When cruise ship passengers go on vacation, they may not be aware of the many hidden dangers that they’re exposed to during shore excursions and other destination-oriented recreational activities, such as island bus tours. If an accident occurs, however, cruise passengers have options, and have rights. Those who are harmed while on a shore excursion are likely entitled to compensation for their injuries in a lawsuit against the cruise line.
At Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A., our shore excursion accident lawyers have over a century of combined experience litigating injury claims on behalf of cruise ship passengers, including claims that occur during shore excursions. We have successfully handled nearly the identical cases against the cruise lines. Just a few years ago, we brought an action against Royal Caribbean International in a catastrophic bus crash that occurred during a shore excursion on the Caribbean island of Dominica. In another action, we successfully represented dozens of passengers of Royal Caribbean after passengers participated in a shore excursion where the vehicle (operated by a third-party tour company) went careening out of control and crashed. In each of these cases, we were able to successfully hold the cruise line accountable for these shore excursion incidents.
Recently, a shore excursion injury story out of the Bahamas has caught our attention.
The Tour Bus Crash at a Glance
Just two days ago, on Monday, June 24, a bus (carrying 32 passengers from the nearby Carnival Ecstasy cruise ship) overturned and crashed in the town of Eleuthera in the Bahamas while taking passengers on a shore excursion tour. According to reports, four passengers were in critical condition with severe fracture injuries and potential paralysis — those four passengers were airlifted for hospital treatment at Broward Health Fort Lauderdale. The remaining passengers were brought to a local medical clinic for further evaluation, and were subsequently cleared to return to the Ecstasy.
It is not yet clear what caused the bus to overturn and crash.
The bus was operated by Eleuthera Adventure Tours Limited, and was taking passengers on a Rock Sound Island Tour excursion. Eleuthera Adventure Tours Limited also offers other excursion tours, including Cathedral Cove and Ocean Hole tours. While the cause of the accident is being investigated, the company suspended all three tours.
We wish the best for all passengers involved in this tragic accident, and hope that investigators learn more about what actually occurred in the coming days and weeks.
Carnival Cruises Could Be Held Liable
In the present case, Carnival Cruises could be held liable for the damages suffered by its passengers while aboard the tour bus. Cruise lines have a duty to exercise reasonable care to ensure that their passengers are protected from harm — this duty does not end when the passenger leaves the ship for a shore excursion. The applicable law is well established that if Carnival knew or should have known of a danger associated with the Shore Excursion, then they can be held responsible. Similarly, if Carnival Cruises gave passengers the reasonable impression that they are involved in the tour’s operation (by marketing the tour aboard the ship, selling tickets aboard the ship, etc.), then liability could be imposed under a theory known as Apparent Agency. For decades, the attorneys at Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, have helped to create and shape this area of the law.
Cruise lines must be careful to perform their due diligence in evaluating the safety standards of the tour operators they work with. If Eleuthera Adventure Tours Limited failed to maintain their vehicles in a safe condition, for example, or hired unlicensed bus drivers, then Carnival could be found negligent, and held responsible
Contact Lipcon for Immediate Legal Assistance
Litigating a shore excursion injury dispute is not a straightforward matter. Success requires creative, relentless advocacy. Here at Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A., we can provide the sophisticated representation necessary to get the job done right and secure the damages you deserve. We have been doing this since 1971 and will continue to fight for the rights of the injured.
Throughout the years, we have been widely recognized as a national leader in maritime injury litigation — recently, we were awarded our fourth consecutive selection as a 2019 Best Law Firm by US News and World Report for Admiralty and Maritime Law, an impressive achievement by any measure. Several of our attorneys are also multi-year recipients of Best Lawyers honors and Super Lawyers, and have obtained an AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale-Hubbell.