church-art-1195906-300x241A Florida court recently heard an appeal in a cruise ship personal injury case. However, rather than the more common personal injury case brought by a passenger, this case was being brought by a gentleman who was working under contract to conduct art auctions on cruise ships. A Serbian national and resident, the plaintiff brought the suit against the company he was working for, alleging that he injured his back while working. He initially filed the suit with the Miami-Dade circuit court, but the court dismissed the case pursuant to a mandatory forum selection clause.

Relevant to the case at hand, the forum selection clause stated that all legal proceedings, brought by either party, relating to the contract were to be brought in the Turks and Caicos Islands, except that the defendant company could sue in other forums if it was in pursuit of obtaining an injunction as related to the confidentiality and non-compete provisions of the contract.

On appeal, the court found the mandatory forum selection clause passed the legal test as being valid and enforceable because it did not believe that the forum was unjust and unreasonable so as to constitute no forum at all. Specifically, the court found that because the Turks and Caicos Islands are a British Territory and are thus a part of the British common law system, therefore any necessary appeals would come to the highest courts of the United Kingdom. The court stated its opinion that these courts were certainly capable of reviewing the relevant evidence and determining the applicability of relevant law. Thus, it did not find that the courts constituted “no forum at all.”

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The Celebrity Solstice ship has reportedly been dealing with a series of Norovirus outbreaks, according to reports dos-screen-virus-warning-1243783-300x225and a recent passenger’s statement. The passenger stated that he and his wife had been informed of the prior outbreak of the gastrointestinal virus after their ship left the Sydney port for Auckland. The passenger claims that it was not until the ship left Melbourne that the captain announced to passengers that an earlier cruise had an outbreak of the Norovirus, and informed guests to take extra sanitary precautions such as extensive hand washing and using hand sanitizer.

In a statement, Celebrity Cruises reportedly confirmed cases of the illness in passengers and crew, and claimed that it had sent a text message about the outbreak in informing passengers that it would need additional time to clean the ship.

Norovirus can be transmitted through infected food or water, by personal contact, or with contact with a surface that has been contaminated.

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cruise-ship-1403462-300x191According to the Miami Dade Police Department and various news sources, earlier this month an eight year old girl fell two stories from an interior deck on the Carnival Glory cruise ship while the boat was docked at PortMiami. Sources reported that the child, from the Bahamas, was on the ship cruising with her family.

The little girl had reportedly been waiting to disembark with her family, and was standing near a railing with her little brother when she fell. The girl was then taken to the ship’s medical center before being transferred to a hospital where she died.

A spokesperson for Carnival stated that the fall appeared to be an accident, and that the railing where the girl was standing was believed to have been 47 inches high. It is unclear from the statement whether the railing failed, the girl somehow fell over or through the railing, or something else happened that pushed the child over the ledge. In any event, it is an unfortunate tragedy.

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The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reached a rather controversial opinion last month in the case of Pizzino v. NCL (Bah.) Ltd., 2017 U.S. App. (2017), where it essentially endorsed the position that even if a cruise line employee creates a hazardous condition resulting in an accident, the plaintiff must prove actual or constructive notice in order to receive compensation for resultant injuries.

In the case, an employee of the cruise ship was engaging in his duties that required him to mop the area within a caution-wet-floor-sign-1-1444538-300x225coffee bar area. He transported two buckets, one filled with a water and bleach solution, and another with clean water (presumably to cleanse the area following the bleach). On the evening of the incident, although the employee testified that he did not spill the water nor see it spilled, the plaintiff’s husband testified that the surveillance footage of the area seemed to indicate that one of the buckets tilted and collided with the employee’s knee, perhaps spilling the water. There was no evidence mentioned in the appeal that anyone else may have spilled water.

Shortly after the employee had retrieved the buckets of water, the plaintiff slipped and fell forward sustaining several injuries including broken wrists. Though she did not see any water prior to her fall, after the incident she noticed that there were four to six inch puddles of water on the floor. There was no wet floor sign present at the scene.

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Passengers who book cruises for pleasure sometimes reach an unwanted destination. Our  Miami cruise ship injury attorneys review numerous cases where lines do not meet the standard of care they owe to their passengers or adequately meet the challenges of unexpected mechanical problems or weather.

We recently learned about an intended  pleasure cruise in Great Britain where 400 passengers battled seasickness for six hours while the craft confronted horrendous weather conditions. According to reports, the sick passengers engaged in a near mutiny as the craft underwent tilting and tipping in rough seas.

Pleasure cruise faces choppy seas

Teenagers are victims in shipboard assaults

Our Miami cruise ship injury attorneys see the peril of shipboard crimes such as sexual assault and the law’s inability to address these tragedies. These consequences are alarming for victims under 18 as these media reports show.

Cruise line offers apology and trip to assault victim

Bad weather reports and communications cited in cargo ship sinking

As Florida cruise ship attorneys, we review the causes of a cruise ship or maritime accident. The National Transportation Safety investigated the death of 33 crew members in the 2015 sinking of a cargo ship in the most fatal maritime accident of its kind in 50 years. It preliminary findings revealed long-standing causes of these tragedies. The NTSB called for improved maritime communications and weather forecasting.

El Faro sails into hurricane

How to Avoiding Serious Injury During Water-Based Activities

During the summer months, many people in the Miami area enjoy recreational water activities like boating, jet skis, water skiing, and wake boarding. While these kinds of activities are undoubtedly enjoyable and often exciting, they also expose participants to a serious risk of injury. Below are some ways to minimize your risk of injury while engaging in water-based recreation. In the event that you are hurt while playing in the water this summer, it is important that you discuss your legal options with a Miami maritime accident lawyer as soon as you can.

  • Ensure that you have all proper safety equipment for your activity. Lifejackets or personal flotation devices should be worn on boats, and inflatable toys are not a substitute for a these lifesaving devices. Children should be outfitted with life vests, helmets, or other safety equipment that is properly fitted to their size.

Traveling on a cruise ship may be the idyllic vacation. However, passengers should walk on the gangway with open eyes. Ships may sail away from society but also carry its problems such as negligence, medical emergencies and crime. These vessels also have their own unique cruise ship accidents like passengers falling overboard.

Falling overboard and Passenger Illness


Passengers disappear from cruise ships. Reports show that 116 passengers were reported missing from cruises from 2011 through 2015. Ships are not immune from sickness. The relative proximity and close space may increase the spreading of flu and other contagious illnesses. Furthermore, physicians are less regulated because they may be licensed in any country or state.

Cruise lines have shipboard accidents unique to the high seas but also experience some of the same problems as hotels and parks on land. Cruise ships, like hotels, did not assign lifeguards to shipboard swimming pools and instead emphasized parental supervision. Some tragedies have occurred. If simple safety measures were in place, then more likely than not many of these tragedies could have been avoided.

Multiple Ship Drowning Incidents: What is the Cruise Line Industry Doing About it?

An 8-year-old boy drowned in a pool on Royal Caribbean’s International Anthem of the Seas last summer. In 2015, a family filed a lawsuit against that line and demanded lifeguards after a 4-year-old almost drowned in a wave pool on its Oasis of the Sea. Two years ago, a 6-year-old almost drowned on Independence of the Seas and suffered a brain injury.

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