Articles Posted in Cruise Ship Accidents/Incidents

While Port Miami is a bustling cruise destination year-round, this vacation hub will be even busier as we head into the peak season for Caribbean cruising that lasts from December through April. Industry group Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) reports that 100 percent of ships are projected to be back in service, and around 30 million passengers will have embarked on cruise vacations by the end of 2022. This return to normal is welcome to the cruise lines and employees, as well as for the guests that were eager to return to sailing. 

Almost 7 million cruise ship passengers travel through Port Miami every year. This figure is not surprising since around 45% of all guests on ships worldwide are visiting the Caribbean and Bahamas. It is also not a shock to learn that accidents are common with the wide range of excursions, exciting adventures, and onboard activities. Results of a survey indicate that 1 in 10 passengers reports being hurt during a cruise.

Injuries can ruin your vacation, but they can also lead to significant physical, financial, and emotional losses. You should consult with a Miami cruise ship accident attorney right away to evaluate your legal remedies, as the statistics are disturbing.

After arriving in your cabin, getting settled, and preparing to head out for your favorite activities, the last thing you want to do is participate in the cruise ship muster drill. Few, if any, passengers look forward to the safety briefing on what they feel is a secure vessel. However, muster drills developed out of the last ship people mistakenly thought was unsinkable. After the sinking of the Titanic, the International Convention on Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) developed standards for helping passengers understand safety basics. The muster drill has been an essential part of the cruise experience ever since. 

Cruise operators are required to conduct the muster drill within 24 hours after departure, so be ready to follow crew instructions. Failure to comply carries the serious consequences described below, and it could impact your rights if you are hurt in a Miami cruise ship accident. Some answers to FAQs should help you know what to expect.

What happens with a cruise ship muster drill? 

It does not take long for news to travel via social media, so videos of a recent brawl on a Carnival Cruise vacation started appearing on Twitter and TikTok even before the ship docked. An article in the Miami Herald covered the melee, which occurred on the Carnival Sunrise on September 9, 2022. According to witnesses, the altercation started with an argument over a chair at one of the ship’s many bars and quickly became violent. Various videos show individuals in bathing suits punching, beating, and kicking each other while others scream and attempt to break up the brawl.

Witnesses report that there seemed to be around 30 people involved in the fight. However, videos reveal that many onlookers may have suffered injuries from the brawlers or in attempts to get away. The story raises important questions about liability and the duty of cruise lines to keep passengers safe. You should discuss specific remedies with a Miami cruise ship accident lawyer, but a few legal points are helpful. 

Cruise Ship Notice of Hazards

Despite the major disruption across the global cruise industry in 2020, key performance indicators spell good news for passengers seeking sea-based adventures. In its publication on the state of the cruise industry, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) reported a major uptick in cruise activity over the last few months and signs that passenger volume is returning to normal levels. Projections reveal that passenger volume will spike more than 12% by the end of 2026. 

As more ships return to full capacity, you can also expect an expansive list of shore excursions to choose from to round out your cruise experience. There are adventures for all ages, interests, and fitness levels. While you mull options, it is important to avoid mistakes that could affect your dream trip. Some mishaps could even lead to injuries, so consulting with a Miami cruise ship accident lawyer is essential if you were hurt. Consider the following points when reviewing shore excursions.

Failing to Book Through the Cruise Line

Yes, there is a difference, and it can be a significant one. Singles cruises are geared toward younger individuals, with activities, excursions, and events planned around the themes of meeting new people and breaking the ice. Being a single ON a cruise means you are a passenger enjoying amenities alongside families, couples, and often other solo travelers. There are numerous attractions with both scenarios, but they do share a common element: You are surrounded by strangers, at least initially. Though you may meet new friends and rely on cruise ship crew to do their job in terms of security, you are on your own in terms of protecting yourself. 

As such, it is important to take into account a few safety tips for singles cruises and singles going on cruises. Plus, since you do have rights if you are injured, you can use some additional recommendations on what to do if you suffer harm in a Miami cruise ship accident.

Safety Tips for Singles on Cruise Vacations 

There is a popular misconception that working on a Miami cruise ship is a dream job, with crew members enjoying great weather, leading guests on fun excursions, and taking advantage of amazing amenities. In truth, cruise ship employees are exposed to significant hazards when performing job-related tasks. They work around heavy equipment and water attractions, all in a constantly moving environment made more dangerous by weather and rough seas. If you are a cruise ship employee who was hurt on the job, it is a comfort to know that you have legal options under the Jones Act, sometimes called Merchant Marine Act of 1920. 

The Jones Act establishes a type of federal workers’ compensation system for employees who might not be covered by state laws, but the legal requirements and process are different. It is wise to retain a Miami cruise ship accident lawyer to ensure you receive fair monetary damages for your losses, since the concepts are complicated. However, some information about your rights may be helpful.

Overview of Remedies Under the Jones Act

When you are enjoying cocktails at a bar or at home, you know the effects of alcohol. After just a drink, blood alcohol concentration (BAC) rises and there are impacts on the human body. Reflexes are slow and delayed, speech is slurred, and vision becomes blurry. A few more beverages, and the individual may become belligerent, lose muscle coordination, and pass out. Obviously, alcohol has the same effects when you are on a Miami cruise. However, there are certain unique factors that put passengers at a higher risk compared to imbibing around home. 

Cruise operators know guests like to cut loose on vacation, but they still have a duty to ensure responsible alcohol service. Being overserved puts you at risk, while other drunken passengers could be a threat to you and your family when you are entirely sober. It is wise to discuss your legal options with a Miami cruise ship accident lawyer if you suffered injuries, since you may qualify to recover compensation for your losses. An overview of the dangers of overserving cruise guests is also useful.

Risks of Alcohol Impairment on Cruises

The last thing you want ruining your cruise vacation is an injury of any kind, but data indicates that the risks of head trauma could follow you on board. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are more than 223,000 hospitalizations for traumatic brain injury (TBI) every year. Plus, more than 60,600 people are killed because of serious head injuries annually, at a rate of around 165 per day. When you consider the fact that up to 9 million people board cruises out of Florida yearly, you can see that you are not entirely safe even while on vacation. 

If you or a loved one sustained TBI or other head injuries in a cruise, you may be eligible for compensation due to negligence by the operator. A Miami cruise ship accident lawyer can assist with your remedies, but there are a few unique concerns to note.

TBI Risks and Cruise Activities

On February 18, 2022, the US Coast Guard announced that it had reluctantly suspended the search for a woman who went overboard a Carnival cruise during an altercation with security. The Miami Herald covered the incident in a recent article, stating that the passenger had been involved in a heated exchange with another guest in the hot tub area on the ship’s 10th deck. Security guards were in the process of separating the pair and removing the woman from the area, when the victim broke free and went over the rail. Crew members immediately launched a response by throwing a life ring and conducting a search, which the Coast Guard eventually took over. After a meticulous search-and-rescue over 2,500 nautical miles, officials suspended their efforts. 

There is no global authority on tracking these incidents, but some estimates indicate that more than 300 passengers have gone overboard since the early 2000s. This tragedy is a reminder about safety onboard, but it also raises multiple legal issues related to Miami cruise ship accidents. Some background information puts the incident into context.

Concerns and Questions About Passenger Overboard Incidents

When you board one of the enormous cruise ships that sail out of Miami and South Florida ports, you are essentially stepping onto a floating city. Unfortunately, this means the potential for criminal activity exists just as it does on land. The US Department of Transportation maintains a list of cruise line incident reports, and the good news is that most are related to public intoxication and crew swiftly diffuses conflict. However, sexual assault, violent attacks, theft, and related offenses are still a threat. 

Cruise vessels have a wide array of amenities for passengers, but they are also equipped with much of the same infrastructure and personnel that you expect in a typical municipality. Despite efforts to establish safety initiatives and maintain skilled security staff, criminal activity is still a problem. You should consult with a Miami cruise ship accident lawyer if you suffered harm, though it is also useful to know how cruise operators handle onboard crime.

Investigations of Criminal Activity

Contact Information