Cruise Ship Accidents, Cruise Ship Law

As Cruises Resume, So Do Passenger Injuries

Michael A. Winkleman

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Michael A. Winkleman is one of the nation’s top maritime lawyers. An active trial and appellate attorney, Mr. Winkleman is also a frequent contributing expert on maritime and cruise ship law. He has made more than 100 national television appearances regarding cruise ship law.

In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, cruise ships were highlighted as prime locations for outbreaks. After 17 percent of U.S. cases of the virus in March 2020 were linked to cruise ships, the industry shut down worldwide, along with many other businesses. 

We are currently handling numerous coronavirus-related lawsuits against the major cruise lines, and we have already successfully resolved countless COVID cases, including wrongful death cases and a class action regarding payment of wages to crewmembers [LINK TO BAHAMAS PARADISE STORY?].  

Fortunately, with vaccination rates increasing and the chances of hospitalization and severe illness among vaccinated individuals significantly reduced, the cruise industry is opening up and passengers are heading out for their next adventures at sea. All passengers and crew members over the age of 12 must be fully vaccinated to board ships on most cruise lines, so COVID-19 should not be a huge concern.  In fact, many observers say cruises are safer than on land because of their heightened protocols to even get on the ship!  

Of course, this does not mean that there aren’t risks of cruising, however, as accidents and injuries can still occur and have already begun to occur.

As cruises have resumed since the Summer of 2021, so to has resumed the flow of preventable injury cases.  We have successfully been representing passengers and crew injured at sea and on cruise ships since 1971.  In 2021, we celebrate our 50th anniversary of helping the community and those injured on the high seas, and we are ready to continue to provide world class representation to those injured as global cruising resumes.  

If you are one of the many people with tickets ready to board a cruise ship, we hope you have a safe and enjoyable vacation. If you or your child suffered injuries on a cruise ship, please reach out so our nationally recognized maritime injury lawyers can assess your rights and obtain justice for you or your loved ones. 

What Companies are Sailing?

A number of cruise lines set sail during 2021, with more ships ready to launch in the coming weeks and months. According to Travel Weekly, the following cruise lines are back up and running:

  • Celebrity Cruises was one of the first companies to return to the sea, as it launched from several different ports starting in June 2021.
  • Carnival Cruise Line started sailing on July 3rd, and numerous ships will continue to launch into 2022.
  • Crystal Cruises began cruising in July, and the company even launched a new ship, the Crystal Endeavor, on its maiden voyage.
  • Disney Cruise Line launched two ships in 2021 from Port Canaveral and San Diego
  • Holland America Line began cruise tours from both U.S. coasts and many locations around the world.
  • Lindblad Expeditions started up its luxury adventure cruises in July 2021.
  • Azamara launched its first cruise ships as an independent company in August offering smaller ships heading for less-traveled ports.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line began sailing again in July, with ships launching from around the world throughout the rest of 2021. 
  • Oceania Cruises set sail in July, and has its U.S. launches set for December and January. 
  • Princess Cruises began its cruise tours in July, with numerous ships at sea each month. 
  • Regent Seven Seas Cruises started sailing in September, and has ships launching from Miami and Europe.
  • Royal Caribbean International has many ships launching from various ports since July 2021. 
  • Virgin Voyages started back up in October 2021 for Caribbean trips. 

These are only the cruise lines with U.S. ports, and many additional companies have launched ships from various international ports. 

Do You Need a Maritime Lawyer after an Injury on a Cruise?

Cruises should be fun adventures, but they can be disrupted by serious accidents and injuries. After a cruise ship injury, many people wonder whether they need to retain an attorney to represent them. The answer is a resounding yes.  

An unfortunate reality is that corporations and at-fault parties always want to settle for as little as possible or take steps to make you think you have no viable claim.  As a matter of fact, if they can find any way to deny your claim, they will. This makes it highly advisable to retain an experienced attorney to protect your rights after an accident on a cruise ship. Some ways that a cruise line  may try to minimize your settlement offer include:

  • Pressuring you to provide a written or recorded statement about your accident, during which they ask questions designed to get you to say something they can use to blame you for your accident. For example, if your accident involved a fall, they may ask you questions about how much you were drinking while you were aboard.
  • Advising you not to call a lawyer. Often, cruise line representatives will intimate that their offer is “as high as they can go,” and that getting a lawyer will only cut into the amount of compensation you receive. Do not believe them.
  • Misrepresenting your legal rights. For instance, they may say that you are not entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering (you most certainly are!).

As a victim of a cruise ship accident, it is vital to keep in mind that the cruise line’s risk management department deals with claims like yours every day. They train their staff to know how to limit their liability and get injured victims to settle for less than their cases are worth. Don’t be fooled!  The best way to even the playing field and protect your rights is to retain an experienced maritime lawyer as soon as possible.  Our consultations are always free and we never earn a penny unless we make a successful recovery on your behalf.   

When you first meet with a lawyer, they will review the facts of your case and determine whether you have a legal claim. If you do, your lawyer will then evaluate your losses and take the immediate steps necessary to protect your claims, including preserving the applicable statute of limitations and satisfying any and all notice requirements.   Importantly, once you have retained an attorney, the cruise line is not allowed to communicate with you directly. Instead, they need to communicate with your lawyer only, which will ensure that you do not say or do anything that could hurt your claim.

Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with a Maritime Injury Lawyer

If you have suffered injuries on a cruise ship, you should speak to an experienced maritime attorney as soon as you can. In many cases, victims of cruise ship accidents can recover significant compensation for their losses, and the team at Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. knows how to get injured passengers the compensation they deserve.

Our firm has a national and international reputation as leaders in helping cruise ship accident victims recover compensation, and our founding Partner Charles Lipcon was named Lawyer of the Year in Admiralty and Maritime for Miami in 2020. To schedule your free case evaluation with a member of our team, call our office today at 877-233-1238 or contact us online.

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