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.