Articles Tagged with Florida cruise ship lawyers

Cruise ships can offer an idyllic atmosphere and experience for passengers. However, poor shipboard safety and training may turn a dream vacation into the most unwanted nightmare for passengers and their families. The harm from these maritime accidents may be compounded by the antiquated laws that govern cruise ship accidents and fatalities.

An Alabama couple was killed in a cruise ship on the Amazon last April after a fire broke out in their cabin. The deaths may have been prevented if the ship was equipped with its advertised safety devices and the crew was properly trained, according to a Peruvian Navy report.

The fire was attributed to short-circuit in a power strip provided by the ship and connected to a CPAP machine used by the male victim. The flames were confined to their cabin. However, the poor construction and tragedy compounded the fire’s impacted.

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.

If you’re on a cruise ship, and you’re injured as a result of medical malpractice, federal law which governs injuries at sea has been fairly consistent that you cannot recover damages against the cruise line as a result of the negligence.

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There have been all kinds of excuses to deny recovery under a malpractice theory. One shouldn’t expect the same medical care on a ship as they do on land. Cruise ships are not floating hospitals, and shouldn’t be held to a medical malpractice standard the same way real medical facilities are. Or, the doctors on the ship are independent contractors, and thus, the cruise ship can’t be responsible for their negligence.

But a recent case now seems to be turning the law around, providing medical malpractice victims at sea a possible remedy under federal laws.

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.

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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.

If you are injured on a cruise ship, a major hurdle that you may have is filing your lawsuit within the time period provided by law. Cruise ship accident victims are often excluded from bringing negligence or liability claims, based upon having waited too long to file a lawsuit.

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What is a Statute of Limitations?

A statute of limitations is a deadline in which a lawsuit can be filed. After that deadline, the lawsuit is forever barred. Different causes of action—negligence, breach of contract, malpractice, etc. – may have different statutes of limitations, and different states have different limitations on each kind of action.

Yet another cruise ship has been stricken with an outbreak of the norovirus. Don’t be confused—this isn’t a repeat of a previous post. Norovirus outbreaks seem to happen so often on cruises that it often seems like the same news is being reported over and over again.

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What happened now?

This time, guests on a Princess Cruise departing from Australia were affected, in an outbreak bad enough to prompt one guest to call it a “cruise from hell.” About 100 guests have been affected, but it doesn’t appear that the cruise will be terminated early.

If you are injured at sea, you may think that regular laws that will apply to you, and your rights to recovery would be the same as if you were injured on land. In fact, this is not true at all. As our Florida cruise ship accident attorneys have discussed before in this blog, there are many nuanced differences between maritime law and state laws. One such difference has to do with punitive damages.

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What Are Punitive Damages?

As the name suggests, punitive damages are not designed to compensate an injury victim at all—the goal of punitive damages is to punish the negligent party for behavior so outrageous or unacceptable that an extra, often large, monetary punishment is necessary. Like a criminal law sentence, there is also an element of deterrent involved—other companies that see severe economic penalties assessed against a wrongdoer may be more likely to modify their behavior and take measures to protect their patrons or customers.

We all know that if you’re injured while on a cruise, there’s a good chance that if anybody is liable for your injuries, it’s the cruise line. Inside the confines of the ship, it is the cruise line’s responsibility to make sure there’s nothing that’s going to injure you. But what about once you leave the ship, for the so-called excursions? Getting injured while on an excursion presents an entire host of difficult legal questions.

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The Danger of Excursions

Excursions are the off-ship adventures that you take when the ship docks at a port of call. Excursions can include scuba diving, snorkeling, watersports, caveing/spelunking, traversing waterfalls, interacting with wildlife, or organized tours of the locale.

If you sustain personal injuries, certainly your own pain, suffering, loss of income, and other damages may be recoverable against a responsible party. Often though a victim’s injuries don’t just affect them, but also the people around them, such as spouses. Spouses of injured victims may also lose vital aspects of companionship when their significant other is injured. Those losses can often be recovered by the spouse if the injury occurs in Florida, but the law is unclear whether that’s true if a victim is injured at sea. Our Florida maritime accident attorneys can help you understand the specifics regarding your individual case.

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Spouse Becomes Separate Plaintiff in Case

A spouse who loses the companionship, intimacy, or daily comfort of their loved one’s health, has what is called a loss of consortium claim. The spouse will be a separate Plaintiff, suing along with the directly injured spouse.

Over the last year, our Florida cruise ship accident attorneys have discussed what appears to be a never-ending string of cruise mishaps, made worse by cruise liners continued policy of denial and concealment of such issues. In March, Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas and the Navigator of the Seas had problems returning to port. The Adventure of the Seas lost propulsion after the cruise ship’s “fixipod” leaked oil and barely made it to San Juan and the Navigator of the Seas was unable to make port on time due to an oil spill caused by a collision between a ship and a barge.

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Recently, Saga Cruises’ Sapphire cruise liner was left stranded off the Isle of Mull with 1,008 passengers and crew aboard after an electrical fire broke out over the weekend and knocked out the ship’s power supply. In April, the South Korean ferry, Sewol, turned on its side and sank, leaving two-thirds of the 476 passengers dead or missing after the ferry’s captain jumped ship shortly after it began to go down.

Another Recent Mishap

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