Contributors
Charles R. Lipcon

Charles R. Lipcon is the firm's founding attorney and has been handling personal injury, cruise line sexual assault and wrongful death claims for over 40 years.Read More »

Jason R. Marguiles

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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Life jacketsFor many of us, enjoying a relaxing day out on a motorboat, tinny, or jet ski is the ideal perfect day. When we think of going out on the open waters, whether for fishing, scuba diving excursions, or sightseeing, we don’t usually equate the activity with tragedy. Though the possibility of getting into an accident is very real, the notion that we’ll be the ones suffering a boating accident is not a very prominent one.

While recreational boating should be an enjoyable pastime first and foremost, it’s important to remember that accidents can – and often do – happen. Most boating accidents happen in the blink of an eye and can involve both experienced and novice sailors alike. Even the most prepared of boaters can become caught in a sudden storm or rogue wave, or can be the victim of another individual’s negligent actions, such as boating while under the influence of alcohol or speeding.

Because there is no guarantee that a collision or capsizing tragedy will not occur, each boating accident lawyer at our firm can attest to the fact that it is always better to live by the motto, “better safe than sorry.”

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CaboLast Saturday, the Star Princess cruise ship called on Cabo San Lucas, Mexico to deliver supplies to residents after the area was devastated by Hurricane Odile. According to news reports, the Princess Cruises’ ship brought bottled water, milk and paper products, among other supplies.

“The residents of Cabo San Lucas form one big hospitality community that regularly welcomes our ships’ guests. We want to return that hospitality by giving back to them as they work to recover and prepare to receive visitors once again,” said Princess President Jan Swartz.

Though we applaud Princess’ decisions to assist the devastated city, we can’t help but wonder where this same sense of urgency and consideration was when another Carnival Corp. vessel, the Carnival Triumph, was in need of assistance?

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boating accidentsEach admiralty lawyer at our firm knows that one of the leading contributors to boating accidents is alcohol consumption. Alcohol impairs a boater’s judgment to the point that they are unable to properly and safely navigate their vessels, leading boaters to make irrational and unsafe choices while out on the water, and can also cause a boater to lose consciousness, leading them to suffer total loss of control of their vessel and to fall overboard.

While each state has its own laws when it comes to boating under the influence – and despite the fact that alcohol consumption tends to increase the frequency and severity of accidents – many continue to drink alcoholic beverages while operating or riding in vessels or water crafts. And this is not a problem limited to the United States. Sadly, alcohol appears to have been a main factor in a boating accident in Ireland earlier this year, in which a 20-year-old autistic man drowned when the vessel he was riding in capsized.

Police continue to search for evidence as to why the vessel capsized in Lough Erne last May. Six people had been sailing along the waterway aboard a motorboat when the vessel capsized and sank. Those who survived the accident said the accident was “sudden” and could not explain what could have possibly caused it. However, reports on the incident reveal everyone on the boat had been consuming alcohol and no one was wearing life jackets – two critical mistakes.

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If you’ve been injured while on a cruise, you may be wondering what your options are and whether or not it makes sense to contact an offshore injury lawyer. It’s important for anyone who has been involved in an accident on board a cruise ship to understand that they should never refrain from seeking legal counsel. Many victims may think their injuries are too minimal to warrant compensation, but are actually eligible to file a claim.

Let’s say the victim speaks with an offshore injury lawyer, who then determines that the cruise passenger is, in fact, eligible to file a claim. What then? How much can victim expect to receive?

It’s difficult to say with certainty how much can be expected, as settlements vary from case to case. Each situation is unique, and it all starts with determining whether or not the cruise line was, in some way, at fault. Cruise lines are responsible for maintaining a safe shipboard environment, which includes keeping passengers safe from both accidental injuries and those related to criminal incidents. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. Failure to properly train crew members, failure to keep ships in safe working condition, and a host of other factors can contribute to an injury while on board a cruise vessel.

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Was there a fire on board Holland America NoordamSeems like the issues that the Holland America ship, ms Veendam, was experiencing last week are worse than our maritime lawyers originally imagined. HAL cancelled the ship’s seven-day itinerary from Quebec City to Boston on September 28 after the vessel suffered an issue with one of its propellers, but now, we’ve also learned that the Carnival Corp. subsidiary line cancelled its two subsequent sailings on October 4 and 11. Is there more to the ship’s equipment problems than HAL is letting on?

According to the cruise line, the Veendam will be going into dry-dock for repairs, which are apparently extensive.  True to cruise industry form, HAL is not releasing any information to the public regarding what exactly these issues may be, referring to them simply as “technical problems.”

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Cruise ship crew member injuriesWorkplace accidents are extremely common, whether the job site is on land in an office or offshore aboard a cruise ship. Occupational injuries and illnesses can occur due to a number of factors, but many times, they are the result of the employer’s inability to provide a safe working environment. Though failure to maintain safety at a job site is a problem that affects several industries and corporations, it is an especially serious and ongoing issue within the cruise industry.

Though maritime law requires cruise ship operators to abide by the highest safety standards, they often neglect to do so, resulting in crew member injuries. Sometimes a cruise operator fails to properly maintain equipment in proper and safe working condition, causing a crew member to become injured while using that particular piece of equipment. Other times, cruise operators fail to ensure their vessels are sanitized, leading a crew member to develop a potentially life-threatening illness.

So what can a crew member do if they are involved in an accident while in the service of their vessel?

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Propeller malfunctionsA maritime attorney can help with a wide range of cases. Here at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A., we’ve helped the victims of several types of accidents and injuries, both onboard a ship and ashore. We often get asked whether or not a particular victim has a viable case, which we determine through thorough evaluation of each individual incident. Many victims who were skeptical will be surprised to learn about their rights as cruise passengers and that they can, in fact file a case.

Because every case is unique, we cannot stress how important it is for a victim of a cruise ship accident or injury to consult with an experienced maritime attorney to review their situation. Many times, we’ve been able to acquire compensation for victims who didn’t even think they had a claim.

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Security on cruise shipsStatistics show that over 200 cruise passengers and crew have gone overboard since 1995. Though several factors can play a role in these tragic accidents, including intoxication or foul play, cruise line security and safety continues to be subpar – despite recent advances in technology that have led to the creation of overboard passenger radar detection. Unfortunately, the vast majority of those who are involved in overboard accidents do not survive. The sheer fall from a ship alone can be fatal, but other factors, such as exposure, tides, and marine life can also contribute to an overboard victim’s death.

The maritime lawyers at our firm have represented several grief-stricken loved ones whose family members and friends have fallen overboard from cruise ships. And what’s most striking is the fact that in many of these cases, there was no footage of the actual incident. These days, cruise ships are designed to carry well over 2,000 passengers and hundreds of crew members. Most cruise ships are equipped with surveillance technology, but then how are there no records of these accidents? Moreover, why aren’t there any crew members monitoring public areas to prevent these accidents in the first place?

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Cargo shipOur thoughts and prayers are with an injured crew member who was recently involved in an accident aboard a bulk carrier may soon be in need of an offshore injury lawyer as soon as possible to determine his rights. The seaman, a 24-year-old Filipino, sustained a right leg compound fracture and a head injury after falling nearly 20 feet into a cargo hold aboard the Majorca vessel near the East Coast of South Africa.

The Majorca, which was sailing from Brazil to Singapore, alerted all appropriate rescue and government channels and reportedly changed course en route to Durban, South Africa, so the injured worker could obtain proper medical care.

The victim was provided medical attention while on board the vessel, but given the nature of his severe injuries, he required treatment beyond that which the Majorca’s onboard medical staff could provide – another issue our firm has discussed numerous times. Maritime vessels often lack sophisticated medical facilities and as a result, many who are injured suffer life-threatening consequences because they are unable to obtain the fast and complex medical care they require immediately following their accident.

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SeamanWhen people think generally about maritime accidents, what comes to mind? Perhaps a powerboat crash? A boating under the influence incident? Or, maybe even a cruise ship accident. But while the nature of maritime accidents varies incredibly widely, usually, when most people think of these types of cases, a passenger injury comes to mind.

However, as each Jones Act attorney at our firm well knows, there are just as many – if not more – crew member injuries at sea and in port. Most of these accidents are not publicized by the media, the same way, say, a serious passenger injury aboard a cruise line might. And unfortunately, as difficult as it can be at times for passengers to recover compensation following an injury at sea or in port, it is often even harder for a crew member to obtain their rightful damages.

Why is that? Continue reading