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 »

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A Florida Fish and Wildlife Investigator photographs the personal watercraft involved in the accident.
Photo credit: Devon Ravine, Northwest Florida Daily News.

A seventeen year old from Oklahoma is injured in a Florida boating accident. The Norman, Oklahoma high school student is now identified as Patrick Ahern, a prep cross country and soccer standout. He was visiting Florida and had apparently rented a personal watercraft when a boating accident changed his life forever.

According to media reports from the Northwest Florida Daily News website, the personal watercraft and a 38-foot craft clipped each other. The glancing blow resulted in Ahern being dragged into the larger boat’s propeller. He was listed in critical condition after having part of one of his lower legs amputated. He also sustained a serious head injury and requires ongoing medical care and treatment for that injury as well.

The accident is still under investigation. Initial reports are that both boat operators attempted to avoid the collision. However, just like a car accident, an accident usually does not take place if all parties do everything right, fully comply with the law, and exercise the care, caution, and rights of way required by statute. As the investigation progresses, investigators will attempt to find out the cause of the accident and question issues that surround the incident to determine who, if anyone, is at fault. It stands to reason that if both operators tried to avoid the accident, someone likely erred in judgment because two crafts should never have been close enough to each other to result in a collision on the open water.

Meanwhile, the 17-year old athlete is fighting for his life and was last reported to be in a northwest Florida hospital. While preventable, sadly, boating accidents like this are all too common. They can happen on the open ocean, on lakes, bays, canals, and rivers. We have talked in our blog at length about what duties cruise ship operators have to ensure their passenger’s safety. In this case, the focus will be what duties the operator of the larger vessel had to ensure the safety of other vessels, and what duties the injured had to ensure his own safety if he’s at fault in the accident. If it is established after the investigation that the operator of the larger boat breached his duties, the injured can argue that his damages are as a result of the negligence of the larger boat’s operator.

The damages would likely be quite substantial. The injury may affect the young man’s earning potential for the rest of his life. Medical bills have already accrued, and will continue to as his treatment is ongoing. Other items of damage include pain and suffering, disability, loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, and disfigurement.

This case presents many legal challenges that should only be addressed by an experienced maritime lawyer. For example, the personal watercraft owner – a jet ski or wave runner rental company – may file a proceeding to attempt to limit its liability to the value of the jet ski under a little known and antiquated law which allows for exoneration or limitation of liability by a vessel owner. If successful, the 17 year old victim would be limited to what is presumably a few thousand dollars in his recovery against the rental company. While there are defenses and exceptions to limitation of liability actions by a vessel’s owners – they are complicated and difficult and require extensive legal expertise and work to establish.

No one plans to be in an accident, on land or on the water. However, accidents don’t discriminate: Anyone can become injured as a result of someone else’s negligence. It’s important to take all possible safety precautions to keep yourself safe. If you are injured in an accident, it’s important to contact a boating accident lawyer. Our team has successfully handed thousands of cases since the founding of our practice in 1971. We are knowledgeable in not only maritime laws that govern vessels, their passengers, and crew, but also in personal injury law. Further, we are currently challenging several vessel owners’ claims to limit their liability to the value of their vessels. Our experience in this area enables us to ensure the maximum recovery under the law for our clients and to provide aggressive representation on behalf of the injured, preserving and enforcing their legal rights.

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Unfortunately it’s a headline that is all too familiar in the summertime. We read that a boating accident has claimed another life. It happened this past Saturday near Destin, Florida, where festivalgoers were gathered for the Emerald Coast Poker Run. Four were reportedly aboard; one dead, three injured, two of the three sustained serious injuries. The accident just happened, so details are still emerging and the investigation is just getting underway.
Destin bills itself as the “world’s luckiest fishing village.” That may be so, but the Choctowhatchee bay has a history of serious boating accidents. In early November, 2011, three boaters had to be rescued when their vessel crashed. That accident was caused by a previously sunken ship that had crashed, and was never removed. We not only represent litigants in domestic boat crashes, but also in accidents in international waters.

Boating accidents are very common worldwide. In a car accident, the law is very straightforward. It is obvious what court has jurisdiction over the matter, and it is easier to determine who is at fault. Law enforcement may be on the scene seconds later—which means that witnesses are still present and the cause and fault of the accident is often determined within an hour. Evidence couldn’t have been adulterated.

Accidents at sea are substantively different from a legal point of view. The cruise lines, for example, enjoy choice of forum, which basically means that if you are going to file a claim against them, they get to tell you where to sue—usually Miami. There is also the difficulty with bringing the facts to light. Often in a cruise ship accident, the first authorities on the scene are employed by the cruise line. The obvious conflict of interests is that the people who are investigating the incident, controlling—or removing—the evidence, are also the people who may be responsible for the incident. I remember a case that our firm successfully tried where the cruise line, which was our client’s employer, had asked him to perjure himself before a court of law to hide the truth.

Our boating accident attorneys have a variety of experience overcoming the challenges specific to maritime personal injury litigation. The cruise industry often inserts special provisions into the fine print on the ticket that are designed to curb the rights a passenger has in a legal matter. This even includes shortening the statute of limitations that would otherwise ensure that a passenger would have standing to sue, for example, two years later, when the extent of the injuries is completely obvious. Many other lawyers are unfamiliar with these pitfalls common to lawsuits against cruise lines. That’s why it is so important to contact the right maritime accident attorney as soon as feasible after an accident or injury.

Another way ship operators attempt to evade responsibility is to incorporate in a foreign country and fly a foreign flag—called a “flag of convenience”—and then argue that American courts have no jurisdiction in the matter because the vessel is “foreign”. However, where a ship operator or vessel has a connection to the United States, the American courts have upheld that on a variety of legal issues, their passengers and crew have a right to recover in American courts. Whether you are a passenger, seaman/crewmember, or other party adversely affected by negligence or intentional misconduct by the operator of a boat or ship, our firm stands ready to represent you and ensure your legal rights are fully preserved under the law.

The days of only the elite being able to vacation on board cruise ships are over. Cruising has gone from a quaint business to a burgeoning industry with international reach, and is offered today at a price point that makes a cruise possible for virtually anyone. The evolution of the cruise ship industry has been fascinating to watch. It has also been very troubling to watch the problems that have arisen as the industry has become a well funded machine with considerable lobbying power and political clout. That is one of the reasons they do not have to pay United States income tax.

The roots of the modern industry can be traced to 1900. That’s when the first vessel was built whose primary purpose was not point A to point B ocean transport, but leisure travel.
The cruise ship industry was relatively obscure until the 1980’s, and had, at that time, been given a considerable boost by the television program “Loveboat.”

The early days of cruising featured much smaller ships. With a limited number of people aboard, there were only so many possible suspects for crimes. Nowadays, cruise ships are floating cities in which you can do just about anything– including some activities you can’t do in many land jurisdictions– like gambling.

Now, Carnival cruise lines, headquartered in Doral, Florida, holds just over a fifth of the worldwide market share and reported yearly revenue of $10.9 billion in 2011. There may not be another industry in the world where a company can achieve such revenue and pay so little in taxes. The massive growth of cruising has exposed a number of the dangers associated with vacationing at sea: Sexual assaults, accidents, armed robberies, inadequate medical care in the event of an emergency, accidents during shore excursions, pirates, norovirus, and food poisoning.

Despite the all the bad publicity, the public has not been greatly dissuaded from cruising, according to a very interesting Harris poll. It would appear that most people believe “it can’t happen to me” when it comes to cruise accidents, incidents, crimes and sickness. The laws are changing and our clients have better recourse in righting the ship– so to speak– when bad events happen. The cases are difficult due to the advantages the cruise ship companies have historically tried to gain with fine print on the ticket, the arguments that American courts have no jurisdiction, and the general denial of any responsibility to provide care for the sick and injured. The legal standard is that the cruise lines must exercise reasonable care to furnish aid and assistance as ordinarily prudent persons would render under similar circumstances.

In many ways, the laws are based upon antiquated legal concepts that were established to regulate a very different industry, but they are changing. Our cruise injury law firm has helped shape the laws, and we have tried a number of landmark cases that have set precedent. The $50 billion+ industry has tremendous lobbying power and has constantly tried to curb passengers’ rights. They have argued against us in court that our clients had no right to sue in the United States for an accident that happened, for example, at sea or in a foreign port or on a ship that flies a foreign flag. We have been successful in these cases.

Don’t assume that cruise accidents, injuries, or crimes can’t happen to you. Take steps to keep yourself safe on vacation, and consult our cruise injury lawyers to protect your legal rights.

While everyone hopes that bad things never happen to them on a cruise vacation—accidents can and do happen. In the event that things do go wrong, it’s important to be prepared and calm in an emergency on the high seas. Cruise lines offer passengers general safety information before leaving port. However, cruise lines omit crucial information from their safety debriefing. These omissions and what you should know before you go on a cruise are discussed in this blog.

In an emergency situation, it is often difficult to stay calm. Familiarizing yourself with these tips before leaving port is one of the most important aspects in your preparation for setting sail:

1. Photograph the scene as soon as possible. In the age of cell phone cameras, there isn’t a reason not to. Things that may not seem important at the time can be very important later, and with photographs you’ll have an image of the site of your accident, injury, or crime scene.


2. Notify the authorities. It is common sense to notify the proper authorities if you are faced with a situation, whether that be the ship’s medical team, law enforcement, on-board security, or another agency that deals with your specific trouble. Not everyone asks for a copy of the report that the authorities create. It’s important to do this for a variety of reasons. Once you have an incident report in your hands, it’s unlikely the cruise line will attempt to change it or create another document relating to the event that may not be accurate. If they do, you have the original statement. In addition, people remember events with less and less specificity over time. Having an official record will be important later.
3. Get contact information for all witnesses to the event, if any.

4. If it’s a medical emergency, get the treatment you need. If you feel it is necessary to insist on medical treatment on land, then inform the doctor treating you and other crew if your request is denied.

5. Once you are stable, it’s important to contact a maritime lawyer. As cruise accident lawyers, our firm has represented clients in a wide variety of situations, from accidents and injuries to crimes of violence or sexual assault. Our firm has the experience and expertise to evaluate the situation and ask the right questions. As I said earlier, people remember fewer details as time passes. We also may need to advise you on any applicable statute of limitations in relation to your claim. For example, in many instances you have just six months to file a notice of intent to initiate litigation. Even if you think you do not have a claim, it’s important to allow one of our attorneys to evaluate the facts of your case. You may not, in fact, have a claim. However, maritime law is complex and does provide a number of legal rights to individuals who are hurt at sea. Because our firm has tried or settled cases dealing with such diverse issues, we are well equipped to help you with aggressive representation.

If you found this blog helpful and informative, you’ll also want to check out my book, Unsafe on the High Seas. It’s full of knowledge and information you’ll want to know before you board the ship, and is available electronically as an e-book, and in paperback.

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If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that the laws surrounding maritime issues are very different from laws that apply on land, and that is just one reason it’s so important to hire counsel that understands maritime law after you’ve been a victim of an accident, incident, or crime at sea. Our maritime legal issue in focus today is what the cruise lines pay in taxes, and who they pay it to. We’ll also look at some of the ways the cruise lines avoid tax liability.
Let us say a cruise ship is built in Finland, sets sail from the port of Miami, and flies a Liberian flag. That’s known as a “flag of convenience”– and it’s convenient for the host nation, because they demand less in taxes than first world port countries, but they are usually desperate for the cash, and don’t actually provide many services in exchange for the ship’s registry. Liberia and the cruise industry faced a public relations problem, as you may recall, in 2001, when it was discovered that tax money collected from the industry was financing a revolution in Sierra Leone. The flag of convenience works well for the cruise ship companies, too, because it is a way they avoid paying the taxes they would otherwise owe. It’s why there hasn’t been a cruise ship that has flown an American flag in more than four decades– With the exception of American Hawaiian Cruise Line which went out of business as a result of 911. About three quarters of cruise passengers worldwide are Americans. But to fly an American flag would require the cruise ship companies to have the ship built and owned in the United States, pay taxes on profits like land based corporations do, and staff the ship with American employees, who would be subject fully to American labor law. Congress made a limited exclusion to these requirements to enable NCL to take over the American Hawaiian Cruise Lines routes and continue to offer cruises in Hawaii.

What the industry does pay in American taxes: If you have ever taken a cruise, you’re aware that the cruise ship operators pay port processing fees. You’re also aware that the cost gets passed onto the consumer! When you book a cruise, the travel agent will advise you that port processing fees are not a part of the quoted price. A typical fee is about $50.00 per port. It’s quite a bit of money when you consider that there are thousands of people aboard each ship, and cruise ships set sail daily.

But it’s not a lot of money when you consider the government services that cruise ships demand. When there is an accident at sea, it’s often the United States Coast Guard that responds. There is also the environmental toll from cruise ships, which often don’t adhere to EPA standards, and the services provided by city and county governments in port cities. It takes additional civil servants to maintain order and provide for public safety if there are suddenly 5,000 people getting off a ship and entering town.

It has long been argued by activists and lawmakers alike that for all the American government does for the multibillion dollar cruise ship industry, there should be a tax liability that offsets the expense. The state of Alaska addressed the issue with a $50 per person tax. To passengers’ chagrin, the end user incurred the cost. The tax, however, was less than two percent of what even the least expensive Alaska cruises cost. The Alaska senate cut the tax in April of 2010.
The cruise lines fight tirelessly to save money wherever they can, even by denying the rights of passengers and their own employees. If you have been denied your rights after an accident or injury, or you have been the victim of a crime while on a cruise, contact an experienced cruise accident lawyer immediately.

If you think the Cruise Lines are getting a free ride on your tax dollars contact your State Representative and/or your Congressman and ask them to explain to you why they favor the Cruise Lines over your rights and subsidize them with your taxes!

Sexual assault happens aboard cruise ships from time to time, and studies have shown that people are up to 50% more likely to be sexually assaulted on board a cruise ship than on land. Our cruise sexual assault attorneys frequently represent victims in such cases. A study of crimes reported on cruise ships from 2003-2006 showed that it is by far the most prevalent crime reported at sea: Some 86% of the crimes reported during that time were sexual assaults. It’s not every day, though, that such a crime is alleged to have been committed by a celebrity who is virtually a household name.

That is exactly what’s being alleged by cruise ship employee Fabian Zanzi. Zanzi has alleged that while John Travolta was on a Royal Caribbean cruise in 2009, he was the victim of an act of sexual assault. Zanzi was appointed to be Travolta’s attendant. In executing those job duties, Zanzi claims that Travolta engaged in a non-consensual sexual act. The allegation is now the subject of a lawsuit filed by the cruise ship worker in federal court which categorizes the contact as harmful and offensive. Zanzi is also alleging that Travolta tried to cover it up with a $12,000 bribe in exchange for silence on the matter, according to a news report in the Times of India.

Travolta, meanwhile, has responded, denying that any of the allegations are true, and admitting only that he was in fact aboard the cruise ship. His attorney issued a statement to the media that suggested Mr. Zanzi was trying to get famous from a baseless allegation. It isn’t the first time that Travolta has been accused. Two male masseuses alleged that Travolta had engaged in improper sexual misconduct against them, but they later withdrew their suits. They could re-file the suits in another court, but to date that has not been the case.

Royal Caribbean may be at fault, too, if Mr. Zanzi’s allegations have anything to them. Zanzi’s lawsuit alleges that when he attempted to report the incident, he was not allowed to write anything down regarding the type of the misconduct. He claims that cruise line management prevented him from filing a proper report. Many companies in the cruise industry—not just Royal Caribbean—have shown their willingness to delay in reporting crimes, and hiding the true nature of malfeasance on the high seas. The evidence hasn’t been presented yet, so we don’t know if that is the case in this incident. Our cruise sexual assault lawyers have successfully represented thousands of clients over the years. When the cruise ship companies know they are at fault or have handled a situation poorly, they do what they can to keep things very quiet. For our clients, the good news is that we have the experience in litigation and pre-litigation settlement to rely upon the proper statutes and enforce rights for the injured under the law.

Sexual assaults at sea are more common than the cruise industry would like us to think. The atmosphere on board a cruise ship is one of fun and partying. Many people go on cruises to meet other singles, specifically for the purpose of looking for intimate relations. If that doesn’t pan out, it stands to reason that an atmosphere is created where the likelihood of a sexual assault is higher than amongst the general public on land.

We have represented a number of victims in cases of sexual misconduct at sea. Victims who are American citizens or residents have the right to report the incident and have it subject to an investigation by the FBI even though the vessel flies a foreign flag of convenience. Normally the flag country is responsible to investigate but Congress has extended federal jurisdiction to crimes at sea involving Americans. The cruise lines are obligated to provide for the safety of passengers as well as crew members on their vessels. Hearings on the Travolta allegation, meanwhile, are forthcoming.

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Cruise accident lawyers know that accidents and injuries at sea are more common than many people may think. Over the years, the cruise ship industry has worked hard to limit or remove the rights of passengers. For over forty years, our firm has successfully recovered damages for our clients in a variety of complex legal situations against cruise lines and other ship-owners. Our four decades in the field have allowed us to develop unique understanding and expertise in admiralty and maritime law. While the cruise industry has worked hard to change the laws to its benefit, our firm has successfully handled a number of landmark cases that have set case precedent, preserving the legal rights of all cruisers.

The cruise ship companies have a public relations machine and legal departments that you absolutely can not fight on your own. If you have been subject to a crime or accident while under the care of the operator of a cruise ship, you may be entitled to compensation.
Despite the fact that about three quarters of all cruisers worldwide are Americans (according to statistics from the Cruise Lines International Association), and that most of the major cruise lines are based in the United States, cruise ship operators usually register their ships in foreign countries– such as Liberia— in order to avoid paying corporate income taxes, and in an attempt to argue that they are bound only by the laws of such foreign jurisdictions. Despite these attempts, victims of cruise ship crimes or accidents have long standing rights under U.S. law to assert their claims in United States courts. To ensure that their rights are preserved, victims of cruise ship crimes or accidents should seek representation from experienced counsel, such as the team of cruise injury lawyers at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A.

Cruise ship operators have shown they’ll go to almost any length to deny individuals their rights– even their own employees. A 1993 landmark case tried by this firm involved a Carnival Cruise Lines employee who alleged he had been fired as retaliation for refusing to lie under oath. The Circuit Court had dismissed the employee’s complaint for failing to state a cause of action. He had alleged he was entitled to file suit under federal maritime law and under a Florida statute protecting whistleblowers. We appealed the lower Court’s decision– and won– setting case precedent. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals held that allowing plaintiff to be subjected to retaliatory discharge would have constituted an abuse of defendant’s absolute right to terminate plaintiff, because utilization of the right contravened the established public policy of requiring truthful testimony in the adjudicatory process. Plaintiff also established a cause of action under the state whistle-blower statute.

If the cruise industry would go to such extraordinary lengths to hide the truth as to require an employee to perjure himself under threat of termination, most certainly they have no interest in you knowing and using your rights under the law. The maritime lawyers at our firm know what legal rights you have and will aggressively represent you to make sure that you are well cared for in the event of an injury, accident, or crime committed against you while on vacation. When you call us, the first thing we’ll do is analyze the events of your particular situation. Many people aren’t aware what rights are guaranteed to them under the law.
Experience matters. If you have had an issue at sea or even on land while under the care of a cruise ship company, contact us as soon as possible.

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It is said that the public has a short memory for news. And that’s good news for the cruise ship industry. Fires at sea are a common occurrence that cruisers and crew of the ships have contended with over the years. There have been no less than 50 highly publicized fires at sea over the last twenty years, many of which have been aboard cruise ships. Despite the publicity of these high profile incidents, many incidents at sea are overlooked and never widely reported by the news media. The cruise ship operators certainly wouldn’t write that press release.
Fires are very common on board. In September 2011, the MS Nordlys caught fire off the coast of Norway, leaving 11 people dead or injured. In 1998, the Carnival Ecstasy caught fire in the Port of Miami, close to the offices of our firm. When the facts of the event had come out, it was reported that the Captain had refused Coast Guard assistance. In spite of his refusal, the Coast Guard intervened. When all was said and done, 60 people required further medical care from the injuries they suffered as a result of conditions including, though not limited to, burns and smoke inhalation.

In some cases, the courts have found that the cruise ship companies have failed to maintain proper safety equipment, failed a safety inspection and did not subsequently address the safety issue, or employed crew that have been derelict in their duty to ensure passenger safety. Fires at sea have claimed lives and caused injury to passengers. While cases involving fires on board can involve many challenges, our experienced attorneys have a proven track record of successfully recovering damages on behalf of the injured.

Rather than addressing the underlying safety issues causing these fires and other life threatening incidents, cruise lines insert language in the tickets purchased by vacation goers often, with the aim of limiting the rights of the passenger. Our experienced cruise accident lawyers routinely challenge disclaimer language in passenger ticket contract as an impermissible attempt to deprive the passenger of their rights. In fact, in many of these cases courts have invalidated some of these ticket contract provisions on grounds that they are contrary to public policy.
Cruise ship operators are a part of an industry that serves at least 15 million people a year. Many of these passengers have a good cruising experience. That’s not always the case though, as cruise ship incidents and accidents–that occur on shore excursions sold by the cruise lines– are actually very common. Because the cruise ship companies have a duty to make adequate provision for the safety and security of all the people on board their ships, maritime law provides adequate remedies for persons injured physically, mentally, and economically to recover damages. The variety of damages we are able to recover for our clients depends on the specific facts of a given situation.

Our firm has been fighting for the rights of passengers since 1971. We rely on our four decades of experience in maritime litigation to work for you.

Victims of a bus crash on the island of St. Maarten are taking the important step of seeking legal representation to make sure their rights are preserved. It’s a step best taken as soon as possible after an injury. And it’s important to choose an attorney with the right kind of experience to handle the case.

The lives of 36 vacationers were impacted when the driver of a tour bus carrying cruisers to an on-shore destination lost control on a steep incline, narrowly avoiding an oncoming car. The bus then ended up careening into a ditch, stopping abruptly against an embankment. Most of the 36 passengers were hurt with some of the passengers suffering serious injuries. Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas had sailed from Port Canaveral, Florida July 15. What many people don’t realize is that although the cruise line claim they have no duty to ensure the safety of their passengers while on a shore excursions, it is possible, but not easy, to make a successful financial recovery. Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman P.A. have made numerous successful recoveries for shore excursion accidents. Our firm prides itself on actually preparing and trying the cases we handle. We do not advertise on the web to attract new clients who are then farmed out to another law firm as a referral.

When the cruise ship company falls short of it’s own duties under the law, passengers have legal recourse to recover damages. Many of the passengers will incur medical bills well into the future for treatment required for healthy living, and in some cases to limit the intensity of the lasting pain. Medical care is just one form of damages that injured passengers are entitled to recover. Other items of damage include pain and suffering, disability, loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, disfigurement, bodily injury, loss of earning and earning capacity in the past and into the future. Our cruise injury lawyers are well versed in the specific laws that govern cruise lines and protect their passengers.

There are about 90,000 attorneys in the state of Florida alone. Choosing the right firm to represent you is of the utmost importance after an accident. Our law firm has extensive experience with maritime and cruise line law, and are representing a number of the victims of this shore excursion accident.

We are pleased that so many of the victims of this unfortunate incident have chosen us to represent them. Shore excursion cases such as this often face difficult legal hurdles, many of which stem from the cruise line trying to enforce the tiny fine print in the passenger ticket contract, which is little more than a tool designed to deprive its passengers of their rights. We look forward to working tirelessly on our clients’ behalf in order to obtain for them the maximum recovery under the law, and to continue to shape the law regarding shore excursion liability.

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The LA Times recently published a piece regarding a study performed by Swedish economists that delved into the idea of shipwrecks and accidents and how people act under the stress of these situations. While recounts of the Titanic show women and children being evacuated from the sinking ship prior to men, it seems that today women and children and only half as likely as crew members and captains to survive maritime accidents. It seems the mentality that overtakes these scenarios is more along the lines of “every man for himself.”

Comparisons and contrasts have been noted between the Titanic, today’s Costa, the English Birkenhead and found that the Titanic and the Birkenhead both followed women & children evacuation protocol. In both of these instances, the survival rate of women surpassed men. As far as a legal aspect, it is noted by cruise ship accident attorneys that “women and children first” is a common saying, but it is not codified anywhere in maritime law.