Cruises in the News – Accidents and Injuries at Sea and Ports of Call

South Florida is the cruise capital of the world with Port Miami and Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale handling almost 8 million passengers last year. Everyone in south Florida benefits from the boost these ships give our local economy from hotels passengers stay in before they leave to companies that sell the food and liquor that stock the ships. It is estimated that Port Miami handles 52,000 passengers in one day on December 9, 2018.

A cruise truly is an escape from reality and they are great stress relievers. Out on the ocean your mind is free to forget about all the pressures back on land, and in foreign ports of call people relax and party without worrying about the daily grind back home.

Cruises are often in the news, but usually the news is not good. A search on Google news found these recent calamities:

250 fall ill on Royal Caribbean
Injured cruise ship passengers flown to Florida after bus crash in Bahamas
Massive Cruise Ship Crashes Into Port In Venice, Injuring At Least 5

The thing that makes cruises different from many other types of vacations is that while on the ship and at stops along the way, passengers are not covered by state and federal statutes related to negligence, liability, and malpractice. In other words, if you are hurt because of someone else’s carelessness it may be difficult to receive help for your injuries.Cruise Ship Accidents

Some common cruise ship accidents include slip and falls, falling overboard, fallen objects, dock accidents, swimming pool or water slide injuries, injuries on excursions taken on shore, medical malpractice, and sexual or physical assault. When an injury or death occurs on navigable waters rather than in a United States port, maritime law usually applies.

Can a Victim of Cruise Ship Negligence Get Help?

The answer is yes, but it’s complicated. For example, until a legal decision in 2014 cruise ships were almost immune from medical malpractice claims. Every jurisdiction is different, just as every accident is different. Remember that the right to sue someone in court is guaranteed in the United States because of our Constitution. Our Constitution does not extend to foreign countries and so a thorough investigation will be necessary. This is a very unique and complex are of law that many firms do not get involved in because it takes such special expertise.

Important: If you are ever involved in an accident or serious incident on a cruise ship or while off the boat on an excursion, it’s important to document everything possible. Take pictures, get the names and contact information of witnesses. This will likely be very important to

The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus made a commitment when our firm was first founded that we would help people who are victims of cruise ship negligence and we continue to give them superior representation and service today. Our expertise and experience allows us to get results and we fight hard for every client. Call us at (954) 356-0006 for a consultation.

 

Cruise Ship Alcohol

Pre-Paid Alcohol Plans + Moving Cruise Ship = Injuries

Plans Encourage More Drinking

There’s something about traveling that brings out the desire to drink in certain individuals. Some people sit down in their seat on an airliner and the first thing they look for is the beverage cart. Many commuter trains used to have bar cars, but most have been eliminated. The Metro North line in New York and Connecticut was apparently the last and they ended in 2014.

Cruise lines have taken the concept of travel-drinking to a new high with all-you-can-drink plans for passengers who don’t want to take the chance they might not get enough booze on their voyage. Carnival Cruise Lines offers a plan called CHEERS! and their website says “The cost to purchase CHEERS! prior to your cruise is $49.95 USD per person, per day plus 15% gratuity.”

Cruise Ship AlcoholSome people feel that it is irresponsible to offer these types of drinking plans to people who are obviously going to be in an unfamiliar setting on a moving vessel. The cruise lines have no idea if they are selling these plans to responsible, experienced drinkers or people who have very bad reactions to alcohol. Everyone is different.

Common sense tells most people that excessive alcohol consumption reduces a person’s ability to control balance and motor skills. If common sense isn’t doing it, there is also plenty of medical evidence. According to the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alcohol affects every single organ in the human body. After even just one drink, you might notice the effects of alcohol on your mind and ability to perceive your environment. This is the result of the alcohol being absorbed rapidly into your blood stream.

Each instance involving a passenger injured while imbibing in alcohol on cruise ship will involve several questions. Was the passenger indeed drunk? Was the passenger over-served? Was there negligence on the part of the ship involving dangerous conditions?  Some people might think, “If I get drunk and fall on a cruise ship, it’s not my fault,” and that may or may not be true. The responsibility for injuries incurred on a cruise ship is often a murky area, as there may be negligence by the passenger or by the ship. As with most things pertaining to the law, it’s complicated.

People go on cruises to have fun, there is no doubt about that. People also are injured, sometimes severely on cruise ships. When accidents happen, someone has to conduct a thorough investigation about the facts and circumstances that may have contributed to the incident. Many personal injury attorneys will claim to be qualified to handle a cruise ship injury but very few are actually experienced and have sufficient knowledge of the cruise industry to properly represent a victim.

The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus has been representing the victims of cruise ship negligence for over 20 years. We are familiar with the tactics used by cruise line corporations, and we know how to get results for our clients. Please reach out to us by calling 954-356-0006 and ask to speak with Gary or Arleen Lazarus. All communication with our office is strictly confidential.

Cruise Ship Negligence

Is Your Safety Assured on a Crowded Cruise Ship?

If you have visited the beach near Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on a Sunday afternoon-evening, you have probably noticed the steady stream of cruise ships as they parade out to sea. One-after-another they go, destined for cruise journeys ranging from a few nights to a few weeks.

There are More Ships and Passengers Sailing from South Florida than Anywhere Else on Earth

When you consider the amount of food, liquor, and other supplies on board each ship it is staggering to imagine what a boom it is for the local economy. The Sun-Sentinel recently reported that a single day record for passengers leaving and arriving at Port Everglades in one day was set on December 20, 2015: 53,485!

South Florida is part of the Caribbean/Bahamas region, and you can see that no other area comes close in terms of market share:

  • Caribbean/Bahamas 3%
  • Mediterranean 9%
  • Europe w/o Med 8%
  • Asia 6%
  • Australia/New Zealand/S. Pac 1%
  • Alaska 4%
  • South America 4%
  • Other Programs 5%

Going on a cruise is usually a wonderful experience, with more sun, fun, and food than most people could ever hope to experience on dry land. But there are issues regarding safety and liability which must be known about before setting Cruise Ship Negligenceout into international waters.

I recall a friend telling me that when he enlisted the U.S. Navy he was informed immediately after being sworn in “You are now under the authority of the Uniform Code of Military Justice” and my friend said he was a bit concerned because he felt he had waived his rights under the U.S. Constitution and was now “doomed!” In a way, he had waived those rights.

Similarly, any traveler who embarks on a cruise ship is playing under a new set of rules. Maritime Law is not like U.S. Law, and incidents occurring on board a vessel at sea are not covered by the same rights and privileges a U.S. citizen can count on here at home.

For example, if an accident occurs as a result of negligence by a cruise line company or an employee of a cruise line it will not be easy to document and pursue compensation for injuries including medical expenses, pain and suffering.

Some of the calamities discussed in a New York Times article about cruise ship on-board events include: adrift at sea, running aground, fires, viruses, overflowing toilets, and finally, sinking. Not exactly sun and fun stuff.

Cruise ships operate under the stress of what’s known as a rigid financial bottom line. They must transport as many passengers as possible in a very competitive market, keeping the fares low and the quality as high as they can. Sometimes corners are cut, and passengers suffer the consequences.

Only a handful of attorneys have dedicated their practice to include the complex area of Maritime Law, and in Fort Lauderdale one such firm is Lazarus and Lazarus. For over 20 years Gary and Arleen Lazarus have represented passengers who suffered losses and/or injuries due to the negligence of cruise ship companies. You may reach the firm by calling 954-356-0006 and asking for a free initial consultation. All information exchanged with the Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus is completely confidential.