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 »

Articles Posted in Cruise Ship Injuries

Life saver As maritime lawyers, our firm has seen a number of tragic accidents and crimes befall the cruise industry over the years. Some have been minor, leaving passengers and crew members unharmed, while others resulted in catastrophic and fatal injuries. Though some of these incidents have been highly publicized, others have been swept under the ocean floor, never to be heard from again. We thought it would helpful to  take a look at some of these maritime disasters and what happened to the victims onboard.

 

Crashes, Groundings and Sinkings

Accidents of this caliber are among the worst possible. A grounding, crash and even a partial capsizing can lead to fatal injuries, which unfortunately, is the result in the following major cruise accidents. The first, of course, is the sinking of the so called “unsinkable ship”, the RMS Titanic. Most of us know the story about the Titanic, but for those that don’t, the Titanic was a 52,310-ton ship that struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic while on its maiden voyage in 1912. As a result, the ship nearly snapped in two, sinking into the chilling waters below and killing over 1,500 of its 2,200 passengers and crew.

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RiggingAlthough no one imagines the worst will happen when they board a cruise ship, there are times when accidents can occur at a moment’s notice. Some happen by chance or as a result of uncontrollable factors, while others are caused by the negligence of the cruise company or crew members. When it comes to overboard accidents, negligence is usually to blame.

According to statistics, 203 cruise ship overboard accidents have occurred since 1995 – seven of which have occurred this year alone. Despite the fact that nearly all cruise ships come equipped with extensive surveillance equipment, footage often goes unmonitored, ships themselves often fail equipment safety standards with below standard height railings, and there are even times when crew members overserve alcohol to guests, leading to accidents and assaults among passengers. The list of negligent factors that can lead to an overboard accident are endless, but because cruise lines don’t always reveal what really happens during serious incidents, the public rarely ever gets an accurate account of the full extent of the circumstances surrounding the accident.

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There have been many cruise ship accidents throughout the years, some of which have resulted in serious injuries and fatalities. Although many factors can lead to an accident at sea or in port, a large percentage of incidents are caused by the cruise line’s negligent or wrongful actions and could have been prevented had the right steps been taken and followed at the right time.

Poorly trained, overworked, crewmembers, lack of adequate and common sense shipboard safety items and procedures, failure to properly examine, service and maintain equipment, and refusing to fully investigate an accident immediately and then implement procedures to make sure that kind of accident does not happen again are all factors that have played a role and will continue to play a role in the daily crew injuries and frequent passenger injuries, sexual assaults and even deaths that occur across the entire cruise industry.

But while every cruise company has been involved in at least some type of incident, one cruise line – Carnival Cruise Line leads the industry injury causing incidents/accidents in modern times.

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Authorities investigate near-drowning of 4-year-old boy on Disney Fantasy cruise ship – Courtesy of dailymail.co.uk

Tragedy has struck the cruise industry once more, as another cruise ship passenger has been involved in an accident on the high seas. This time, the incident is all the more disturbing and disheartening, as the victim is only four years old.

Authorities have reported that a four-year-old boy has been airlifted to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando on Saturday after being pulled from a pool on the Disney Fantasy cruise ship.

Brevard County and Disney rescue workers were called to the Disney Fantasy at 3:30 PM EDT after ship officials reported a potential drowning at the family pool, one of three pools onboard the vessel. The little boy’s family had just boarded the ship for a seven-day cruise to the western Caribbean, never imagining that their young son would be in danger.

The boy’s name has not been revealed to the public for privacy reasons, nor have the names of his parents. He was discovered unresponsive in the pool while the ship was briefly docked at Port Canaveral.

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Whenever a cruise ship debuts at a new port, there is always excitement in the air. However, there is also a greater possibility for accidents to take place. Our cruise ship injury lawyers have witnessed many accounts of passengers and crewmembers getting hurt when a vessel changed homeports, and many of these claims have gone unnoticed. While new vessels can – and should – be enjoyed, passengers are reminded to be mindful of their surroundings and keep loved ones close in order to prevent accidents from happening onboard or ashore.

When safety is the number one priority of both passengers and cruise ships, travelers can rest just a little more at ease and enjoy their vacations. Too many times, cruise ship operators neglect to protect the safety of those who are onboard their vessels and the resulting accidents can be serious – if not fatal. It is important to remember that anytime a maritime accident takes place, victims can turn to a cruise ship injury lawyer for assistance in filing a case and protecting their rights.

Keeping in mind that cruise ships accidents can happen at any moment, passengers can take care to pack emergency first aid kits, walkie talkies and other items that might help treat injuries that happen at a moment’s notice. There is also an app that can be downloaded for free from Itunes that provides information in the event of an accident and serious injury. This app is a product of the law firm of Lipcon, Marguliies, Alsina & Winkleman P.A. which has extensive experience in the area of cruise ship law.

Once safety is taken care of, then the fun can begin. And fun is what several cruise passengers will be having this Friday when a new Disney Cruise Line vessel sets sail from the Port of Miami. Guests will be joined by Mickey, Minnie, the Disney princesses, and many more of the timeless characters for the cruise vacation.

The Disney Wonder is the first vessel in the line’s fleet that will be based out of South Florida. The majority of the line’s ships are homeported in Port Canaveral in Orlando. The ship is packed with great activities for the whole family to enjoy, including the Oceaneer Lab, where children can get to explore music, science, art, and, of course, video games.

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Each cruise ship injury attorney at our firm has represented countless passengers who have been hurt because of a line’s negligence. While cruise vacations are known for their fun times and convenience, especially because travelers can enjoy alcohol without worry of driving home intoxicated, there are numerous instances in which too much alcohol consumption onboard vessels has led to serious and fatal accidents. Many times, when passengers become too inebriated, they can slip and fall, engage in violent conduct with others onboard, or have even been reported to have gone overboard. If an excess of alcohol is to blame for a passenger’s injuries or death, the line may be held responsible for their negligence in keeping the victim safe from harm by the over-service of alcohol.

This is something one cruise ship company might want to consider before getting too excited over their new alcohol tasting opportunity. Cruise Specialists is offering fans of craft beer the chance to enjoy a “beer cruise,” offering a California Beer Festival at sea.

The “Beer Festival at Sea” will be hosted by a California Brew Master and will offer guests the chance to taste a variety of craft beers, as well as enjoy live music, special tours and learning seminars. The organizers boast that this is the first cruise of its kind, but as exciting as this may be, it can also prove to be dangerous. It is important for all passengers to exercise caution when drinking onboard, just as it is equally important for cruise operators to ensure their passengers do not have an excess of alcohol to drink.

The Beer Festival will take place on the Celebrity Solstice, departing from Ensenada, Mexico on May 6. Greg Nacco, vice president of Cruise Specialists, is excited about the unique cruise and partnership, explaining all the extra opportunities the cruise will feature.

“Celebrity Cruises is a leader in the art of culinary experiences at sea, and in fact, this Beer Festival at Sea also features an on-board ‘wine’ theme as well. It was a natural choice to hold a beer festival on one of their newest ships featuring 10 impressive gourmet restaurants,” said Nacco. “Beer may be the new wine in terms of methodology in brewing and diversity of flavors. If you consider all the different styles of beer in the world and how they are made, it is going to be a fabulously fun time aboard the Solstice spending time with true craft beer brewers.”

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The New Year is a time for reflecting on everything that has taken place in the previous months. Here at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A., our cruise ship injury lawyers would like to take a few moments to look back on the many accidents that have taken place both at sea and in port across the world. Although time may pass and 2013 brings with it hopes of improved maritime safety standards, we cannot turn our backs nor forget the tragedies that have befallen the industry in 2012.

Perhaps the worst cruise ship accident that took place this year was the Costa Concordia capsizing. The Concordia capsized off the coast of Giglio, an Italian island, on January 13 after the vessel’s captain, Francesco Schettino, ordered a maneuver known as a “salute” to be performed. The ship came too close to shore and crashed into some rocks, damaging its hull and causing it to capsize. A total of 32 people were killed in the tragedy and captain, along with several crewmembers, are still under criminal investigation for their role in the incident.

Another tragic incident took place on August 16 onboard another Carnival Corp.-owned vessel. A 15-year-old girl was violently raped by several teen boys and a 31-year-old man onboard the Carnival Sensation. Although the assailant, Casey Dickerson, was arrested and charged, the young victim’s life will forever be changed because of the incidents on the ship. Dickerson had access to two cabins on the vessel after he and his wife complained about noise in their first cabin. Carnival gave the couple keys to a new room, but Dickerson discovered he still had access to the other. After meeting the young girl, he and the teen boys took her back to the stateroom, at which time they took turns raping her.

Aside from these terrible incidents, there were also a series of cruise ship passenger disappearances, assaults, crimes, miscellaneous injuries, and a string of Norovirus outbreaks. It is important for anyone who has experienced a cruise ship injury or who has lost someone they love at sea to understand they have rights. Victims may be entitled to compensation following the accidents and incidents, especially because the majority of the time, the tragedies are the result of the cruise line operators’ own negligence. Cruise vessel authorities are responsible for protecting all who are onboard from harm, and when that safety is compromised, they may be found liable for any resulting injuries or mental anguish. The attorneys at Lipcon have witnessed too many people get hurt in 2012 and hope the cruise industry will make significant changes with the New Year to improve maritime safety for all passengers and crewmembers so the number of negligence-related accidents can diminish.

Photo Credits:

Costa Concordia: theatlantic.com
Casey Dickerson – orlandosentinel.com

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At Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A., our cruise ship injury attorneys have represented victims who have been hurt while onboard vessels for various reasons. Some victims have suffered extensive injuries as a result of the ship’s operator’s negligence, while other times, they were assaulted by fellow passengers. Maritime accident victims range in age and severity of injury, but one recent injury victim is sure to go down in history as one of a kind.

Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas crewmembers did all they could to make sure the victim obtained the help he needed, as company policy states. However, this wasn’t just any regular cruise injury victim. The injured party is none other than a pelican. But as strange as that sounds, Royal Caribbean authorities have undoubtedly proven their commitment to helping anyone – human or fowl – who is in need of medical attention while on a company vessel.

Indeed, the pelican might have his own case against the cruise line. After all, he was technically injured because of one of the ship’s structures. If a structure onboard a vessel poses a threat to someone’s well-being, and subsequently leads to an injury, that victim may be able to claim compensation against the line for the company’s negligence. While our cruise ship injury attorneys usually work with human travelers, we do wish the bird a speedy recovery.

According to the line, the pelican landed on Jewel of the Seas after it flew into the vessel’s superstructure. The bird is a native of Holland Island, Maryland, and was tagged by the U.S. Geological Survey Bird Banding Laboratory on September 7th. He was transported to BluePearl Veterinary Partners specialty and emergency hospital in Tampa on Thursday, where he has been receiving treatment for his injuries.

Doctors from BluePearl Veterinary Partners avian and exotics medicine team explain they are treating the pelican for dehydration as well as for a minor wing injury. Luckily, the pelican will be ok, but he will be in need of rehabilitation for his injuries.

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Accidents onboard cruise ships are more common than anyone can imagine. Sometimes they are the result of unfavorable weather conditions, while other times they come about because of someone’s negligence. Then there are times in which passengers are victims of criminal activity, including assault. When someone is hurt or attacked while at sea or in port, they have a right to seek legal help to protect their rights. Victims may be able to obtain damages and reimbursement for medical care, which is why it is crucial to take action immediately following the incident.

A passenger on a Royal Caribbean ship may soon be in need of a cruise ship injury lawyer himself after being attacked by another traveler onboard. According to Cruise Critic, the offender, a 59-year-old passenger, was forcibly disembarked from Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas on December 20 after he attacked another passenger who had a service dog.

A Cruise Critic member whose online name is Bloemer posted on the site regarding the incident.

“My heart goes out to our new found friend and his service dog Freedom. He was viciously attacked late at [night] while getting a pizza in the Solarium. He was beaten because a man could not respect service dogs and felt Freedom should not be on board.”

Cynthia Martinez, a spokeswoman for Royal Caribbean, confirmed that a 59-year-old passenger “engaged in a physical altercation” with a 53-year-old man who had a service dog, but made no mention of what provoked the altercation.

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The New Year brings with it hopes of prosperity. For one cruise company, prosperity is the main goal next year, as the line has decided to expand. Alaskan Dream Cruises, a two-year-old Alaska-based cruise line, has announced it will introduce a third ship starting in 2013. But while this can lead to an increase in not only revenue for the company, but for Alaska as well, the addition of a new vessel isn’t always “smooth sailing.” Sometimes, with new ships, safety measures aren’t entirely in place, leading to accidents onboard. Furniture may not be adequately secured and crewmembers who may not be adjusted to the vessel, may make mistakes which can also lead to injuries onboard.

A cruise ship injury lawyer is often called on for assistance following the launch of new vessels for this reason. When passengers or crewmembers are hurt on a ship, they may be entitled to compensation for their pain and suffering, and the line may be held liable for these damages. Speaking with an attorney after an accident takes place can mean the difference between walking away from the case empty handed, and coming out of the incident with the compensation victims deserve.

Accidents at sea and in port can take place at any moment, which is why passengers should always be prepared and mind their surroundings in order to avoid any mishaps. In the meantime, however, cruise enthusiasts should look to all the exciting features the new vessel will carry, while still remembering to stay safe.

According to the small-ship line, the 62-passenger Baranof Dream will begin offering cruises along with a new 11-day itinerary that will offer three departures in the summer. Alaska Dream said the new ship was added in order to accommodate to passenger growth last season and the ship’s itinerary was designed in response to passenger feedback asking for more sightseeing and wildlife-viewing opportunities as well as coastal explorations.

The new 11-day itinerary, called “Admiralty, Baranof and Chichagof Explorer,” is an expansion of the line’s existing eight-day itinerary, and features two additional days of exploration for guests in eastern Chichagof Island near Point Adolphus and eastern Baranof Island near Red Bluff Bay.

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