Last week, we reported on an accident that took place aboard Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas. On July 1st, 2016, just a day after the ship departed from Bayonne, New Jersey, the 8-year-old boy was found unresponsive in the swimming pool.
The Coast Guard, contacted at the time of the event, estimated that the boy had been under water for eight to 10 minutes. After being treated by the ship’s medical team, ship medical personnel decided that the boy would need additional medical assistance. He was then medevaced from the ship to Staten Island University Hospital North. At the time of our reporting, his condition was unknown.
However, today we are met with the devastating news that the boy has died from injuries associated with that incident. According to the medical examiner, a seizure disorder may have also contributed to the death. We are sending our thoughts and condolences to the boy’s family during this difficult time.
Safety Precautions Are Necessary
Incidents like these remind us of the fragility of life, especially while on the water. Although embarking upon a cruise should be a relaxing and carefree experience, all too often we are reminded of the importance of practicing safety measures to keep everyone out of harm’s way.
One of the most common methods usually employed for swimming safety is the presence of a lifeguard. Trained in first aid and capable of responding to emergencies in the water, lifeguards are an invaluable addition to any pool or beach. Unfortunately, pools aboard Royal Caribbean ships and most cruise ships do not have lifeguards. In fact, Disney Cruise Lines has been the only cruise line to our knowledge to implement lifeguards aboard its ships – in response to another tragic drowning incident.
The industry responds by stating that most hotels do not staff their pools with lifeguards. However, the cruise industry’s analogy loses traction when one considers that a cruise ship’s pool deck, on most days, is the center of activity on the ship. The pool deck usually contains several bars and many bar waiters whose trained goal is to sell alcohol to the large numbers of cruise passengers on the pool deck – parents of young children, included. The sheer numbers of passengers, coupled with the chaotic nature of the pool deck, and the sales of alcohol remove the cruise ship pools from comparison with the hotel pool at a Holiday Inn.
Furthermore, we would be remiss if we did not explain the devastating legal implications of the death of this young boy on the potential legal case against Royal Caribbean. Because of a little known law, the Death on the High Seas Act, when the boy died as a result of his shipboard drowning that occurred on the high seas, his claim against the cruise line became limited to economic damages only.
That means, when the boy was injured – but alive – he had a claim for non-economic damages, including his pain and suffering from the catastrophic injuries he suffered in Royal Caribbean’s pool. However, when his injuries culminated in his death – those non-economic damages were extinguished by the Death on the High Seas Act, leaving his estate with a claim only for his loss of net accumulations for what would have been his normal life expectancy
Since it is nearly impossible to establish what an 8-year-old boy may earn over his lifetime, as well as what he may spend and save – it becomes impossible to prove his economic damages. Hence, his estate will very likely go without recovery! This is a travesty in the law and should demand your attention and call for change!
Nevertheless, any victims of a cruise tragedy such as this should consult with experienced attorneys regarding their potential claims. Our team of attorneys has vast experience handling cases against Royal Caribbean and all of the other big name cruise lines. We understand the pain that you may be going through after a tragic event while at sea, and we are here to help.
So if you are seeking a maritime lawyer with your best interest at heart, feel free to contact us to set up a free consultation. After all, you should not have to navigate the turbulent legal territory alone.