Cruise Passenger Sues Celebrity for Severe Burns

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

This is not our case but given several interesting facts about it, we have decided to include it in our blog.

This month a 66-year-old cruise ship passenger filed a lawsuit against Celebrity X Cruises in New York. Below we will point several of the hurdles they will face with it.

Jeffrey Mizel and his wife were enjoying a European cruise with a few friends in 2014.

The Statute of Limitations contained within Celebrity’s Passenger ticket and its Forum Selection Clause gave him only one year to file it his suit and requires that he file it in the District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

If Mr. Mizel retained his lawyer timely and he is the one who missed the Statute, we hope he has good malpractice coverage. Our firm has been successful in challenging a missed Statute defense but it is very difficult to do and you first have to file in the correct Court.

Mr. Mizel suffers from neuropathy-induced nerve damage; this means he lacks sensation in the affected area, his feet.

While the vessel he was on, the Celebrity Silhouette, docked in Greece, according to reports, the high temperatures outside prompted Mizel to decide, “I’m going swimming.”

Mr. Mizel had been ambulating on the vessel in a cart and apparently either bare footed or when he decided to parked his cart about 10 to 12 feet from the pool, he forget to put on any foot protection.

Mizel says he “had no idea” how hot the deck was, due to his pre-existing nerve damage. However, when he got into the pool, he realized that the skin from the bottom of his feet was, “just hanging off” of his feet.

We wish, Mr. Mizel the best of luck with his case and a generous award to compensate him for his injury.  However, we are compelled to point out that, knowing he had a lack of sensation in his feet, going barefooted a distance of twelve feet on an obviously hot deck is problematic.  Assuming he gets past a Motion to Dismiss his lawsuit for missing the Statute, the Line’s lawyers will then try to defeat this lawsuit by arguing open and obvious with respect to the deck being hot. Moreover, if he fails with that he will use Mr. Mizel’s failure to protect his feet knowing he had an underlying problem with them to try to reduce the amount of whatever award he is given.

Although Mr. Mizel immediately went to the ship’s doctor and though they offered an emergency airlift so he could treat on land, (ship’s medical facilities are not equipped to treat severe burns as well as shoreside hospitals are) he refused, so as not to inconvenience his wife and travel companions.

Again, while perhaps understandable, this too will be used by the Line’s lawyers to argue that Mr. Mizel did not take adequate steps to mitigate his damages and therefore his award if any should be reduced by whatever percentage of fault the lack of those steps the trier of facts finds to be fair.

Since the event, he has had a series of infections and hospitalizations, and even required the amputation of his big toe. And while he still works for an LED light manufacturer, he has taken on a business partner to handle the workload and uses crutches.

Ultimately, Mizel believes Celebrity X Cruises should have warned passengers that the deck would be hot and his lawyer has sued then for $6 million dollars.

The company as in most of these cases has declined to comment on the case.

Passenger Safety Should Be Top Priority

In the wake of this event, we understand the concern Mizel must have for the safety of other passengers who could be in a similar situation. Unfortunately, swimming pools, water parks and their surrounding areas are often the sites of accidents and injuries aboard cruise ships.  In fact, this is not the first instance when a passenger reported suffering burns due to a hot pool deck, placing the cruise lines on notice of this potential problem. So they should at the very least advise all their passengers to wear protective footwear on exterior decks rather than go barefooted but does not common sense on the part of the passenger also play some part in one’s personal safety ?

Our team recently won a top verdict recognition for a client who suffered an injury in a cruise water park and sustained life-changing damage to her spinal cord. With our depth and breadth of experience, we are prepared to handle a wide range of cruise ship accidents and injuries.

At the end of the day, safety at sea should be every cruise ship’s first priority. There is no excuse for a cruise ship creating unsafe conditions for passengers or crew members or in failing to adequate warn them of potential dangers know to the Line but not the passengers and crew.

However, unfortunately even when using common sense and with warnings in place people suffer injuries and accidents on Cruise ships daily. When they do, rest assured that an experienced lawyer can hold them accountable for their negligence.

LMAW, PA is Here to Help

Suing Cruise Lines is not something any lawyer can successfully do. Every maritime lawyer at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. is equipped with the knowledge and skill to bring your claim in the correct Court within the time allowed for it and understand what you are facing, after your cruise ship injury. With our 100 years of combined experience in maritime law, we are prepared to fight for you at every step of the way, so that you receive the just resolution you deserve.

Although harms suffered, are not reversible, obtaining compensation for it can offer some level of closure, so that you can move forward with your life. So if you have questions about your case and are seeking advice you can trust, do not hesitate to contact us, today.