When an accident onboard a cruise line takes place, victims and their loved ones can seek legal counsel with a cruise ship injury attorney to determine if they qualify for any compensation, including money damages and medical care. Most times, accidents onboard cruise vessels are the result of negligence, inexperience or someone’s wrongdoing. If a cruise operator is found to have contributed to the incident, they may be held liable for their actions.
However, claims against cruise lines may also be brought if the injury or fatality occurred while during a shore excursion. A recent fatal accident during a shore excursion in Mexico is just one of the many examples of accidents that can take place ashore. A couple vacationing with friends on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas was killed during a third-party shore excursion in Cozumel, Mexico when their sand buggy hit a guardrail and crashed.
Forty-one year old Jim Melillo and his 39-year old girlfriend, Susan Borges, were with a group of roughly 28 friends participating in the excursion. A friend was driving their sand buggy at the time of the accident. The driver and his wife sustained injuries, but were not seriously hurt.
Royal Caribbean officials extended their condolences to the victims’ loved ones in a statement sent to Cruise Critic, which read: “The guests, who were sailing on Liberty of the Seas, died while ashore in Cozumel, Mexico. The guests had been participating in a sand buggy shore excursion that was not sponsored by the company.”
The group of friends had contracted with a third-party in Cancun to rent the sand buggies for a six-hour tour that included lunch and swimming on a private beach. According to the Orlando Sentinel article, members of the group said several of the buggies seemed “ill-kept” and did not have seat belts. However, Mexican authorities investigated the incident and found no fault with the shore excursion company.
Melillo and Borges were part of a large group of roughly 40 friends on Liberty of the Seas’ four-night sailing from Port Everglades, Florida, which departed November 15 and returned on November 19.
While this shore excursion was not directly sponsored by Royal Caribbean, there are many times in which third-party accidents can be traced back to the negligence of the cruise line. There are also times in which the shore excursion operators themselves can be held liable as well, despite preliminary police investigations. After any accident occurs at sea or in port, victims have a right to turn to a cruise injury attorney to protect their rights and see if they are entitled to receive damages.
At Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A., our attorneys are dedicated to representing those who have been hurt or killed in a cruise-related accident. With over 80 years of combined experience in the field of maritime law. Call us today to discuss your options and determine if you qualify for compensation.
PHOTO CREDIT: Cruise Critic