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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Carnival Cruise Line passenger purposefully jumps overboardOur maritime lawyers have posted a number of blogs regarding the disturbing number of cruise passenger overboard accidents that have taken place over the years. According to the Cruise Junkie website, a total of 239 people have gone overboard in the past 10 years alone, which is extremely tragic. We’ve discussed numerous times how overboard accidents can be reduced, such as by increasing the number of crew members patrolling public areas, hiring trained security guards to monitor suspicious activity in order to prevent foul play, and by cruise lines installing radar detection technology – technology that is currently available – to record the instant someone does go overboard, so a search and rescue can be immediately implemented, instead of waiting hours for the ship to be searched and then trying to determine the last location of the vessel at the point the individual went missing.

Unfortunately, these types of accidents continue to happen, and when they do, there is often some level of blame that can be placed on the actual cruise lines for failing to provide the highest standard of onboard safety possible to both passengers and crew members. This is usually how it goes – usually. However, we’ve recently stumbled upon a video that has literally dropped our jaws.

So what exactly happened? Well, if you ask us, a complete lapse of judgement on the passenger’s part.

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boating accidentsFlorida has several laws in place to protect boaters on waterways. When these laws are violated, boating accidents are more likely to take place with tragic consequences. But how many boaters really know these laws? And which ones are the most critical? We’ve got the answers. Here’s a look at some of the more important laws to know when you head out for some sun and surf this holiday.

First off, when it comes to collisions, there’s a good rule of thumb to keep in mind: a hit and run on the water will have the similar consequences to those on land. In the event of a boating accident, individuals are required to remain at the scene to render aid and exchange personal information. If the accident resulted in damage greater than $2,000, personal injury, or death, boaters are required to contact the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the sheriff, or police chief. If not, then the boater will likely be fined with a hit and run charge and will most likely be arrested and suffer even greater penalties.

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Quantum of the SeasRoyal Caribbean has just rolled out with a brand new toy – a rather large toy. It’s got all kinds of high tech gadgets, premium features, and even robots. So what exactly is this seemingly incredible feat of architectural genius? Why, Quantum of the Seas, of course. And this masterpiece of a cruise ship (well, more like a space ship) is looking to take your breath away.

Quantum of the Seas is first of three ships in its class, with Anthem of the Seas slated to set sail next spring, and Ovation scheduled to arrive in the fall of 2016. Like a proud parent, Royal Caribbean boasts that the super vessel is “the most technologically advanced cruise ship in the world.” The cruise company does have a point, though. Among the ship’s numerous innovations is the ability to use mobile devices and tablets. Quantum of the Seas offers a special luggage tagging system that allows guests to track their bags from the moment they drop them off at the pier until their arrival at the guest’s stateroom via their smartphones. Tablets located around the ship offer the added convenience of making dining reservations, spa services, and other activities. But that’s not all, tablets record guests’ preferences from diet restrictions to how someone takes their coffee.

The vessel also boasts the world’s first “skydive” at sea, RipCord by iFLY, aka a glass vertical wind tunnel that offers a skydiving-type of experience and pretty nice views. Our maritime lawyer wrote about another one of Quantum’s nifty features, the world’s first robotic bartenders at sea. At the “Bionic Bar”, thirsty guests can order cocktails prepared by none other than animatronic bartenders. Then there’s the first-ever roller rink and bumper car venue at sea. Sound like fun? You bet. That is, until things start to go wrong.

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NorovirusThere’s a plague in our midst; one that’s been invading cruise ships for years. It’s sly, evasive, and cannot seem to be controlled. This little bug is fast-spreading and potentially life-threatening. Friends, we are talking about Norovirus. That pesky bug that affects hundreds of cruise passengers – and crew members – every year, leaving victims literally sick to their stomachs.

Attention has been mostly focused on the recent Ebola outbreak, but we can’t forget about Norovirus, because like Ebola, it has the potential to be fatal. This virus is basically a form of the stomach flu, with symptoms (including vomiting and diarrhea) lasting about three days. Doesn’t seem too bad at first, but the symptoms can become extremely severe, leading those who become infected with the virus to become quarantined in their room.

Most people who are sick don’t even realize they have the virus until symptoms manifest, but they are still contagious. And even those who do show symptoms don’t usually think much of it, dismissing the entire ordeal as just regular food poisoning or a bad stomach ache. So, these individuals will board a cruise ship not thinking twice about being contagious. They then proceed (inadvertently of course) to spread the virus via contact with inanimate objects that others on board will likely touch as well, including door handles, tabletops, and rails. They might even share food or eating utensils with loved ones. And before you know it, voila, you’ve got a Norovirus outbreak on a cruise ship.

Unfortunately, Norovirus does spread extremely fast – especially because a cruise ship is one giant floating box, filled with confined spaces and corridors and lacking sufficient ventilation outlets. Continue reading

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boating accidentsOne of the benefits of living in sunny South Florida is the fact that we have great weather all year round (well, mostly). Add dozens of beautiful waterways to the equation and you have the perfect recipe for ideal boating conditions.

On any given day, you’ll find South Florida’s channels inundated with eager boaters enjoying clear skies and warm temperatures. Who’d blame them? We’ve got an array of top boating spots to choose from, including Biscayne Bay, the Miami River, and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway – to name a few.

But while South Florida’s waterways do make for amazing recreational boating outings, they can also make for dangerous boating accidents. As any boating accident lawyer at our firm can tell you, all the conditions that make our water channels so appealing also make them prone to hazardous conditions. In fact, according to the US Coast Guard’s 2013 Recreational Boating Statistics, Florida ranked first in the nation, with a total of 685 boating accidents in 2013.

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Miami waterwaysIn Miami, we’re lucky to have beautiful boating weather year-round. Of course, this means that the potential for boating accidents is greater because boaters simply have more time to be on the water. Because a fun boat outing can quickly turn tragic, we’ve come up with some tips that can help you and your family stay safe this holiday boating season.

Although accidents can happen at any moment, even when a boater is abiding by proper maritime laws, there are many ways to prevent tragedies in open waters. Making sure that your boat has adequate life jackets and emergency equipment on board such as a first-aid kit, a pocketknife, flashlight, mirror, flares, and sunscreen can make a huge difference if you run into trouble on South Florida waterways.

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Cruise ship medical facilitiesSo you’re out and about on the Lido deck, enjoying the warm weather and tropical cocktail. Relaxing and without a care in the world. You know, your typical cruise vacation. But then the unexpected happens. You were too busy contemplating the sparkling ocean that you didn’t notice someone splashed their own little ocean on the deck. So you suffer a nasty tumble and the nice tan you just got is turning all sorts of black and blue shades from the bruises that are now decorating your back, arms, and head. No biggie you think, it’s just a slip and fall…but soon you realize it’s much more than that. When you try to get up, you start to feel dizzy. You’re seeing stars and then before you know it, you’ve blacked out.

Now what?

Are you going to wake up in a hospital? On the ship’s onboard infirmary? What’s going to happen?

Well, you’re unconscious, so you now you’re relying on crew members to make sure you’ll get better. But can you really rely on them? Can you trust that the cruise ship you are on will have the necessary resources to either a) treat your symptoms successfully, or b) rush you to the nearest hospital via medevac? Sadly, there’s no way to know for sure.

You see, cruise ships are known for a lot of things; good food, fancy drinks, and spa services, sure – but top-notch medical facilities is not one of them. Continue reading

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HandcuffsMost cruise lines cater to families, offering a variety of activities for both minors and adults to enjoy. So, when families decide to embark on a cruise vacation, naturally the last thing on their minds is that something terrible might happen. Unfortunately, there are a range of threats that can face a family on a cruise ship – sexual assault being one of them.

Not many people might believe it, but sexual assault is the number one reported crime on cruise ships. And worst of all, several of the victims are children. Perhaps the most tragic part about sexual assaults on the high seas is the fact that many assailants get away with their crimes. Although they are required to by maritime law, cruise lines don’t always report suspected sexual crimes, or if they do, many times the reporting process is delayed, giving suspects time to disembark the ship before authorities are called to investigate. Victims’ rights aren’t always protected, which is why it is crucial for victims to consult with a cruise ship rape lawyer following an attack on board a vessel.

Sadly, another sexual crime has recently taken place on board a ship. Though any sexual crime that occurs on board a cruise ship is devastating, the particular details of this crime are even more shocking than most because the suspect is an Air National Guard in Kansas. This goes to show that anyone can be sexual predator, so it’s important not to place too much trust in strangers while on a cruise vacation.

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Bahamas Celebration cruise shipLast week, our maritime lawyers spent some time taking about Halloween sailings and all the fun activities cruise lines plan for guests. Some cruise ships allow passengers to dress up in costume, while others have special drinks with a spooky theme to them, and some even allow kids to trick or treat. But, as with any kind of cruise vacation, things can go wrong during a Halloween sailing, which is why we came up with a couple of tips to help those who had Halloween cruises planned remain as safe as possible.

Accidents can happen on the high seas for several reasons; as can crimes. However, guests can do a number of things to reduce their chances of getting hurt, such as limiting alcohol consumption, traveling in groups, and staying away from isolated areas. Yet, unfortunately there are times when bad things happen even when a cruise passenger does all they can to avoid trouble. Though we all expect a little scare here and there on Halloween, one unlucky group of cruise passengers got way more than they bargained for on their holiday sailing.

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Preparing for a cruise vacationIt’s that time of year again, time to escape the winter weather, and head down to the Caribbean for some fun, sun, and your long-awaited, long-deserved cruise. Because any offshore injury lawyer are our firm knows all too well that disasters can happen on a ship, we want to make sure that your experience is delightful and, above all, safe. Here are a few tips to help make your cruise experience a memorable and safe one.

 

Be Prepared

First and foremost, check your itinerary. Weather and other circumstances sometimes affect itineraries and cause certain ports to be canceled. It’s important to check these things ahead of time so you don’t get an unfortunate surprise at the port. Passengers should also double check that they have packed their passports and any visas they may require for their cruise. There are times when travelers have not been allowed to disembark or re-board their ship at a foreign port of call because they forgot crucial identification. Being left behind at a port can mean a ton of expenses to return home and can place passengers at risk for criminal attacks, so be sure to compile a list of important identification needs to cross out before departing.

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