Articles Tagged with Cruise ship lawyer

Cruise lines have shipboard accidents unique to the high seas but also experience some of the same problems as hotels and parks on land. Cruise ships, like hotels, did not assign lifeguards to shipboard swimming pools and instead emphasized parental supervision. Some tragedies have occurred. If simple safety measures were in place, then more likely than not many of these tragedies could have been avoided.

Multiple Ship Drowning Incidents: What is the Cruise Line Industry Doing About it?

An 8-year-old boy drowned in a pool on Royal Caribbean’s International Anthem of the Seas last summer. In 2015, a family filed a lawsuit against that line and demanded lifeguards after a 4-year-old almost drowned in a wave pool on its Oasis of the Sea. Two years ago, a 6-year-old almost drowned on Independence of the Seas and suffered a brain injury.

Cruise Lines and Terror Attacks: Can Cruise Ships Be Liable?

In early October, the Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa was the first cruise ship to sail into Tunis, Tunisia since terror attacks ravaged the area in 2015. Last year, 59 tourists were brutally killed by terrorists as they visited the area. Twenty-one tourists who were traveling with MSC Cruises and Costa Cruises were attacked at the Bardos museum in March. After the passengers got off of the buses used by the excursion companies that were contracted by the cruise lines, terrorists opened fire. Many survivors and family members of those killed alleged that the cruise lines did not provide adequate security for their passengers and in fact offered no information about terrorist activity in the area. Florida cruise ship accident attorneys can hold cruise lines liable when their failure to provide reasonable security measures causes passengers harm.

How could a cruise line be responsible for terrorist activity? The answer goes back to a cruise line’s responsibility to act with reasonable care in order to keep passengers safe. After the attacks in Tunisia, government officials alleged that they were foreseeable. In fact, Tunisia fired its head security experts and several high-ranking police officers. If notice of a dangerous condition is imputed on the cruise line, then the cruise line has a legal duty to take reasonable action to avoid the harm. This can be in the form of warning passengers or possibly avoiding areas where the risk of harm to passengers is likely to ocurr.

The Zika Virus (“Zika”) has been making headlines for several months now. Though at one time, the virus did not appear to be a major threat, it has now spread to many destinations throughout the Caribbean, Central America, South America, and in various states in the United States. Many have canceled their travel plans to avoid coming in contact with the disease, which is carried by Aedes mosquitoes. Pregnant women are especially at risk should they contract Zika since it has been linked to birth defects such as microcephaly. Aside from mosquito bites, it is also believed that Zika may be spread through sexual intercourse. Therefore, travelers including cruise ship passengers who are infected with Zika may spread it to others.  In these instances, a cruise ship injury attorney in Florida may be able to help.

The mosquitoes that spread Zika thrive in warm, humid conditions. Many countries that have reported local transmission of Zika are popular cruise destinations—such as Jamaica, Mexico, and, most recently, the Bahamas and St. Kitts. In addition, Miami, which is a major departure port for many cruise lines, has reported cases of local transmission.

How can a cruise line be held responsible if a passenger contracts Zika? First, cruise lines have a duty to warn their passengers of any dangers that may be present in any ports. This includes the presence of any diseases that may be transmitted to passengers. Once cruise lines have knowledge that a disease, such as Zika, is present at any of its destinations, the cruise line should get in touch with passengers that have booked the cruise to provide information so that the passengers may decide if they wish to travel. Additionally, cruise lines should post this information on their websites so that potential guests may make an informed decision about their vacations.

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.

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.

100_0677While a cruise ship voyage can be a dream vacation, accidents and crime may occur. Just recently, Gary Stevenson, 27 years of age, admitted he stabbed a cruise ship worker, Katy Bourke, three times because she refused to have sex with him. Mr. Stevenson, a hard drinker, essentially snapped and fatally attacked her. Before the stabbings, Stevenson punched her repeatedly in the face and put his hands around her throat. After killing her, Stevenson then cut his wrists in a fake suicide attempt. Officers discovered Bourke’s naked body next to her bed near a large kitchen-knife. The officers were notified by Katy’s friends when she failed to show up for work.  

If you or a loved one is a victim of a crime at sea, it is important that an experienced maritime lawyer is retained for your case. Cruise ship companies have their own lawyers who work for them following an incident and so should you. The Miami cruise ship lawyers at Gerson & Schwartz, PA provide high quality legal representation. For more information call us toll free at 1-877-475-2905 or contact us online.

The Basics of Murder

9513572473_e39619123aCruise ship vacations provide for the perfect getaway. However, risks of injury and/or crime are relatively high for those embarking on a cruise. Recently, yet another cruise ship passenger fell off a balcony. This happens all too often. A Texas man fell off the balcony of a ship off the coast of Key Largo, Florida. He is currently being sought by search-and-rescue crews. This tragic event occurred about 36 nautical miles south of the Carysfort Reef Light. At around 11:00 p.m. on a Saturday night, David Mossman, age 46, fell 100 feet from the 10th deck of the cruise ship and into the dark water. This event was witnessed by another passenger and it was caught on security camera footage.

Cruise ship incidents, though not always fatal, can happen to any passenger, or crew member, at anytime. For this reason, it is critical that you take several safety precautions while you enjoy your cruise ship vacation. If you are injured, you may be entitled to compensation. It is imperative that you hire an attorney for your case. The Miami maritime lawyers at Gerson & Schwartz PA have the experience and skill needed to take on your case. Our attorneys are experienced in filing claims against all major cruise lines. We know how to aggressively handle maritime lawsuits. We will fight hard to enforce your legal rights and we will not hesitate to bring your case to trial if a fair settlement offer is not made.    

How to Stay Safe on Your Cruise

1c919lp8While swarms of people embark on cruise ships annually, crimes committed upon them seem to run rampant. What is sad is that many individuals who commit crimes aboard cruise ships actually get away with their crimes. It is a mess. What makes it even messier is the existence of the jurisdiction issue. A congressional hearing in 2007 revealed that in the past three years, 28 people have disappeared while on cruise ships. Of these, only three have been found! There have been 200 reported cases of assault or sexual misconduct aboard cruise ships. There have been four cases reported of grand theft. True, this may not appear to be a huge number of incidents.  Yet, it is a large number when you take into consideration the several nuances of enforcing the law at sea. Most of these cases have not been sufficiently investigated and few have even been solved.

If you are a victim of crime or injury at sea, to best safeguard your interests, it is imperative that you hire an attorney for your case. The experienced Miami maritime lawyers at Gerson & Schwartz PA are here for you. We have the experience and skill needed to take on your case.  Our attorneys are experienced in filing claims against all major cruise lines. We know how to aggressively handle maritime lawsuits. We will fight hard to enforce your legal rights and we will not hesitate to bring your case to trial if a fair settlement offer is not made.

Jurisdiction at Sea

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