Cruise Ship Homicide

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 & 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.     

Murder Defined

The crime of murder is defined as the unlawful killing of another human. There are several degrees of murder and manslaughter. The type of homicide determines the prosecutor’s requirements and the possible punishment. The most serious of the homicides is first-degree murder. This includes premeditated killings, felony murders, and murders that are committed during specified offenses. Second-degree murder, on the other hand, requires the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant acted with a depraved mind, without regard to human life. Second-degree murder occurs when the defendant lacked the premeditation requirement for first-degree murder.

Voluntary manslaughter is another degree of homicide. It is found when a person intentionally kills another while under adequate provocation. Because of the provocation, the person must have felt temporary anger, heat of passion, or emotion that instantly resulted in the intent to kill or the intent to commit the act that ultimately resulted in the person’s death. Moreover, involuntary manslaughter occurs when the defendant acted, or killed, with culpable negligence.  Culpable negligence is the disregard for human life while engaging in wanton or reckless behavior.

Who Do You Sue?

If your loved one was murdered by a crewmember on a cruise ship, you may have a strong case against the cruise line itself. The law states that cruise ships departing from United States ports are considered common carriers. A common carrier owes its passengers a heightened duty of care in regards to protecting them from physical harm and guaranteeing they arrive at their destinations safely. This particular duty of care owed to passengers, of course, includes protecting them from crewmembers’ rapes, assaults, murders, and other criminal attacks. If a passenger suffers injury at the fault of the cruise line, he or she (or family member, if murder occurred) may sue the cruise line for damages. Types of damages recoverable include, but are not limited to, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, please be advised that you must carefully read the back of the cruise ship ticket. It will indicate which state’s court has jurisdiction over the case and which law applies to your case.   

Take Action

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a crime on a cruise ship, contact the maritime lawyers of Gerson & Schwartz PA. Our law office specializes representing crime victims at sea. At Gerson & Schwartz, PA all of our lawyers licensed to practice law in all Florida state and federal courts. We provide aggressive quality legal representation. Contact us today for a FREE consultation. Se Habla Espanol.  

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