Articles Tagged with wrongful death

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 ship poolEmbarking on a cruise vacation is something that most of us truly enjoy. It is even more special when your family is all together. Yet, as with any other form of vacationing, accidents can happen. For example, just recently, on a central Florida-bound cruise ship, nearly 35 miles east of Cape Lookout, two children were discovered unconscious in a pool around 11:30 a.m. The older child was ultimately revived and flown by a Marine Corps helicopter to a nearby hospital.  Unfortunately, the younger child died onboard the ship.

This was certainly a tragic event that should not have occurred. The cruise line itself should consider several safety procedures to ensure this never happens again. There should have been a lifeguard, or two, watching over swimmers in the pool. Not all injuries to children on board cruise ships are fatal, but injuries to children on cruise ships are all too common. If your child is injured on a cruise ship, he or she may be entitled to substantial compensation. It is important that you hire an attorney for your case. The Miami maritime attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz PA are here to help! We know the relevant laws and have over 80 combined years of representing cruise ship passengers and crewmembers that are injured.   

Premises Liability on Cruise Ships          

file0001442567760Vacationing overseas on a cruise continues to be a very popular form of vacation and appeals to all generations. Despite its popularity, accidents can occur. These accidents are sometimes fatal.  Just recently, off the coast of Florida, a family boarded the Carnival Ecstasy cruise ship for a Christmas time cruise. On a Sunday evening, they were headed to dinner when they witnessed blood streaming down the doors of an elevator. Jose Sandoval Opazo was killed while working on an elevator on board the cruise ship. He was employed as an electrician on the cruise ship.  This is certainly a tragic story, yet, death overseas can suddenly happen to anyone embarking on a cruise.

If a death occurs more than three nautical miles from the coast, the Death on the High Seas Act (“DOHSA”) will apply. If a loved one’s death was caused by the negligent, reckless, or intentional act of another on a cruise ship, family members can recover for their pain, suffering, and monetary losses by filing a wrongful death claim against the responsible party. It is important that you hire an experienced wrongful death attorney. Doing so can ensure that you receive compensation for the financial consequences and for your pain and suffering from the devastating loss. The experienced Miami wrongful death attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, PA are here to help. Our Miami wrongful death attorneys are Florida board certified trial lawyers and have also handled several wrongful death cases.

Death on the High Seas Act

blue skyFor cruise trips, shore excursions are rapidly growing in popularity and variety. Shore excursions help maintain the interest and attention of passengers of a particular cruise. Excursions typically offer access to a wide variety of tourist areas that are different from the ports and harbors where the cruise ship rests. They are also popular because by booking a specific excursion, the individual does not have to stress about sightseeing on this or her own. Instead, the cruise ship will take care of this. The cruise company will choose a relevant and necessary onshore tourist site and allow the individual to enjoy the highest quality of time there.

Albeit fun and convenient, excursion accidents do happen, and these accidents are sometimes tragic. Just last summer an Alaska sightseeing excursion plane crashed killing all nine passengers including the pilot! This plane was carrying cruise ship passengers on a shore excursion when it suddenly crashed near Ketchikan in the Misty Fjords area. Said plane was first reported missing at around 2:06 p.m., or 6:06 p.m. Eastern Time. Less than 30 minutes after the initial report, said plane was spotted by a helicopter crew against a granite rock face. Search and rescue teams then reached the crash site which was nearly 800 feet above Ella Lake.  

Maritime laws differ significantly from ordinary personal injury laws and are highly complex and unique. Maritime laws maintain several rules pertaining to the time you may file your claim, legal liability, and the amount of money recoverable from your case. Generally, maritime law consists of a combination of different bodies of law from federal statutes, international treaties, laws of contract, and even substantive foreign law. Many people are unaware that maritime laws may govern their accident. Thus, if you are injured in a maritime accident, you should contact a qualified Florida maritime attorney.

file0001442567760While the exact details of the accident are still under investigation, what is clear is that a crew member died in a Carnival Ecstasy elevator while passengers caught glimpses of the gruesome scene. The ship was in the last legs of a Caribbean cruise departing from Miami when Florida residents Matt Davis and his wife were walking toward the elevator and noticed it was malfunctioning, only partly open and dripping with a copious amount of blood. When they alerted the cruise ship’s staff, they were told to leave the scene and enter the restaurant.

Miami-Dade police are currently investigating the freak accident that killed electrician Jose Sandoval Opazo, 66, of Liguria, Italy. Carnival Cruise Line has been reluctant to provide many details regarding the incident but do extend their support to the victim and his family. Witnesses of the accident say that crew members told them that Opazo was working either inside or behind the elevator when the elevator came down. If you were injured or lost a loved one aboard a cruise ship consider contacting a Miami Cruise Ship Accident Attorney.

Carnival Cruise Line has been fraught with controversy surrounding various catastrophic accidents in recent years. In 2012 the Costa Concordia capsized off the coast of Italy, killing 32 people. The cause of the accident was the hubris of the ship’s captain who intentionally steered the ship too close to shore. In 2013 the Carnival Triumph caught fire, which knocked out the ship’s power, leaving the cruise stranded for four days without working toilets.

gavelIn October, the El Faro cargo ship sailed through the path of Hurricane Joaquin on its way from Jacksonville to Puerto Rico. The large waves and heavy winds caused the ship to sink and all 33 crew members died at sea. Now some of the families are coming forward to file wrongful death suits against TOTE Maritime, the owner of the cargo ship. If you were injured or lost a loved one aboard a seagoing vessel, contact a Miami Maritime Accident Attorney.

Eight plaintiffs related to victims of the El Faro disaster are suing TOTE Maritime in Florida for wrongful death, claiming that tragedy could have been avoided. The remaining families have until December 21st to file claims against the shipping company due to a court order.

TOTE Maritime previously tried to block all lawsuits by the victims’ families, claiming that it was not to blame for the incident. The company filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court in Florida claiming that they exercised due diligence and did everything in their power to make sure the ship was safe and therefore should hold no financial liability for the accident. The court soundly rejected this complaint but agreed to cap the damages at $15 million if the company was not found to be negligent for the disaster.

file3261246766942The FBI is investigating the death of a South Carolina woman after she fell from the deck of a cruise ship into the ocean off the coast of Cuba and was not found by the coast guard and cruise ship personnel. The Norwegian Cruise Line vessel was on a course from Miami to Cozumel, Mexico when the accident occurred. Authorities searched over 600 nautical miles for the woman before giving up search and rescue efforts. The FBI was called in to determine if there was any foul play or negligence that could have caused the incident. If you were hurt or lost a loved one aboard a cruise ship contact a Miami Cruise Ship Accident Attorney.

Can the Cruise Line be Held Responsible?

While not all the facts regarding this case have been discovered, could cruise liners hypothetically be responsible in these types of situations? In most cases, cruise ships are considered “common carriers,” which means that they have a responsibility to their passengers beyond just reasonable care. Cruise liners must take a very high degree of precaution to prevent injury or deaths aboard their ships and failure to do so could land them with a personal injury or wrongful death suit.

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In a tragic accident caught on video, a passenger of a Miami-based Royal Caribbean cruise liner fell off the ship and remains lost at sea. The family of the victim plans to sue the cruise line, citing that their version of events do not match the official statement given by Royal Caribbean. If you or someone you love was the victim of a cruise ship accident contact an experienced Miami Cruise Ship Accident Attorney.

About the Accident

According to Channel 8 News, a local Miami news station, the passenger fell from the balcony of his room, falling about 20 feet onto one the ship’s lifeboats. After hanging from the lifeboat for some time, while cruise ship employees attempted to rescue him, the man fell into the rough waters below. The man still remains missing at sea and is presumed dead.

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A Royal Caribbean cruise ship, the Splendour of the Seas, caught on fire in the engine room as the cruise ship was sailing in the Mediterranean near the Greek islands. The fire was so large that crew members had to remain at their emergency stations for hours on end. Passengers reported not feeling well and struggling with the constant smell of smoke. Some passengers and crew members had to be treated for smoke inhalation. Our team of cruise ship injury lawyers are not surprised by this news. If something goes wrong on a cruise ship that is out to sea, help is not around the corner.

This is not the first time Royal Caribbean has had a large fire on a cruise ship. For example, in July 2015, a fire broke out on the Freedom of the Seas as it traveled toward Falmouth, Jamaica.  Additionally, in May 2013, a large fire suddenly developed on the Grandeur of the Seas and the crew battled with the fire for over two hours.

One passenger aboard the Splendour of the Seas reportedly stated that the ship was operating on just one engine resulting in a very rocky, turbulent trip. It was even difficult to simply walk around and numerous passengers are sick.

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Wendy Lewis was enjoying a trip with her husband on the 650-foot luxury cruise ship Seabourn Quest. Unfortunately, reports indicate that Mrs. Lewis fell from the cruise ship and died. Her body was discovered in the waters of Cape Ann. Our team of cruise ship wrongful death lawyers are deeply saddened to read about another life lost on a cruise ship. To make matters worse, her death certificate states that the cause of her death remains “pending,” according to the Gloucester Times.

The FBI continues to investigate the tragic death of Mrs. Lewis. Kristen Setera, speaking for the FBI, stated that the case remains an “ongoing investigation,” and that Agency continues to have “no comment at this time” regarding the woman’s identity or the circumstances of her tragic passing.

The Larger the Cruise Ship, the Larger the Mystery

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