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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Cruise ship rape, sexual assault, discrepancy in reportingWhen most travelers board a cruise ship, they have a lot on their minds. ‘What activities should I do first?’ ‘Where can I get some food?’ ‘Point me to the nearest bar.’ It’s highly doubtful that any cruise passenger’s prevailing thoughts are centered on what crimes they could possibly suffer from or how unsafe they might be on their ship. But sadly, this is something all cruise passengers should be thinking about because safety isn’t always guaranteed. Unfortunately, there is a very real threat of danger with any cruise vacation –one of the largest being the threat of sexual assault.

Our cruise ship rape lawyers here at LMAW have reported on several acts of sexual assault on cruise lines that have transpired over the past few years, many of which have involved crew members and even young children. And sadly, many of the victims of these incidents did not have the chance to obtain justice – and may never be able to. Why? Because of an unfortunate, yet all too common practice among cruise lines – withholding evidence.

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sexual assault, cruise shipsCruise vacations should be fun, right? They should offer the perfect chance to relax and unwind, as well as the opportunity to discover new, exciting destinations. The last thing anyone ever expects is for their cruise vacation to go from fun to being a nightmare. Unfortunately, this is the reality many cruise passengers face when they become the victims of sexual assault on the high seas.

Sexual assault is the number one crime on cruise ships, yet, cruise lines appear nonchalant about these statistics. Anyone can become a victim of sexual assault on the high seas – from children to crew members! Yet, cruise lines continue to withhold evidence when reporting sexual crimes, continue to avoid hiring trained security guards, and continue to perform limited background checks on potential crew members – all of which contribute to greater prevalence of sexual assault incidents on board ships.

Unfortunately, we don’t foresee the cruise industry turning over a new safety leaf anytime soon. This means that it’s up to passengers to try and remain as safe as possible. Continue reading

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Cruise ship medical emergency, Coast Guard medevac, Norwegian Getaway, Puerto RicoA cruise vacation can be a lot of fun for kids. Between the numerous kids’ lounges and “clubs”, water slides, and endless supply of pizza and ice cream, it’s no wonder that the trend in cruising has undergone a major shift from a mostly adults type of vacation to one that is more family oriented. But unfortunately, the fact that there are a lot more children cruising means that cruise ship safety has to be held at an even higher standard than usual. And, even more unfortunately, it appears as though this need is being overlooked.

So far this year, there have been numerous incidents involving young children on the high seas, including the near-drowning of a four-year-old boy who was sailing aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas last month. Our cruise ship lawyers are, quite frankly, shocked that most major cruise lines have yet to start employing experienced lifeguards on ships, despite the fact that a large number of accidents involving children are occurring. And now, we’ve come to learn of yet another cruise ship medical emergency involving a child.

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Cruise ship doctors, onboard medical facilities, cruise ship injury attorneysThere’s nothing worse than getting sick while on vacation. No one wants to spend long-awaited time off convalescing in bed. Yet, for cruise vacationers, getting sick on board a cruise can add a whole layer of unexpected and unwelcome trouble.

Fortunately, for most cruise travelers, minor ailments like sea sickness and sun burns are the most common reasons why travelers visit the cruise infirmary. In fact, the top four reasons why travelers visit the cruise infirmary are: (1) bruises, (2) indigestion, (3) sea sickness, and (4) sun burns.

The good news is that many of these issues don’t require a visit to the infirmary at all. The bad news is that individuals who choose to visit the infirmary for ailments might find themselves going home to a steep infirmary bill. And, many health plans won’t cover care received outside the United States. Traveler’s insurance can protect you against unexpected circumstances, but passengers should read every policy to make sure it covers onboard medical services.

Because medical care on board a cruise can be expensive, passengers are advised to bring their own first-aid kit, including good antiseptic cream, Band-Aids, and bandages. Burns can be prevented by using sunscreen regularly. Passengers should make sure they bring enough sunscreen for their whole trip, as the cost of sunscreen on the ship can be prohibitive. Cruise ships often have limited pharmacies, and passengers might find themselves shocked by the price of over-the-counter medicine. Bringing along pain killers, antacids, and Dramamine (for sea sickness) can help minimize medical costs during a cruise vacation, protecting your wallet and keeping you as comfortable as possible if you find yourself feeling a little under the weather.

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cruise ship rape, cruise ship rape lawyerTraveling on a cruise should be a pleasant experience. The image presented by cruise companies is one of maximum relaxation in exotic locales, top-tier service, and on-shore adventures that will create memories to last a lifetime. Yet, for some unfortunate passengers who become the victims of sexual assault, their cruise experience is more akin to a nightmare.

Our cruise ship rape lawyers here at LMAW hear of assault reports on a vessel more often than anyone can imagine. What’s even more disheartening is the fact that many victims do not obtain the justice they deserve. Some victims are so struck with fear of their attacker that they don’t report the crime, while other times, reporting the incident still doesn’t do much when cruise lines sweep incidents under the proverbial rug. Then, there are victims who may not even realize they are, in fact, victims.

When people hear the term “sexual assault”, many think that the term refers to unwanted forced sexual contact. The image the term conjures is one of extreme physical violence and trauma. While some acts of cruise ship sexual assault are indeed physically violent, sexual assault can take on many forms.

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Jewel of the Seas cruise ship fireAfter the Carnival Triumph debacle in February, 2013, maritime authorities, cruise lawyers, and cruise-goers alike have been paying closer attention to cruise ship fires and accidents involving cruise lines in general. Both authorities and the general public have been made aware that cruise lines don’t always reveal accurate accident statistics, which has led many to wonder just how many incidents have gone undocumented and unnoticed.

This brings us to a curious rumor involving a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. Earlier this month, there were a number of reports alluding that there had been a minor fire aboard the Jewel of the Seas ship, which allegedly affected several areas on the vessel. According to online posts, the supposed fire broke out around 5:30 PM shortly after Jewel of the Seas left Bridgetown Barbados while on a 7-night Southern Caribbean itinerary. It was allegedly the result of a blown power breaker. Online accounts explained the fire was allegedly extinguished without any passenger or crew injuries.

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Valentine's Day cruise risksIn our last blog, our maritime attorneys here at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman talked about how a Valentine’s Day cruise can be a breeding grounds for potentially life-threatening scenarios at sea. While many cruisers embark on a Valentine’s cruise to have a good time with their significant others or even celebrate the single life with their friends, there are several risks that can present themselves on a holiday sailing. Last time, we discussed how scorned travelers can create a threatening situation on a ship. Scorned travelers are individuals who may be suffering from severe heartbreak, loneliness, or any other depressive state of mind. The actions of these passengers can be unpredictable, and can lead to troublesome situations on the high seas, including violence.

However, there are a number of other factors that can create a dangerous environment on a Valentine’s Day sailing besides scorned travelers. Below are some of the main safety threats for passengers cruising on Valentine’s Day and how to best avoid them:

 

Higher likelihood of sexual assault

Many of the individuals who opt for a Valentine’s Day cruise are single women who are just looking to have a good time with their also single girlfriends. Continue reading

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Valentine's Day cruise safetyValentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and for many, love is definitely in the air. Some of you may be celebrating several years of happiness together, while others are enjoying the start of a blossoming relationship. And then there are those of us who are either seeking to find a new connection with that special someone that has yet to come into our lives, or who couldn’t be happier enjoying the single life and use the holiday as a way to commemorate their independent lifestyle.

Though we may all be looking forward to different things this Valentine’s Day, sure enough, there will be a large number of people who will be spending the holiday out at sea on a cruise vacation – and for good reason. After all, few things can compare to watching a glowing sunset from the shores of a tropical beach in the Caribbean, or a sunrise from a private balcony stateroom with your special someone. Indeed, cruise vacations can be quite romantic and a wonderful way to spend a holiday with those whom we love. Unfortunately, though a Valentine’s Day cruise is wrought with an abundant amount of opportunities to experience an unforgettable moment with our significant others, there’s more to the holiday than chocolates, flowers, and being swept off your feet – especially when out in open waters.

Any cruise ship attorney at LMAW well knows that there’s a big downside to cruising on Valentine’s Day, and anyone considering a holiday sailing this week should exercise extra caution. The holiday embodies love and passion, but there’s always another side of the coin. Some travelers may very well be in love – or looking for love – on a Valentine’s Day cruise, but others are looking for trouble.

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Boating safety checklist for springSpring is just around the corner. Soon, it will be time to put away those coats and hats, and take out your shorts, your cooler, and get your boat or jet ski ready for the season. Yet, before you go out on the water this spring, there are some important things you should consider to make sure that your boat and jet skis are safe.

Our boating accident attorneys here at LMAW see more accidents in the spring due to increased traffic. Poor maintenance and lack of proper safety equipment sometimes contributes to these accidents and, in some cases, a lack of proper safety equipment exacerbates emergencies. If you’ve kept your boat in storage over winter, it may need some patching up, and your equipment might need to be double-checked. Cold weather can damage your equipment, so it’s best to make sure everything is working before you head out onto the water.

First off, it’s important to note that every boat is different, and the kinds of checks you’ll perform for a motorboat will be a little different than the kinds of checks you’d perform for a sailboat. Always read your owner’s manual and perform any safety checks recommended by the manufacturer. Continue reading

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Surfing safety, maritime lawyerThe winter swells are picking up on many surf beaches across the country and surfers are taking advantage of the waves—even up north. Surfing can be a fun way to experience the water and beach, but as any maritime lawyer at LMAW can tell you, it also presents unique dangers.

Unfortunately, strong surf can often be lead to a greater number of accidents. And while surf lore might make the uninitiated think that sharks are the biggest danger out on the water, the reality is that shark attacks constitute a negligible number of the surfing accidents that occur every year. More likely contributors are collisions between surfers and swimmers, and hard falls onto reefs and sandbars. Falls and collisions can lead to injuries ranging from lacerations to broken bones to paralysis and death. Being aware of your surroundings and surfing within your abilities can help prevent tragedy.

In many locations across the country, surfers have to check more than just the weather report. Some beaches are closed to surfing at certain times of year to protect swimmers and some beaches even require surfers to use a leash. Failure to observe these rules will not just merit reprimanding by the life guard, but might also result in legal repercussions.

So, what can surfers do to make the water safe for everyone? Continue reading