Contributors

Charles R. Lipcon
Charles R. Lipcon is the firm's founding attorney and has been handling injury, cruise line sexual assault and wrongful death claims for over 40 years. Read More »
Jason R. Margulies
Jason R. Margulies is an experienced maritime lawyer and an active trial attorney handling personal injury, cruise line sexual assault and wrongful death claims. Read More »
Ricardo V. Alsina
Ricardo V. Alsina is an active trial attorney, handling personal injury, cruise line sexual assault and wrongful death claims. Read More »
Michael A. Winkleman
Mr. Winkleman is an active trial and appellate attorney handling all personal injury, cruise line sexual assault and wrongful death claims, as well as complex business disputes. Read More »

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Rick Alsina Maritime LawyerWhen choosing a maritime lawyer, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what the attorney can provide you. Aside from researching the lawyer’s background, including education and successful verdicts, it’s equally important to learn about their professional and personal ethics. Here at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A., we pride our self’s on maintaining not only the highest ethical and legal standards, but we also maintain an open door policy. We believe in being just as forthcoming about our individual stories as we are about our collective successes as a firm, and aim to ensure each and every one of our clients feels comfortable in approaching us whenever need be.

We firmly believe that the key to a successful attorney-client relationship lies in communication. We encourage both prospective and current clients to reach out to us with any questions or concerns regarding any kind of maritime accident, be it an injury aboard a cruise ship, pleasure craft or commercial vessel. Whether you are seeking answers as to whether you have a viable claim, need advice on how to handle your injuries or even if you just need support after enduring a great amount of pain from your injuries or the loss of a loved one, you can count on each maritime lawyer at our firm to offer you their full, undivided attention and unwavering commitment to the protection of your rights.

That being said, we’d like to you meet one of our firm’s most valuable trial attorneys, Ricardo Alsina.

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Canadian military stages fake cruise ship accident as part of safety training initiativeHere at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A., our primary mission is to help those who have been seriously injured at sea or in port due to the negligence of a cruise line, cargo vessel or personal water craft. The goal of each cruise ship accident lawyer at our firm is to assist victims and their loved ones in their fight to obtain justice for their pain and suffering. That being said, we also hope that through our efforts, the overall cruise ship accident rate will start to diminish – and quickly. There have been far too many accidents involving cruise ships in recent years and many of these incidents are a result of the operator’s lack of safety protocols. Whether it’s because a crew fails to properly maintain a ship in working condition, an operator’s inability to offer proper emergency training to its crew or a captain’s failure to take precautions when sailing in inclement weather conditions, the majority of accidents that occur on board cruise ships are the direct result of carelessness or negligence.

Fortunately, it is not only our hope, but the hope of all maritime safety organizations and safety advocates, such as U.S. Senator John “Jay” Rockefeller, that cruise lines will start to place greater importance on safety initiatives. Despite the growing number of accidents on the high seas – as well as the fact that the cruise industry is a multibillion-dollar operation with more than enough funding to allocate to safety measures – we continue to see a number of accidents occur in disturbing frequency, many of which are fatal. So, naturally, it came as a bit of a shock to us when we learned that there’s intentionally going to be an accident next week in the arctic.

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BuoyThere are many maritime regulations in place across the United States that aim to improve safety for boaters. However, just because there are maritime laws in place, doesn’t mean they are always abided. In our last blog, we discussed the importance of waterway markers and how they serve a purpose in protecting boaters from harm. But although these markers can assist in navigation and help prevent accidents in open waters, they can also create a danger for watercraft users and passengers.

Because of this, there is a chance that a fatal North Carolina boating accident could have been caused by inappropriately installed or improperly maintained markers. Let’s take a look at how these aids to navigation can create a perilous situation for boaters.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn our last blog, our firm reported a weekend boating accident in North Carolina that claimed the life of a 17-year-old teen and left a man in his 30s critically injured. Though authorities have yet to comment on what caused the crash, what we do know thus far is that the victims were riding in a 14-foot jon boat when the vessel crashed into a channel marker piling. There are many times when an accident involving a watercraft results from the craft’s operator’s own negligence in abiding by proper maritime safety laws, and other times when factors that cannot be controlled (such as inclement weather) are to blame. However, there are times in which the very laws and tactics that are put in place to prevent boating accidents in open waters are what actually cause the accidents themselves.

Accident reports show that the victims struck a waterway marker piling, but could the actual markers have been what contributed to the crash in the first place? There’s a very real chance that they could have. Let’s explore the possibilities.

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jon boatSummer is in full swing, which means that boating season is in full swing also. Oceans, lakes and other waterways are becoming increasingly congested with vessels and watercrafts, which means boaters should be exercising even greater caution than usual to stay safe. This is especially true for those who prefer to sail along narrow channels. Even when abiding by proper speed regulations, accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. Some may be caused by unforeseen circumstances, such as sudden changes in weather, while others are attributed to faulty equipment, operator distraction or intoxication. However, a recent boating accident in North Carolina has left us to wonder whether another factor could be to blame.

A Leland teenager was killed this weekend after a 14-foot jon boat he was riding in struck a channel marker piling near Blue Water Point Marina. The accident, which happened on Saturday at around 4:30 pm, also left a man in his 30s critically injured.

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Cruise lines cancel port calls in IsraelA few days ago, our admiralty law firm discussed the increasing tensions in the Middle East and how cruise lines should consider canceling port calls in Israel to avoid a perilous situation for cruise passengers. Because attacks between Israel and Palestine over the Gaza Strip can happen at any moment and without warning, cruise travelers might get caught in the line of fire and suffer life-threatening injuries. And if a passenger were to suffer injuries, the cruise line may be held at fault for failing to maintain onboard safety.

However, the fact that canceling port calls in Israel can lead to a loss in revenue for cruise lines means there’s a chance that itineraries will proceed according to plan. For this reason, each admiralty attorney at our firm had a certain amount of doubt as to whether cruise lines would choose safety over profit. Luckily, it appears as though several cruise lines have made the right choice and have decided to cancel stops in a number of Middle East ports.

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will cruise ships stop calling on ports because of Israeli Palestine conflictLast time, we discussed the growing tensions between Israel and Palestine over the Gaza Strip, and how cruise lines should consider pulling ships out of any port in the remote vicinity of the crossfire. Cruise lines have a responsibility to keep everyone on board a ship safe from harm, and few things are more dangerous than sailing right into a warzone. But at the same time, cruise lines are out to make a profit. If ships were to stop calling on ports near the line of fire, like the Israeli port of Ashdod, that would mean a loss in revenue. At this point, you might be wondering how profit could possibly trump safety, but in our years of experience, any maritime lawyer at our firm can tell you that cruise lines are willing to go pretty far to both make a profit and to avoid losing profit.

Given the fact that cruise lines use certain loopholes to avoid liability for accidents that result from their own negligent actions, it wouldn’t be all that surprising if cruise lines would attempt to use these same loopholes as a guard against liability for any accidents or crimes resulting from port calls in Israel. We discussed two of these loopholes in our last blog: the fact that most ships are registered in foreign ports and the fact that cruise ticket contracts are designed in a way that allows cruise lines to avoid liability in many events where an accident or crime.

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Life saver Things are getting worse in the Middle East, and this could spell trouble for cruise lines. As the conflict between Israel and Palestine over the Gaza Strip continues to escalate, we’re left to wonder when – and even if – cruise lines are going to start pulling their ships out of the area and cease all port calls. With unexpected militia attacks and violent outbreaks among civilians, cruise travelers may get caught up in the turmoil and suffer disastrous consequences.

A temporary cease-fire had many wondering if the nations would lead to peace, but after a three-day truce expired and a boarder deal brokered by Egypt hit a stalemate, Israel and militants from Gaza resumed action today. Sadly, a 10-year-old Palestinian boy was killed and two Israelis were injured from Palestinian rocket fire. We sincerely hope cruise lines will avoid even sailing near the warzone because they may very well get caught in the crossfire.

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cruise ship drink packagesLast time, our maritime lawyers discussed a seemingly exciting promotion that is – on the surface – aimed at helping cruise passengers save money. Norwegian Cruise Line has introduced an All-Inclusive package for 2015 sailings that features all the extras cruisers love, including unlimited dining, special internet discounts, and of course, unlimited drinks. But while it might save cruise passengers some money initially, it may end up costing them a lot more in the end.

The All-Inclusive deal comes with an “unlimited beverage package” offer, which for many, is great. As part of the package, guests can enjoy unlimited beverages from a wide selection of sodas, beers, wines, cocktails and other spirits. For those of us who have cruised before, we know drinks do not come cheap. If a glass of soda can run you $5, a cocktail can cost well over $15. On any given cruise, passengers may end up paying hundreds of dollars in drinks alone. Naturally, for cruise guests who enjoy alcoholic beverages, this package certainly has its appeal.

However, from the standpoint of a maritime lawyer, a cruise package that offers unlimited alcoholic drinks can be a ticket to disaster for some passengers. In our last blog, we talked about some of the effects of shipboard alcohol intoxication, and how it can lead to accidents, injuries, fights, sexual assault, and even death. If a cruise passenger who pay for each individual drink tend to drink more on board than on land, imagine how exponentially higher the likelihood of over-drinking is when there’s no cap on the number of drinks you can consume for money you have already paid out and will not be getting back. It is the same as going to a fixed price buffet, human nature takes over and people tend to over indulge. Continue reading →

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Alcohol on cruise shipsWho doesn’t love a hot deal? We all like to save money, especially after booking an expensive cruise vacation. Cruises don’t come cheap – and neither do the add-ons. Shore excursions, alcohol, specialty dining and spa packages all come at an extra cost, but now, one cruise line wants to ease the brunt of that cost for travelers.

Norwegian Cruise Lines has just introduced a new, all-inclusive package as part of a limited-time promotion on 2015 sailings. The all-inclusive deal covers many of the extras that aren’t included in the basic cost of a cruise ticket. It comes with an unlimited beverage and unlimited dining package, bottle of wine, internet package, gratuity coverage, along with a slew of other appealing discounts. Who wouldn’t want to book it…right?

At first glance, the package looks enticing, especially for cruisers who enjoy all the extra perks like tours and beverages other than the standard tap water or coffee options provided on most ships for free. But as with many things, looks can be deceiving. From a legal standpoint, this package is a ticking time bomb.

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