Last Friday evening, on October 19, 2018, Christopher McGrory — a 29-year-old man and resident of Palm Beach, FL — fell from one of the higher levels of the large cruise ship, Grand Classica (operated by Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line), to one of the lower decks, resulting in fatal injuries. Other passengers observed that a significant amount of blood was pooling on the lower deck around the body. According to reports, Christopher was celebrating his bachelor party on the cruise ship at the time of the accident. To our knowledge, no other passengers suffered injuries f Mr. McGrory’s fall.
Reports indicate that following the incident the Coast Guard at nearby Rivera Beach responded and rescuers rushed Christopher to St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, but the paramedics pronounced him dead.
The US Coast Guard is currently investigating the incident further, currently it is unknown how it was that Mr. McGrory suffered his fall, or whether there was alcohol involved.
This is an extremely sad incident. Christopher was a young man just beginning the next phase of his journey through life when it in an instant it ended, in the process also altering forever, the lives of his fiancée and his surviving family members.
As the investigation unfolds, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line’s liability will depend on whether they failed to implement adequate fall protection, failed to hire sufficient staff to prevent these kinds of incidents, and the always possibly over-serving alcohol. If the cruise line was negligent in any regard and that negligence caused or contributed to the incident, then the surviving family members may have actionable claims for wrongful death damages.
Vessels Must Implement Adequate Fall Protection
Cruise ship operators must implement adequate fall protection to ensure that the risks passengers are exposed is within acceptable ranges — it is the duty of the cruise line to maintain a reasonably safe environment for passengers. Failure to do so exposes them to significant civil liability for harms caused as a result.
In the present case, it is not clear how or why Christopher fell to the lower decks. However, as a general rule, overboard and deck-fall accidents are preventable through the implementation of various fall protection measures, such as high guardrails, alarm systems, staffed CCTV monitoring systems, security patrols along the perimeter of the ship, and safety warnings. Sadly, many cruise lines do not implement these measures.
We Can Help
If you or a loved one has sustained a falling injury while aboard a cruise ship, then you may have a right of action for damages against the cruise line for failing to install adequate fall protections and otherwise take measures to prevent the occurrence of your incident. Given the inherent difficulty in bringing a significant claim against a cruise line for fall injuries — particularly when there alcohol is involved — it’s important that you work with a team of attorneys who understand how to effectively navigate the complications typical of such litigation.
Here at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A., our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience advocating on behalf of those who have been injured, or killed — and their surviving family members — in claims against cruise lines, whether the victim fell overboard or fell onto a lower level of the cruise ship, as in the present case.
Though we are located in Florida, our attorneys have had success litigating claims in courtrooms worldwide. As such, no matter where you suffered injuries, we encourage you to get in touch for assistance.
Ready to speak to an attorney?
Contact our team of seasoned maritime lawyers here at Lipcon for guidance. We look forward to helping you move forward with your dispute.