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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Cyclone Pam, Port Vila, Vanuatu, cruise passenger safety, cruise ship accident lawyers Cyclone Pam caused serious damage to Vanuatu’s Port Vila in Mid-March. Yet, thanks to the efforts of donors, Port Vila will re-open to tourists this week. Since the hurricane, cruise ships that have been visiting the island nation have not allowed passengers to disembark, but rather, have used the opportunity to ship much needed supplies to the people of Port Vila. Starting this week, tourists will be able to disembark.

Yet, our cruise ship accident lawyers here at LMAW can’t help but wonder if the port is really safe for tourists, especially cruisers.

Carnival Cruise Line representatives claim to have performed an assessment of the conditions in Port Vila. The cruise line, in conjunction with local authorities, have both decided to allow passengers to disembark.Yet, there haven’t been clear reports released about how secure the area is following the damage the storm has caused. And, both Vanuatu and Carnival are relying on continued tourism for revenue. If there’s a rush to get cruising operations resumed in Port Vila, it may compromise the safety of passengers and crew members.

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Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A., maritime attorney, Michael Winkleman, Today Show, near-drowning, cruise ship, Royal Caribbean, Oasis of the SeasOur firm’s very own maritime attorney Michael Winkleman will be appearing on the Today Show tomorrow (Friday) morning at 7:40 AM to discuss one of the most controversial and little-known facts regarding the cruise industry – how the majority of cruise lines do not employ trained lifeguards to work on board their ships.

This has been a hot topic of debate recently, especially following the near drowning of our client, a 4-year-old-boy, on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas in January, as well as the recent drowning deaths of several children on various cruise ships. Despite these tragedies, there has yet to be an industry-wide mandate requiring cruise operators to hire and staff their ships with lifeguards.

Make sure to tune in tomorrow morning to watch our maritime lawyer discuss this serious maritime safety matter.

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SeamanOur Jones Act lawyers here at LMAW have often reported on several cases where cruise ship crew members have been denied their right to justice following an accident, injury, or illness stemming from a ship operator’s negligence. Prior to the enactment of the Jones Act, seafarers who sustained injuries while in the service of their vessel could only do so if the injuries were caused by the “unseaworthiness of the ship”. However, if the injuries were sustained because of the negligent actions of the ship’s master or other crew members, seamen were prohibited from recovering damages. The Jones Act has radically changed the way seamen’s rights are protected, but even then, there are times when those rights are challenged.

Recently, Carnival Cruise Line’s employment contracts have come under scrutiny, as one crew member takes his case to the U.S. Supreme Court. The employee, Vitalii Pysarenko, a Ukrainian national, hurt his back while working on the Carnival Dream in 2010. According to Pysarenko, he was required to perform heavy lifting on his own without appropriate safety equipment. Carnival avoided liability under the Jones Act by using an arbitration clause in its employment contract that requires cases to be tried in London, Monaco, Panama City, or Manila.

In particular, Carnival has asked that the case be heard under Panamanian law. Unfortunately, the law in Panama currently doesn’t supply that same benefits to workers under the Jones Act. Aside from the aforementioned benefits, crew injured at sea during the course of their employment can use the Jones Act to seek damages against their employers, even if the ship was located in international waters when the injury occurred. Yet, Carnival is fighting to avoid responsibility.

Our Jones Act lawyer, Carlos Felipe Llinás Negret, is representing a group of nearly 600 former cruise ship crew members who have filed amicus briefs in support of the worker, alleging they were forced to work without gratuities. Continue reading

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cruise ships, secrets, cruise lawyersCruise ships spend millions of dollars a year on advertising in an attempt to win consumers’ vacation dollars. For instance, in 2010, Carnival Cruise lines spent $66.4 million on advertising alone. In these advertisements, consumers see sun-drenched decks, shimmering pools, and exotic locales. Yet, there are many things about the cruise industry that cruise lines don’t tell would-be vacationers. While some of these things are shocking, others are perks that cruise vacationers may not be aware of.

That being said, our cruise lawyers here at LMAW have compiled a list of five interesting things about cruise vacations you may be shocked to learn about.

Cruise Morgues. Yes, most of the bigger ships do have morgues. Given the large capacity of these ships, and the number of elderly guests that travel on cruise ships, cruise lines need to be prepared for every contingency—and death is just one of those contingencies. It is important to properly handle the deaths of passengers and crew in order to keep all on board safe. But, not many people may be aware of the fact that when death occurs at sea, it can sometimes be several days before lines can send bodies to a morgue on land. For this reason, most ships come equipped with a morgue of their own. Continue reading

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boating safety, children, boating accident lawyersBoating with your kids can be a great way to connect. By giving children age-appropriate responsibilities, they can not only learn how to be safe boaters themselves, but also gain important leadership experiences they can carry with them for the rest of their lives. Yet, before parents go out and share their love of boating with their children, there are some things to know and do. Check out these five important safety tips from our boating accident attorneys here at LMAW that can help reduce the chance of your children getting hurt while in open waters.

 

Make sure your kids (and everyone on your vessel) wear a life jacket

First and foremost, when heading out on a boat trip with kids, make sure children have an appropriate, fitting life jacket and make sure that children (and everyone else on the boat) wear them while out in open waters. A life jacket that may have fitted your child last boating season may be too small this year, so make sure you are properly equipped. Children’s life jackets should be able to turn the child over so that if the child lands in the water, they won’t remain face-down. Ideally, you should choose brightly colored jackets that will increase the child’s visibility should they fall in the water, as well as life jackets that are equipped with a whistle, so they can signal for help.

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hypothermia, hypothermia treatment, boating accident lawyersIn our last blog, our boating accident lawyers discussed one of the most common, yet treatable conditions that can arise at sea and pose a deadly situation for boaters – heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion results when an individual becomes dehydrated while experiencing hot temperatures. But while it can be fatal if left untreated, recognizing the signs of heat exhaustion and understanding the steps that can be taken to both treat and prevent this condition can lead to a successful recovery. The same applies to other common conditions that boaters may face while out in open waters.

On the other end of the spectrum from heat exhaustion is another condition that can threaten the lives of boaters – hypothermia. Hypothermia results when the body’s temperatures cool down to dangerous levels. This can happen, for example, if a boater falls into cold water.

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first aid, cpr, boating safety, boating accident lawyerOur boating accident attorneys here at LMAW recently discussed the importance of learning CPR and first aid techniques before going out into open water. These techniques can keep boaters and their passengers safe while also ensuring that boaters are self-reliant when they head out to remote areas on their boats. Heart attacks, drowning, and excessive bleeding are extreme medical emergencies that require stabilization of the victim and then hospitalization. Yet, there are some more common medical situations boaters might encounter while at sea that are both easily preventable and manageable—if caught early.

One of the most common conditions that individuals sailing on a boat may face is heat exhaustion. While this is actually a condition that can be treated successfully if caught in time, unfortunately, not many people are aware of the simple steps they can take to do so. Let’s take a look at some of the ways heat exhaustion can be treated.

First, it’s important to actually understand what heat exhaustion is. Heat exhaustion occurs when a person suffers from dehydration while experiencing hot temperatures: conditions that can easily arise when people are riding on a boat. Continue reading

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mayday, boating, boating accident lawyers“Mayday!”

The word conjures images of the worst-case scenarios that can happen at sea: a passenger is overboard, the boat is sinking, there’s a fire, or someone on board has fallen seriously ill. No one likes to think about these terrible scenarios, but as any boating accident attorney at our firm can tell you, knowing what to do when disaster strikes can mean the difference between life and death.

Knowing how to properly call for mayday is a key skill for any boater to have. It can ensure that the Coast Guard is dispatched swiftly and arrives quickly to help you and your crew in the event of an emergency. Continue reading

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Royal Caribbean, Liberty of the Seas, passenger overboard, Florida Keys, cruise lawyersThey say that bad things come in threes. Well, it seems that for the cruise industry, bad things come with a lot more frequency than that. Our cruise lawyers here at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. have recently blogged about three tragic overboard accidents that have occurred within the cruise industry in just the last two weeks alone. And now, we’re shocked to learn that yet another cruise passenger has gone missing from a ship. If this isn’t a sign that there should be an industry-wide mandate to install man overboard detection technology on ALL ships, we don’t know what is.

According to news reports, the latest man overboard accident occurred on Sunday night. The victim, a male passenger who was sailing aboard Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas cruise ship, allegedly disappeared while the vessel was sailing roughly 20 miles off the coast of the Florida Keys. As with the other three overboard accidents, Royal Caribbean hasn’t shared much regarding the incident. In fact, we don’t even know if the man actually fell or jumped from the ship!

The cruise line released a statement saying that surveillance footage was reviewed, which showed the man climbing over the railing on deck 12 of the ship, and then jumped. But is the cruise line sure he really jumped?

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first aid, cpr, boating safety, boating accident lawyerBoaters may not realize it, but when they leave the shore and head out into open water, they are venturing out into a wilderness situation where help can be miles away and where self-reliance is key. There are many basic things boaters can do to be safer, among them requiring all passengers on board to wear safety vests and also ensuring that the boat has all required safety equipment in accordance with current Coast Guard regulations. One additional thing that boaters can do to be safe and keep those around them safe is to learn CPR and first aid skills.

CPR, or Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation, is a form of first-aid that is administered to a victim whose heart has stopped. While a great majority of heart attack victims die before they reach the hospital (92%), The American Heart Association suggests that many more of these victims could have survived if people around them had known CPR techniques. For heart attack victims, CPR allows blood to keep flowing to the brain, ensuring that the brain stays alive, even after the heart has stopped. If a person can be kept alive long enough for doctors to discover what is blocking or stopping the heart, the person has a far greater chance of survival. If a heart attack victim receives CPR, his or her chances of survival increase by twofold or even threefold amounts. Medical advances in heart care make it possible for medical practitioners to keep victims alive in the hospital long enough to discover the heart problem, and, if possible, fix it. Unfortunately, many heart attack victims arrive at the hospital dead because those around them were not able to administer immediate first aid.

When individuals go out on boats, CPR training is even more critical because help can be miles and sometimes hours away. The American Heart Association reports that as many as 70% of Americans don’t know how to react in a cardiac emergency. Unfortunately, many of these emergencies take place at home or at places where immediate medical care is unavailable.

But as any boating accident lawyer at our firm can tell you, when individuals go out to sea, heart attacks are not the only risk. Continue reading