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Accidents can happen on cruise ships just like any other location, but the significant difference if you suffer serious injuries is that medical treatment is limited on a vessel. Ships sailing out of Miami and the rest of the US must comply with the standards set by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), which are quite basic. The vessel’s infirmary must have wheelchairs, spine immobilizing backboard, oxygen, defibrillators, and equipment to assess vital signs, among other requirements. 

Clearly, a cruise ship infirmary is intended to manage minor medical emergencies. However, many accidents require major medical intervention, possibly including surgery. Depending on the injuries, the staff may or may not be able to take care of your immediate needs. It is challenging to figure out your rights and remedies, so you should contact a Miami cruise ship accident attorney in such a situation. Some background information is also helpful for understanding how these cases work.

Cruise Ship Injuries That May Require Surgery

In a story that is just as likely to make you squeamish as downright fearful about safety on cruises, a Florida cruise line received the lowest score ever for an inspection. A news report covered the April 27, 2023, inspection conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and which revealed more than 50 violations of Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP), which was established to regulate cleanliness and hygiene on board. Not only do these violations threaten safety from illness, but some could even lead to cruise ship accidents.

The VSP exists for passenger safety, and cruise ships must meet the requirements to pass the inspection. In the recent case, the ship earned 67 out of 100; 85 points is a passing score. Operators will undoubtedly be working hard to get the vessel into compliance, and no injuries or illnesses have been reported. A Miami cruise ship accident lawyer is essential if you were hurt in any type of incident on board, but it is interesting to understand what could have gone wrong – at the cost of passenger safety.

Food Preparation Issues

The dangers of working onboard a ship at sea are clear, but not being in a land-based location means many of the protections of federal and state workers’ compensation laws do not apply. Fortunately, there is a statute that closes this gap. The Jones Act extends the protections of the Federal Employer Liability Act (FELA), which pays compensation to qualifying employees who are injured on the job. Under the Jones Act, you could be entitled to benefits for maintenance and cure, and these amounts offer valuable financial support after a seaman suffers harm in a maritime accident. 

Florida boasts almost 8,500 miles of coastline, along with numerous shipping ports and cruise passenger terminals along the way. The maritime industry is extensive, so it is important for those who earn a living through it to know their rights. There are many details that apply to Jones Act claims, so trust a Miami maritime injuries lawyer for assistance. An overview of maintenance and cure is also helpful.

Losses Covered by Maintenance and Cure

Though there is some competition from ports further north in Florida, data on cruise lines in Miami reveals that demand for vacations at sea remains high. Officials from PortMiami report that 4.02 million passengers boarded cruise ships in 2022, and the numbers are expected to increase in 2023. Part of the reason is being able to move more passengers efficiently and effectively through new, upgraded terminals funded by the cruise lines. Another factor is that cruise vacations are even more affordable than ever, with packages, perks, and discounts available to attract travelers. 

As passenger volume increases and cruise ships are able to accommodate thousands of guests, the risk of accidents is also on the rise. Onboard amenities and activities on a water-based vessel could lead to injuries, and the cruise line is liable in most cases for not keeping the ship safe. However, actions by a victim also play a role, so you should consult with a Miami cruise ship accident attorney about the effects on your rights. An overview is also useful.

How Comparative Negligence Works

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted in 1990 to protect people with medical conditions in the same way as other laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, sex, national origin, and other characteristics. The sweeping legislation sets standards for accessibility in public places and requires private businesses to make reasonable accommodations to support those with disabilities. The ADA does apply to cruise ships via rules and regulations established by the US Department of Transportation (DOT). Vessels that use US ports or sail in US waters must comply with the accessibility standards, including any cruise in or out of Miami. 

Even if you are familiar with some of the basics of ADA, the statute is different when you are on board a ship traveling through unpredictable seas and carrying thousands of other passengers. Plus, cruise lines have been inconsistent with their efforts to enable reasonable accommodations, potentially leading to serious injuries. Consult with a Miami cruise ship accident lawyer to learn more about your rights, but some background is informative.

Accessible Cabins

When you are on board a cruise out of Miami, miles from shore and surrounded by nothing but water, you might think that fire is the least of your concerns. Therefore, it is shocking to learn how frequently these accidents occur and the ways cruise lines try to minimize their own negligence. According to a Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) report on operational accidents, there were 27 fires or explosions over the 10-year study period. These incidents are preventable, yet they put thousands of passengers and crew at risk of serious injuries. 

The causes of cruise ship fires vary, and operators have a duty to protect those onboard. They also have a legal obligation to mount an appropriate response, but cruise lines tend to react in ways that advance their own financial interests. You do have rights if you or a member of your group was injured in a fire or explosion, so consult with a Miami cruise ship accident lawyer about legal options. An overview is also informative.

Common Causes Behind Cruise Ship Fires and Explosions

Miami is the Cruise Capital of the World for good reason, being ideally located for sailings to the Caribbean, Bahamas, Mexico, and other exciting destinations. As of 2023 figures, there are more than 20 cruise lines at Port Miami, operating 55 ships that cater to a range of passenger ages, interests, and budgets. There are different reasons you might choose one cruise line over another, but they all have one thing in common: Guests are bound to numerous rules during a cruise vacation, and they exist for the safety, comfort, and enjoyment of all passengers. 

Rules might seem like a hassle when you are on vacation and just want to experience the fun, but it is a mistake to violate them. Breaking the rules could result in being removed from the ship, ruining your trip. However, the stakes are higher when you do not follow safety requirements. You put yourself at risk of injury, and you could even harm your legal rights. You should consult with a Miami cruise ship accident attorney about details and review some of the key rules to never disobey.

No Smoking or Vaping

It is beyond exciting after you book your first cruise vacation and the departure date approaches. When you are cruising out of Miami, the Cruise Capital of the World, you will enjoy deluxe accommodations, stunning amenities, and a dizzying array of shore excursions. There are fun activities for guests of all ages, yet plenty of opportunities to relax. First-time cruises traveling with the family, on a romantic trip, or an action-packed vacation with friends will not suffer from a shortage of things to do. 

If you have never been on a cruise before, you are probably doing your homework about what to pack, planning for excursions, and other basics. However, you may not focus on another important topic for cruise vacations: Safety. You will be briefed on ship and water safety upon departure, but there are additional factors that could put you at risk. A Miami cruise ship accident lawyer can explain legal remedies if you were hurt, and a few tips will help you protect your group.

Bars and Nightlife 

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? 

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