By:   Michael A. Winkleman

Our Maritime Lawyers Demand Justice for Victims of Cruise Ship Overboard Accidents and Falls from Cargo Vessels or Private Passenger Boats

Our maritime and cruise ship overboard accident lawyers have extensive experience helping injury victims and accident survivors demand cruise lines be held accountable for their negligence. Our attorneys at Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P. A. have headquarters in Miami, FL, and 7 offices located across the nation, so we are available to help you no matter where your cruise ship accident occurred. Our 16 attorneys have won numerous awards and accolades, including being selected to “Best Lawyers” ® and one of the United States’ “Best Law Firms” ® by US News & World Report for the last nine years. We first opened our doors in 1971, and in the last 15+ years, we have handled more than 3,000 cases and recovered more than $300 million for our clients and counting.

Our founder, Charles Lipcon, helped shape the way our nation handles cruise ship and maritime accident claims, handling some of the country’s landmark injury cases. Several of our attorneys appear often as expert guests on maritime and personal injury laws, including hotel, resort, and cruise ship accident cases. Whether you are a crew member or cruise ship passenger who went overboard, our legal team is here to help you fight for the compensation you are entitled to.

Overboard accidents are one of the most disturbing and most frequently documented types of accidents that happen on cruise ships. Fortunately, when we discover negligent and irresponsible cruise lines contributed to an overboard accident, we can take steps to bring them to justice and recover maximum compensation for your suffering.

Put our unparalleled success to work for you. Continue reading to learn more about how our cruise ship overboard accident law firm will help you through these trying times. Connect with our legal team as soon as today for a free consultation so we can start investigating the cause of your overboard accident and take steps to make negligent cruise lines pay.

The Reality of Man Overboard Tragedies

Throughout the years, cruise lines have notoriously underreported and/or misrepresented overboard tragedies. While several man overboards are captured by the media, there are several accidents that the public never becomes aware of. Some cases either go completely unreported or crucial details are “conveniently” left out by the cruise lines.

But why?

In general, the cruise industry as a whole tends to keep a low profile when it comes to overboard accidents because of the potential repercussions they can face. Not only can a cruise line’s reputation be tarnished if it has a significantly high record of overboard accidents, but the cruise line can also be subject to liability for the accident, given that the majority of overboard tragedies are the result of poor shipboard safety, and therefore, preventable.

Cruise lines are required by maritime law to provide a reasonably safe shipboard environment for everyone aboard to the best of their ability – this includes providing safety for both passengers and crew. Yet, despite the recent increase in the frequency of passengers and crew falling from ships, along with recent advances in technology that can allow for better man overboard detection, not much has been done by the cruise industry to both prevent and better respond to overboard accidents. Even when an individual is seen falling from a vessel by other passengers or crew members, cruise lines don’t always immediately stop the ship or contact maritime authorities to initiate a swift search and rescue mission. Unfortunately, the longer an overboard victim is left in the water, the lower their chances of survival.

Below are some common factors that contribute to cruise ship overboard accidents:

  • Inadequate security personnel and surveillance on cruise ships
  • Failure to properly monitor onboard security camera footage
  • Over-serving alcohol to cruise passengers
  • Criminal activity, including homicide and violent assault

An Example of a Mysterious Cruise Ship Overboard Accident

One recent overboard accident caught our attention. An 88-year-old woman allegedly went overboard from the Holland America cruise ship Veendam while the vessel was sailing off the coast of Mexico on Jan. 3.

Passengers on the same itinerary took to social media to voice their concerns, saying that the incident was shrouded in mystery. Some say the woman committed suicide, but no one was sharing information. Others say the crew announced a “man overboard” emergency and ordered travelers to remain in their cabins.

So what exactly happened?

According to news reports, the incident was ruled as non-suspicious. This leaves us with intentional or accidental death. This is the piece of the puzzle we have yet to uncover. Amazingly, in essentially all of these “man overboard” cases, the cruise lines – which are in control of the information – report that the “man overboard” intentionally went overboard.

The other bit of information we have comes from witnesses, who claim they saw the elderly woman standing outside her balcony stateroom, leaning over the balcony with her arms extended outward. Perhaps she slipped while standing on the rail and trying to reposition herself, and then fell into the ocean?

Though crew members allegedly stopped the ship and turned it around right away, it was too late. Lifeboats were sent to look for the victim but by the time her body was recovered, she could not be revived.

We find it a bit odd that an 88-year-old woman would be horsing around on her balcony. There must be more to this story than meets the eye, but when it comes to the cruise industry, secrecy is always well kept.

Man Overboard Statistics

Since 1995, several individuals have fallen overboard from cruise ships and ferry liners – both passengers and crew members. As per data provided by Sociology Professor and cruise expert, Ross Klein, which can be found on his website, the passenger and crew overboard accident and disappearance rate for cruise ships and ferry liners is as follows:

  • Total number of overboard accidents to date: 268
  • Average number of man overboard accidents and cruise ship disappearances per year: 12.8
  • Number of individuals that have gone overboard in 2015 alone: 26 – the highest recorded number of victims in history
  • Only 16 of 74 people who have been documented falling overboard from cruise ships from February 2000 and May 2013 survived.
  • Cruise lines with the highest rate of overboard accidents since 1995:
    • Carnival Cruise Line – 55 recorded overboard accidents
    • Royal Caribbean – 39 recorded overboard accidents
    • Norwegian Cruise Line – 20 recorded overboard accidents

Learn more about our recent man overboard case, involving Royal Caribbean passenger Bernardo Elbaz.

Miami maritime

Our Cruise Ship Overboard Accident Attorneys Fight for Victim’s Rights and Demand Cruise Lines Offer Full Compensation for Your Damages

Our cruise ship overboard accident attorneys have years of knowledge and experience handling catastrophic injuries and damages. Our legal team at Lipcon, Margulies & Winkelman, P.A. are proud to have been selected to “Best Law Firms” ® by US News & World Report every year since 2016 and that several of our maritime and personal injury attorneys have been named to “Best Lawyers” ®. You do not need to let irresponsible and reckless cruise lines get away with the injuries you sustained after falling overboard. We are uniquely equipped to help you maximize your financial compensation and demand cruise lines be held accountable for their negligence.

If you are a passenger or crew member who went overboard, and the cruise line’s negligence is found to have contributed to your injuries, we will do everything possible to make them pay. We have over 200 years of combined experience fighting for victim’s rights. Let us help you through these trying times. Get help from our dedicated cruise ship accident lawyers as soon as possible. Schedule your no-cost, risk-free consultation today and start to take back control of your life. You can reach us through our secured contact form or by phone at 877–233–1238 to schedule your no-obligation case evaluation with our reputable maritime injury attorneys.