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Articles Posted in Cruise Ship Accidents/Incidents

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

From slip and falls, food poisoning incidents, outbreaks, and shore excursion accidents, you are probably aware of the various ways people get hurt on cruises. However, you may not give much thought to the risks and hazards that cause injuries even before you set foot on the ship. In an average year, almost 5.6 million passengers depart Port Miami. The embarkation process can keep them in the terminal for a couple of hours as guests present cruise documents, show passports, and make arrangements for luggage. Negligence in maintaining port facilities, platforms, docks, and other public spaces can lead to injury-causing accidents. 

It is still possible to recover compensation under Florida cruise accident laws when someone is hurt in the port, and these claims contain fewer legal hurdles as compared to being at sea. Retaining a Miami cruise ship accident lawyer is still essential to level the playing field, since you will be going up against a multinational company with a large budget for defending claims. Keeping this important task in mind, there are additional To-Dos if you were hurt in a cruise terminal or port facilities.

Seek Medical Care

COVID-19 may have shut down the Miami cruise industry as it did much of the world in 2020, but sailings have returned to South Florida and demand remains sky high. NBC affiliate WPTV News Channel 5 recently reported that bookings are surging as vacationers feel comfortable embarking on cruises with mask mandates and sanitation measures in place.

However, while these policies may be effective in preventing the spread of COVID, there are numerous sources of outbreaks that remain problematic. The fact is that passengers are coming from diverse regions throughout the world, and then embarking upon a ship that includes many enclosed areas where crowds congregate. Any outbreak that develops can be sustained by crew members that remain on the vessel. 

As a result, travelers must remain vigilant about all ailments that tend to stem from cruise vacations. The cruise companies are still responsible for maintaining a safe environment and protecting passengers. You should consult with a Miami cruise ship injuries lawyer right away if you or a member of your group contracted any of the following:

There can be no doubt that a Disney cruise is fun for people of all ages. As a result, many parents entrust their children to onboard daycare facilities when they want to enjoy shore excursions or other adult activities. However, the adventure of a lifetime quickly turned to tragedy for one family who relied on this service to take care of their 3-year-old daughter. According to an October 14, 2021 article in South Florida’s NBC affiliate WPTV News Channel 5, the parents are suing the cruise line after the toddler was sexually assaulted by an older child at the facility. Representatives from Disney issued an official statement that the claims are without merit. 

The lawsuit lists five separate claims for monetary damages, and a Miami cruise ship injuries lawyer can explain the details if you are facing a similar situation. You may also benefit from reviewing how allegations of sexual assault may lead to multiple claims for compensation, based upon multiple breaches of duty by the cruise line.

  1.   Negligence for Sexual Assault: While this type of misconduct is obviously criminal in nature, this claim does NOT focus on the perpetrator. Instead, the allegation is that the cruise line did not exercise reasonable care in terms of security against criminal activity. Specifically, the family claims that the daycare center was understaffed, and that Disney failed to notify the parents about the attack.

You could be at risk of soft tissue injuries going about your average day at home, so it stands to reason that you could suffer this type of trauma while enjoying an action-packed cruise vacation. Soft tissue injuries are quite common, as they can impact almost any muscle, muscle group, ligament, or tendon in the human body. Researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine define numerous conditions in the category of soft tissue injuries, including:

  • Bruises;
  • Ligament sprains;

After coming to a grinding halt in 2020 due to COVID-19, the Florida cruise industry is expected to rebound in a massive way in 2021. Cruise Market Watch predicts that numbers will hit $23.8 billion as 13.9 million passengers book their cruise adventures, representing a 96.2% increase over the number of guests during the pandemic year. Though passengers can expect some changes onboard, one constant will remain the same: The biggest selling feature for cruise vacations is the extensive range of world-class amenities available. 

However, while the water features, shore excursions, and world-class onboard entertainment are enticing, there is one amenity you hope you never encounter — the need for medical treatment because of an accident or illness. Cruise ships have an obligation to ensure passengers receive essential care, but medical malpractice on Miami cruise ships is an unfortunate reality. Negligence by onboard health care providers can exacerbate your medical condition, so understanding the risks is important.

Risks for Injured and Sick Passengers

Sexual assault is a serious problem in Miami and throughout the US, but you never expect such a tragic offense to affect your cruise vacation. Unfortunately, statistics from the US Department of Transportation reveal that rape, sexual battery, molestation, and related crimes are not just confined to land. According to a publication on Cruise Line Incident Reports, there are approximately 100 reports of sexual assault every year worldwide on cruises operated by some of the biggest, most reputable operators. Not only is your trip of a lifetime horrifically damaged, but you could experience long-term physical and emotional consequences. 

If you or a loved one suffered sexual assault on a cruise vacation, you should make it a priority get in touch with a Miami cruise ship attorney right away to discuss your options. It may also be helpful to review a few facts about the legal process.

Issues with reporting paint a distorted view of sexual assault on cruises. On the one hand, victims are often reluctant to notify crew about these incidents; however, the cruise lines themselves are not always truthful about sexual assault to avoid a PR catastrophe. Because they are “flagged” in countries other than the US, particularly the Bahamas, Jamaica, and other Caribbean nations, they are not subject to our laws that require reporting. Together, these factors make it difficult to assess the risk of sexual assault on cruises.

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