalized.

Kids

According to spokesman David Couvertier, FBI officials met Norwegian Cruise Lines Breakaway when it docked in Port Canaveral, Florida on February 4. Couvertier stated that the Breakaway was in international waters near Cape Lookout, North Carolina when a four and six year old boy were pulled from a swimming pool aboard the ship. The four-year-old boy died and the six-year old has been hospitalized at a North Carolina medical center.

The Breakaway is an 18-deck ship with a passenger capacity of 4,000 and has five waterslides, two swimming pools, and four hot tubs. According to a passenger, quoted in a CBS article, that witnessed the incident, there were no lifeguards on the pool deck and none of the crew present knew CPR. In a posting on its Facebook page, Norwegian maintained that the Breakaway’s emergency medical team responded to the ship’s pool deck and quickly administered CPR. The post claimed, “After extensive efforts, the younger child could not be revived.”

On a number of occasions, this blog has commented on the negative aspects of the ever-increasing size of cruise ships, and more specifically, that these giant vessels have so many more areas in which passengers can get hurt. With more entertainment areas comes the greater risk of harm to passengers, especially when cruises feature options such as on-board surfing and giant waterslides. As is the case with the Breakaway, many ships now boast several gigantic pools which are unsupervised by lifeguards or other crew members.

Late last year, a similar incident occurred aboard the Carnival ship Victory, when 6-year-old Qwentyn Hunter of Winter Garden, Florida, drowned in one of the pools aboard the ship where no life guards were on duty. Although a crew member attempted CPR, he was unsuccessful and the boy was pronounced dead shortly after.

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. Despite enhanced safety measures and new policies designed to ensure passenger safety, cruising can be a risky activity. As demonstrated by the unfortunate deaths of these children, the pool areas of cruise liners can be especially dangerous, particularly when passengers go unsupervised by trained crew members.

Cruise ship accidents are becoming more and more common, rendering the need for experienced legal counsel for those injured in such accidents increasingly important. As this blog has mentioned before, because cruise ship accidents are subject to different laws and much shorter statutes of limitations, sometimes as short as one year, they are best handled by experienced cruise ship accident attorneys.

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 accidents for over four decades. If you or someone you know has been injured in a cruise ship accident, contact the Florida maritime accident attorneys of Gerson and Schwartz, P.A. today.

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Media reports of unauthorized entry into a stateroom by a low level crew member, beating, forcible rape, attempted murder, and escape shock the cruising public.

Every cruise passenger lawyer knows there is strict liability for these harms.  This means Holland America owes this passenger 100% of her compensatory damages.

Philip Gerson, Board Chair of the National Center for Victims of Crime and board member for International Cruise Victims organizations says this is not enough.  “This victim should sue Holland America for punitive damages for misleading the vacationing public about the safety of cruising.  Passengers at sea are in a jurisdictional vacuum and cruise lines refuse to undertake needed reforms to prevent these attacks.”  Gerson, founding partner at Gerson & Schwartz  in Miami said the Cruise Line Industry Association (CLIA) should also be sued for promoting a disinformation campaign to mislead the public about the dangers of unskilled, poorly trained and inadequately supervised crew members who harm innocent travelers.”

The cruise industry’s powerful lobby in Washington continues to oppose pending reform legislation.  Only court action will get the public attention needed to focus on this frightening risk facing every woman and child traveling.

Our Florida cruise ship accident attorneys use this blog to discuss the rights of cruise ship passengers in the event they are injured by the acts or omissions of the cruise ship industry and its employees.

Cruise ship

But what happens when one of those employees becomes injured due to the negligence of a cruise company? Working as a crew member aboard a cruise ship can be a particularly risk job, as cruise crew are consistently exposed to dangerous situations and conditions that can cause serious injury, illness, or death.

In 1920, Congress adopted Section 27 of the Merchant Marine Act, referred to as the “Jones Act”, as a means of protecting the rights of crew members and maritime workers that fall under the legal definition of “seamen.” The Jones Act allows a seaman, that is injured as the result of the negligence of an employer or co-worker in the course of his or employment on a vessel, to recover for those injuries.

The operative provision of the Jones Act, codified at 46 U.S.C. § 688(a), provides:

Any sailor who shall suffer personal injury in the course of his employment may, at his election, maintain an action for damages at law, with the right to trial by jury, and in such action all statutes of the United States modifying or extending the common-law right or remedy in cases of personal injury to railway employees shall apply.

The Jones Act mandates that seamen who are injured in the course of their employment are entitled to recover two different type of financial compensation from their employer, known as “maintenance” and “cure” benefits.

“Maintenance” is the obligation of an employer to continue to pay a crew member his or her wages in the event that an on-the-job injury prevents an individual from being physically able to work. If a crew member is injured during a cruise, the employer is required to pay the crew member his or her wages for the remainder of the voyage, and until he or she is fit to return to duty. In the event a crew member is injured to such an extent he or she can never return to work, the employer may be obligated to pay disability.

“Cure” is the obligation of an employer to provide a crew member prompt medical care in the event an injury is sustained in the course of employment. Cure includes an obligation of the employer to pay for the injured crew member’s medical treatment that is reasonably related to the injury and medically necessary. If the employer breaches this duty, the injured crew member may be entitled to recover additional compensation for pain and suffering, attorneys fees, and punitive damages.

The Florida cruise ship accident lawyers of Gerson and Schwartz, P.A., are licensed to practice law in all of Florida’s state and federal courts, and have been representing crew members and cruise ship employees injured at sea for over four decades. If you are a seaman or crew member that has been seriously injured on a cargo ship, cruise ship, or sustained an offshore injury, contact our Florida maritime attorneys for help today.

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Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) issued a cruise ship illness outbreak alert for the Norwegian Gem, an over 3,600-passenger capacity ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet.  According to the alert, during a November 13-25, 2013, voyage, 111 passengers and 3 crew members (4.55% of the total number of people onboard) reported being ill with symptoms of vomiting and/or diarrhea. The cause of the outbreak is unknown, but our Florida maritime accident attorneys are waiting with anticipation for a discovery.

Stomachache

The report states that Norwegian Cruise Line responded to the outbreak by increasing the ship’s cleaning and disinfecting procedures and collecting specimens from ill passengers and crew for testing at the CDC’s National Calicivirus Laboratory. According to the CDC, Vessel Sanitation Program officers are monitoring the outbreak, which will continue into the ship’s subsequent voyage.

The CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program (“VSP”) is designed to assist the cruise ship industry in preventing and controlling introduction, transmission, and spread of gastrointestinal illnesses, i.e. food poisoning, on cruise ships.  Despite the CDC’s best efforts, however, health violations are common occurrences on many cruise ships.  Improper storage, handling, and preparation of food onboard cruise ships is dangerous and can easily result in the spread of gastrointestinal illness.  Gastrointestinal illnesses can cause vomiting, dizziness, diarrhea, dehydration, and, in very serious cases, death.

Part of the problem with curbing the occurrence and spread of gastrointestinal illnesses aboard ships is the reporting requirements imposed on cruise lines.  Only cruise lines that visit U.S. ports are obligated to report outbreaks to the CDC.  Further, a cruise is not required to report an outbreak if less than 3 percent of the ship’s total passengers and crew report symptoms of diarrheal disease to medical personnel.

Further compounding the problem is the fact that many passengers afflicted with gastrointestinal illness are unable to leave their cabin due to their symptoms, or simply don’t want to risk being quarantined by the ship’s crew.  Because these passengers don’t report their symptoms, the seriousness of an outbreak can be diminished.

The outbreak aboard the Norwegian Gem is nothing compared to unfortunate epidemic that erupted aboard Celebrity Cruise’s Summit in October of last year.  Of the 2112 passengers aboard the Summit, a whopping 14.5 percent (307), as well as 14 of 952 crew members, reported sick with a “gastrointestinal illness.”

Cruise lines have a duty to provide their passengers with a safe and sanitary environment.  Failing to establish and enforce proper cleaning and hygiene procedures may expose a cruise line to liability for negligence.  As this blog has mentioned before, because cruise ship claims are subject to different laws and much shorter statutes of limitations, sometimes as short as one year, they are best handled by experienced cruise ship accident attorneys.

The Florida cruise ship accident lawyers 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 negligence for over four decades.  If you or someone you know has been injured in a cruise ship accident or has been the victim of a crime while on a cruise ship, contact the attorneys of Gerson and Schwartz, P.A. today.

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Earlier this week, the Sydney Morning Herald, an Australian news outlet, reported that the body of a man who had fallen overboard from Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas on December 21st had been recovered, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.  The ship was sailing towards Noumea, New Caledonia, approximately 550 kilometers east of Brisbane when the unidentified man went overboard. Our Florida maritime accident lawyers  have been covering this news extensively, and can provide legal advice to anyone that may find themselves in an accident related to time spend on a cruise.

Life Raft

An alarm was raised around 1 AM Queensland time after another passenger witnessed the man fall. According to reports, the ship’s crew threw life preservers and smoke markers into the water, and even launched rescue boats, but, however, they could not locate the man.  New Caledonian Law Enforcement Services will be investigating the death.

This incident is just another in a long line of unfortunate man overboard accidents which have plagued the cruise industry the last couple years. Last year, 30-year-old South Floridian Sarah Kirby fell overboard from the Carnival Destiny as it sailed from Miami to Jamaica. Kirby fell 100 feet to the water, striking a lifeboat on the way down. Kirby then spent the next two hours floating in the ocean at night, injured and struggling to stay afloat. Kirby’s story ended much more fortunately than many others.

Another man overboard incident in Australia occurred in May of this year, when Kristen Schroder and Paul Rossington both fell over the railing of the Carnival Spirit as it returned to Sydney at the end of a 10-day cruise.  It was not until the couple failed to disembark the next day that anyone even realized they were missing.  The couples’ bodies have never been found.

In 2010, Congress passed the Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act, which requires cruise lines to equip their vessels with systems designed to automatically capture images of persons going overboard or to notify the crew if a person falls overboard.  The law is intended to spur immediate rescue action when a passenger goes overboard, however, few cruise lines have implemented any technology that complies with the law.

Man overboard accidents and passenger disappearances are becoming more and more common, rendering the rendering the need for experienced legal counsel for the victims and victims’ families injured or killed in such accidents increasingly important.  According to one estimate, since 2000, there have been more than 200 man overboard cases around the world, despite the fact that only a fraction of such numbers have actually been reported by cruise lines.

As this blog has mentioned before, because cruise ship accidents are subject to different laws and much shorter statutes of limitations, sometimes as short as one year, they are best handled by experienced cruise ship accident attorneys.  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 has been representing the victims of cruise ship accidents for over four decades.  If you or someone you know has been injured in a cruise ship accident, contact the Florida cruise ship lawyers of Gerson and Schwartz, P.A. today.

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