Articles Posted in Negligence

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.

Last week, officials from the U.S. Coast Guard made the decision to call off the search for a man who fell overboard while sailing on a Carnival Cruise ship. Security cameras on board the ship recorded 24-year-old Kevin Wellons falling from the 11th deck of the ship while the vessel was sailing near Abaco, Bahamas. The cameras did not record how or why the Warner Robins, Georgia man fell from the Carnival Elation, and only caught his descent into the water.

Wellons fell overboard at about 2:45 a.m. on the morning of February 13, 2017. Wellons’ wife reported him missing to the ship’s authorities after she awoke around 8 a.m. By 11 a.m., the ship had deployed rescue boats, helicopters, and had notified the Coast Guard, but had no luck locating Wellons. The search was called off a week after the accident with Wellons presumed dead.

The Coast Guard states that they do not suspect foul play involved in Wellons’ death, and his presumed drowning was likely an accident. Further investigation will show if the cruise line was negligent in failing to prevent Wellons’ death. If you or a loved one was injured or suffered an accident while on a cruise ship, the Florida cruise ship accident lawyers at Gerson & Schwartz, P.A., can help.

Cruise Ships Have Accident Risks at Every Turn

When you sign up for a cruise, you expect to experience a relaxing vacation that involves, food, drink, entertainment, and scenic locales. These ocean behemoths are practical floating cities that can be home to several thousands of people at a time. Just like a city on the shore, cruise ships can expose people to many different risks of serious injury or bodily harm. Some of the more common causes of cruise ship injuries are detailed below. Our Florida cruise ship lawyers will outline some of the more common type incidents below.

Slip and Fall Accidents

Cruise Line Liability for Injuries and Severe Weather Conditions

We like to think that for the most part, cruising is safe. However, with any type of transportation, automobile, railroad, plane, or cruise ship—accidents may happen. When the negligence of the cruise ship operator, staff captain lead to injuries, the cruise line may be liable. Experienced cruise ship injury attorneys in Miami, Florida help these victims obtain the maximum compensation available under the law.

Most cruise lines sail all year long even during hurricane season. Our firm has represented cruise ship passengers in situations where severe weather was in the immediate forecast. For instance, during hurricane season, cruise line operators still decide to stay the course and thinking they can out run, or maneuver around some of these storms. Some cruise ship captains have testified that the cruise ship is made to withstand extreme weather conditions. But are cruise ship passengers? Probably not. Cruise line officials should monitor weather conditions to ensure their passengers will be safe during their cruises. If it appears that inclement weather, high seas, or winds may compromise the safety of cruise passengers, the cruise should be rerouted to avoid the storm. Perhaps not even depart from port. If a storm arises after a cruise has embarked, the captain must determine what reasonable steps should be taken.

Leading Cruise Lines Neglect Swimming Pool Safety Despite Tragic Drowning Accidents

When families elect to take advantage of the convenience and luxury of a cruise, the children predictably will spend lots of time in the pool.  Many parents do not worry about the safety of their kids because cruise ships are filled with large staffs that often create an illusion of safety.  What parents might not know is that several major cruise lines elect not to provide lifeguards for the safety of their guests.  The failure to implement this basic safety measure is particularly troubling because the cruise industry has had its share of drowning and near-drowning accidents involving children.  Given that approximately 1.5 million children travel on cruise ships annually, the investment in lifeguards to reduce the risk of drowning accidents seems to be a justified expense.  Nonetheless, our cruise ship lawyers recognize that major cruise lines continue to gamble on the safety of their young guests by ignoring this obvious safety precaution.

Cruise Lines Continue to Place Saving Money Over Passenger Safety

According to the United States Coast Guard, a Carnival cruise ship passenger fell overboard on a the Carnival Ecstasy over Labor Day Weekend.  But if you ask Carnival cruise lines, they have already publicly stated that the passenger was witnessed jumping overboard. If Carnivals version is the truth, then this is poor public relations in my opinion. Regardless, these are certainly very different versions of what happened. The cruise ship passenger has been identified as Rina Patel, of New York. The vessel was located about 15 miles off Grand Bahama Island. Our cruise ship lawyers are monitoring the situation. According to reports, USCG “man overboard procedures” were initiated. However, it is unclear what procedures if any Carnival followed and if they did, when they were initiated.  If the passenger in fact jumped, then there should be evidence to support Carnival’s public statement that the passenger was observed jumping. Yet, the USCG reports and other media outlets suggests negligence. However, what facts the investigation yields and what the CCTV cameras show will shed light on whether this was accidental or not.

As a maritime personal lawyer in Miami, Florida that has litigated many cruise ship cases against many  cruise lines operators including Carnival, it is astonishing that Carnival would come out and publicly state that the passenger jumped or committed suicide before any of the investigation or facts or details are revealed about the investigation.

The Cruise Ship Vessel Safety and Security Act mandates that serious crimes including missing person incidents  are reported immediately to the United States Coast Guard. However, there is no private right of action for failure to violate this important federal statute. So, while the guidelines by CVSSA are straight forward, there is virtually little in the way of a legal remedy in the event these rules promulgated by the US Congress are not followed.

OCEAN BUOY 2A personal injury that occurs on a cruise ship can have a number of causes. A collision with another ship, although relatively rare, is one such cause of personal injury that is rarely discussed. One report of a cruise ship that collided with a ferry has sparked interest among many in the legal community. Many maritime lawyers are expecting some type of legal action to take place against the cruise line, either from passengers or crew members, in relation to the event.

Seeking Legal Help for Cruise Ship Accidents

Cruise ships are supposed to be navigated and directed in a safe and efficient manner in an effort to avoid collisions. This did not happen with the UK-based Cruise and Maritime Voyages. A recent report shows that this cruise ship collided with a ferry. At this time, there are no official reports of injury, but it would not be surprising that a cruise ship collision did result in some type of injury for some of the passengers and crew on board.

Over the Juy 4th weekend, it was reported that multiple passengers were seriously injured on the Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas. The most serious incidents includes a report that an 8 year old child drowned in the ship pool. In addition, several other passengers reported orthopedic injuries and possibly broken bones due to slip, trip and fall hazards on the Anthem as well. One passenger has already contacted the cruise ship injury lawyers at Gerson & Schwartz, PA to discuss potential clams she may have against this cruise line for their negligence. Under federal maritime law, cruise line operators are required to provide reasonable care under the circumstances. What reasonable care means however, depends on the facts of each case and can vary depending on a number of factors that need to be carefully analyzed by a law firm that specializes in maritime law.

The latest drowning incident highlights the long need for cruise ships to employ lifeguards in their pools facilities. Legal and safety advocates state that the cruise lines are not legally required to employ lifeguards. However, given the increase number of drowning incidents in recent years, cruise line operators have been pressed to utilize lifeguards just as any other water, or recreation facility to make these attractions more safe. In this case, the 8 year old boy had to be medevaced from the ship. He was eventually taken back to Staten Island. His current medical condition is unknown.  The investigation into the drowning incident and other unfortunate accidents and injuries that occurred on the latest Anthem of the Seas will be evaluated over the next several months. Gerson & Schwartz lawyers have over 45 years experience representing accident and injury victims on both land and sea. Our lawyers are ready and willing to assist you with a potential legal claim against all of the major cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian, Holland America and others.  For more information on how we can help, contact the cruise ship accident attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, PA, for more information. All cases are handled under a contingent fee.

cruise ship poolAre you contemplating embarking on a cruise ship vacation? Be aware that accidents on cruise ships seem to happen with regularity. Often times the accident may be life threatening or even fatal. A common type of accident on cruise ships is drowning. Even though this is a common tragedy, cruise ships fail to hire lifeguards to monitor cruise ship swimming areas. As a matter of fact, the only cruise line that hires lifeguards is the Disney Cruise line.       

Just recently, a 4-year-old child almost drowned in a cruise ship wave pool. He was a passenger of the Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas. The cruise ship had just departed from Port Everglades, when unbeknownst to his mother, the boy entered the wave pool. The young child was then “swept away.” It was reported that he was below water for over six minutes. Another passenger spotted the drowning child. This accident prompted the ship to return to Port Everglades. The young child, in critical condition, was rushed to a nearby hospital. This accident prompted additional demands for lifeguards on all cruise ships. This demand is echoed by Andrew Coggins, a cruise industry expert. Mr. Coggins maintains that all cruise lines should have lifeguards and all cruise lines should require children wear flotation vests when near the pools.

If you or your loved one were injured on a cruise ship, it is imperative that you hire an experienced attorney. The Miami maritime lawyers at Gerson & Schwartz, PA have the experience and skill need to aggressively take on your case. Contact our attorneys today at 305-371-6000 or via email at info@gslawusa.com to schedule a FREE consultation.    

bacteriaCases of gastrointestinal illness (“GI”) have grown to become a serious problem for various cruise lines. The cases are growing in number. Today, there are several cruise lines that are specifically required to report the total number of GI illness cases. These cruise lines are participating in the Vessel Sanitation Program (“VSP”).  

Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) there was a severe gastrointestinal outbreak on the Ocean Princess cruise ship of the Princess Cruises cruise line. From this apparent outbreak, 63 out of 603 passengers (or 10.45%) became ill while on the cruise. Seven crewmembers also became ill. This notable outbreak occurred during the cruise ship’s February 13th through March 7th, 2016 voyage. Among all those sickened, the predominant symptoms were vomiting and diarrhea. In response to this outbreak, the cruise ship’s crewmembers, those not sick, increased their cleaning and disinfection procedures, collected stool samples from the sickened passengers and crewmembers for testing and made daily reports of gastrointestinal illness cases. The CDS Vessel Sanitation Program (“VSP”) is currently monitoring the outbreak and the ship’s response procedures.  

Have you or a loved one suffered from an illness while on a cruise ship?  If it is found that the cruise ship was at fault for your illness, you may be entitled to compensation.  To best protect your interests, it is imperative that you retain an experienced attorney.  The Miami maritime lawyers at Gerson & Schwartz PA are here to help. At Gerson & Schwartz, PA we provide high quality legal representation. For more information call us toll free at 1-877-475-2905 or contact us online.   

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