Articles Tagged with Florida cruise ship attorneys

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

Just when it seems that the cruise industry really can’t ignore common sense safety precautions any more than they have already, new information comes out guaranteed to surprise anybody with a modicum of common sense. This time it has to do with national news reports revealing the lack of safety precautions used by cruise ships at their onboard pools.

Report reveals Lack of Lifeguards

An NBC News Today Show report recently revealed that many cruise lines have no lifeguards at or around their onboard pools, despite more than 1.5 children million cruising every year (although lifeguards are a safety precaution for all passengers, not just children).

A strange rash of cruise passengers falling overboard has struck the cruise industry lately. And while no lawsuit have been filed, the stories still highlight safety issues in the cruise industry, and problems that need to be addressed.

Laundry List of Overboard Cases

A Carnival Triumph passenger’s body was found at sea after he fell off the deck of the ship. The incident happened just off the coast of Mexico. There was surveillance video, but no word yet on why the man fell or how.

When you take a cruise, you may or may not notice the flag flying on the top of the ship. If you look, you’ll notice the flag usually isn’t an American one. And if you listen to cruise commercials you may hear the words “ship’s registry,” followed by the name of a country. Likely, you don’t know what that means or how it affects you. But it has a huge impact on cruise safety, and there’s a good reason that you don’t see many flying under the American flag.

What is a Flag of Convenience?

The flags that fly on cruise ships that are from foreign countries are often called “flags of convenience,” because by sailing under them, ships become the territory of that nation, and thus avoid U.S. laws regulations, and taxation. A ship only has to follow the labor codes, environmental rules, and safety standards, of the nation they sail under—almost all of which have lesser and weaker standards than in the U.S.

We speak a lot on this blog about injuries to cruise line passengers, and injuries that happen on leisure cruise ships. But injuries can also happen to employees at sea also. Employees can be those on a large cruise line, but they may also include those working on private vessels, smaller touring ships, ferries, or fishing and work boats.

Injured workers at sea have much greater protections than workers on land, subject to state law, would have. Here’s a quick rundown of how federal law differs from state law when it comes to helping employees injured at sea get recovery for their injuries.

Recovery for Negligence

Well, it’s happened again. Although we seem to be told repeatedly by the cruise industry that norovirus outbreaks are sporadic and preventative measures are improving, in seems that once again, a cruise ship and its passengers have fallen victim to an outbreak.

Princess Cruise Suffers Large Virus Outbreak

This time it was a Princess Cruise line that experienced the outbreak. The cruise, leaving from Los Angeles, to Hawaii and then Tahiti, suffered an outbreak that affected 172 people on board. Most of the affected were passengers, but 14 crewmembers were sickened as well. The CDC, which conducted an immediate testing of the vessel, confirmed the outbreak was indeed norovirus.

There have been an abnormally large number of cruise accidents recently. And while none could be termed catastrophic, the recent spate still is worth noting to draw attention to the safety standards that some cruise lines are employing.

Halloween Cruise Runs Aground

Just recently on a Halloween cruise, a Grand Bahama Celebration cruise ship returning to Palm Beach struck something in the water, forcing it to turn around, and return to port.

As if the ebola scare needed another angle, it now appears that someone who may have been exposed to the virus is aboard a cruise ship, of all things. It’s possible nothing will come of this, but if it does, it will call into play many of the topics that we have discussed regarding cruise line safety and standards previously on our blog.

Exposed Passenger on a Cruise Ship

It is well known that a patient in a Dallas hospital died from ebola, apparently after the hospital staff waited too long treat him. Nurses from that hospital are also now alleging that there were no safety standards in the hospital for those nurses, and that nurses who treated the patient may have exposed the virus to other patients, and blood taken from the patient may have contaminated the hospital’s supply. Two nurses who did have direct contact with the patient have contracted the disease.

A Florida Court recently reduced a jury’s 2.7 million dollar injury award to a cruise ship passenger to zero based upon confusion over what law should apply. The United States Supreme Court has refused to hear the passenger’s appeal, creating a very dangerous legal precedent for Florida’s cruise ship passengers. Our Florida cruise ship accident attorneys are following these stories with interest.

Specifics of the Case

The passenger was injured when a rotting and unstable chair he was sitting on collapsed from underneath him while on a cruise. The jury awarded him 2.7 million dollars, but a dispute arose over the question of whether federal or state law should apply. The judge applied the much more business-friendly state laws, and reduced the award to zero.

Earlier this month, Florida Today published a story discussing the recent arrest of a Disney Cruise Line crew member who has been charged with two counts of lewd or lascivious molestation and one count of false imprisonment of a 13-year-old female cruise passenger. Our cruise ship lawyers  have been watching this case closely for additional details to emerge. Under federal maritime law, cruise ship companies are subject to strict liability claims for rape, sexual assault and any crime committed by their employees. In other words, cruise ship companies are legally responsible for the criminal acts of their crew members.

Details of this latest crime is still emerging. However, Canaveral Port Authority Police were notified of the allegations shortly after Disney’s Dream cruise ship docked at the terminal following a four-day journey to the Bahamas. Police arrested 36-year-old Ahmed Sofyan, a resident of Jakarta, Indonesia.

According to police, Sofyan lured the minor into an unoccupied cabin and touched her inappropriately. During the encounter, the victim attempted to escape, and even asked to leave several times, but Sofyan wouldn’t let her leave. Sofyan ultimately let the girl go, and when confronted by police, admitted that he knew his conduct was wrong and that the girl was only 13 years old.