Cruise line sued for Mother’s Day overboard death
A get-away vacation cruise with girlfriends that was on the victim’s bucket list turned into an unthinkable tragedy for the family of a Carnival Cruise Line passenger. In one of the most serious cruise ship accidents, she fell off the ship and drowned in the Gulf of Mexico in May 2016. The Coast Guard ultimately shared the tragic news with her husband on Mother’s Day weekend and he had the unspeakable job of telling their four children. The family hired a cruise ship injury law firm and the family filed a wrongful death lawsuit. The lawsuit which was filed in federal court, includes allegations that are seen in other personal injury cases analogous to owners and operators of resorts provide reasonable safety measures for their patrons. In this particular case, the duty of care that is owed is a a duty cruise ship passengers.
The victim was obviously and seriously intoxicated on the evening of the accident and the crew continued serving her alcohol, according to the lawsuit. Shipboard video revealed that she later went on deck, stepped on a chair, climbed on the railing and sat with her back on the water. She then fell backward and into the water at 2:04 a.m. The plaintiff’s attorney said that the ship did not issue an alert, stop, slow down, turn or launch a lifeboat. The fall was videotaped with infrared cameras but was not viewed until later and the ship’s captain did not notify the U.S. Coast Guard for 15 hours after the fall was viewed. Friends told her husband that she was missing the next morning while the crew went to her cabin and posted her picture for other passengers.
This lawsuit is a repeat of an ongoing problem. An industry expert found that nine passengers fell overboard in 2017 while there 294 of these incidents since 1995. In addition to damages, this lawsuit seeks to compel cruise lines to install additional systems that detect and sound an alert when a passenger falls overboard. A Congressional bill is also pending would require systems that would require instantaneous notification and other procedures when a passenger falls overboard. One company also developed a system costing $1 million for the installation of cameras and laser sensors to detect a person falling overboard. These would detect that motion, immediately transmit a signal to the bridge or ship security officer and would allow the Captain to take quicker action. No cruise line has purchased this system.
Carnival said that its railings meet or exceed requirements and the victim mounted these railings before falling. Its spokesperson also said that its ships are equipped with overboard cameras and overboard alarm systems and it is testing improved technology. Cruise ship accident victims and their families may have to overcome several maritime laws while pursuing a lawsuit. Experienced cruise ship lawyers in Miami may help assure that can seek fair and just compensation. If you were injured by cruise line negligence, contact a cruise ship lawyer at the Miami Florida personal injury law firm of Gerson & Schwartz, PA specializes in cruise ship accident cases. For a free case consultation, call 877-475-2905 today for a free consultation.