Cruise Ship Passenger Injuries

By:   LMAW

When you set out on a relaxing cruise vacation, perhaps the last thing on your mind is how you might suffer an injury that could negatively impact the rest of your life.

Serious injuries unfortunately occur at-sea, however, and cruise lines — despite the global cruise industry enjoying record profits and rapid growth overall — many times fail to implement training protocol and safety controls that could minimize or avoid the risk of injury.

Passengers may be exposed to a variety of injuries, from slip-and-fall accidents (due to wet and uneven surfaces on cruise ship decks) to sexual assault during a cruise.

Unfortunately, many injured passengers do not fully understand their rights and entitlements in the wake of an accident. They might be concerned about suing a multibillion-dollar business entity, or they might even blame themselves for the accident. Though these are legitimate concerns, they do not preclude recovery. Injured passengers can be entitled to compensation for their losses, and cruise lines can and should be held accountable for exposing them to unreasonable dangers.

At Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkelman, P.A., we have been recognized as a top national law firm in maritime law by organizations that include U.S. News and World Report and Best Lawyers. In fact, we are the only cruise ship passenger lawyers who have been named to Best Law Firms four years in a row, and have four lawyers named to Best Lawyers. We have also routinely been asked to appear on local and national TV to discuss current events regarding serious passenger injuries, and specifically, the cruise ship industry. Our reputation has been earned case-by-case.

Types of Passenger Injuries

Passengers may suffer injuries in a variety of serious accident scenarios aboard (or otherwise linked to) their cruise ship journey, including:

Cruise ship accidents can result in significant bodily harm. Unfortunately, cruise lines often try to shave down their margins by playing “fast and loose” with passenger safety — for example, despite the fact that the risks associated with passenger overboard accidents could be reduced by automated overboard alarm systems, few cruise lines have outfitted their fleets with such technologies.

Cruise lines may reduce their operating expenses by maintaining only a basic training regimen for crew members and by failing to implement and follow comprehensive safety protocol aboard their ships, but this, naturally, will lead to an increase in personal injury lawsuits by passengers. Cruise lines understand and accept this risk as one of the many costs of doing business. As such, it’s important that you — the passenger — litigate claims instead of simply allowing the cruise line to pocket the money they should have paid out for failing to protect you from serious dangers.

We Will Hold the Cruise Line Accountable

The maritime lawyers at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. have extensive experience with cruise ship passenger injuries. In fact, we have helped hundreds of individuals navigate their cruise ship injury lawsuits, so that they receive the just compensation and resolution they deserve.

Although it may only take a moment to lose footing on a cruise, it can take weeks, months and even years to make a full recovery from a slip and fall injury. The process of returning to work and getting back to life as usual may be lengthy and expensive. From the financial strain to the emotional distress, this is not a burden anyone should have to handle on their own.

The cruise industry must understand the importance of placing passenger safety first, and through litigation, they can be forced to recognize that their negligence has a negative impact on their customers, employees, bystanders and their overall brand image. We believe that when a serious slip and fall accident occurs, the cruise line should take the opportunity to learn from their mistake and make every reasonable accommodation to prevent these (and other) types of life-changing events from happening again in the future.

Taking Immediate Steps After a Cruise Ship Accident

In the wake of a cruise ship accident, you should take steps to resolve your immediate concerns and secure comprehensive legal assistance:

  1. Seek medical assistance
  2. Identify potential eyewitnesses and take down their contacts
  3. Photograph the scene of the accident
  4. Seek legal assistance
  5. Follow-through with law enforcement, if necessary
  6. Avoid disclosing information prior to consulting an attorney
  7. Avoid resolving the dispute prior to consulting an attorney

If you fail to seek immediate medical assistance, for example, then the cruise line might use that failure to undermine your overall injury claim, and to argue that your damages were exacerbated by the lack of timeliness in securing adequate medical assistance.

Of course, in the cruise ship accident context, shipboard medical facilities are not always sufficient. There are many cases in which the cruise ship medical facilities are not stocked with the necessary medications, or are staffed by poorly-trained individuals — under those circumstances, a medical malpractice claim may be actionable.

After you have secured medical care, your next step is to secure legal assistance as soon as possible. This is perhaps most critical to your success in litigation. Failure to litigate your claims in a timely manner (by missing the statute of limitations deadline) could result in an immediate dismissal and an inability to recover damages through the courts. The statute of limitations deadline varies from jurisdiction-to-jurisdiction, and most cruise lines have gone further and enshrined shorter contract-based limitations periods for passenger injury claims. In some cases, you may only have six months to give notice of your injury and one year from the date of injury to bring a lawsuit.

If you have missed your deadline, however, all is not necessarily lost — depending on the circumstances, you may be able to show that the contract-based limitations period was unreasonable and unenforceable, or that you qualify for an exemption.

Proven Experience Against Cruise Industry Giants

With nearly a century of combined experience having successfully litigated claims against the major cruise line players, our attorneys have gained significant insight into the inner workings of various cruise lines and what strategies will be most effective.

In the cruise industry alone, we have successfully sued:

  • Carnival Cruise Lines
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Costa Cruises
  • Crystal Cruises
  • Cunard Line
  • Disney Cruise Line
  • Holland America Line
  • Mediterranean Shipping Cruises USA
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Princess Cruises
  • Radisson Seven Seas Cruises
  • Royal Caribbean International
  • Seabourn Cruise Line
  • Silversea Cruises
  • Island Queen Cruises

We are battle-tested litigators who have taken on sophisticated cases involving legal issues of first impression, and won. Cruise lines have significant resources, and a vested interest in aggressively defending cases so as to discourage other passengers from coming forward with similar lawsuits. As such, cruise ship litigation is inherently challenging, and requires the skillful hand of confident attorneys who understand what it takes to succeed at the highest level.

Representative cases include:

  • Holding a cruise line liable to our passenger-client due to the negligence of the ship doctor, despite the fact that the doctor was an independent contractor.
  • Successfully litigating a cruise ship rape and sexual assault case involving a bar waiter and a young girl passenger.
  • Successfully litigating a cruise ship slip-and-fall case involving a passenger who fell due to a liquid spill and suffered a broken hip.
  • Representing a passenger in one of the first successful medical malpractice claims against a cruise line.
  • And thousands more

Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. is a nationally-recognized maritime law firm whose attorneys have developed a brilliant reputation as thought-leaders and prominent litigators in the cruise ship and maritime industries.

We have offered our insight and commentary to major TV programs, including CNN, Fox News, NBC News, Court TV, The Early Show on CBS, 20/20 on ABC News, MSNBC News Live, and various local news stations in Florida, California, and Texas.

It is our belief that by increasing the visibility of cruise ship industry claims in the public eye, we can put additional pressure on cruise lines to implement better safety mechanisms and training programs so that passengers can be protected from unreasonable risks of injury.

Our Experienced Maritime Attorneys Can Take Your Case

If you have suffered a slip and fall while aboard a cruise, rest assured that you do not have to face the cruise line on your own. Since 1971, our team has recovered hundreds of million dollars for our clients in cruise ship and maritime accidents. We believe that our results over many decades speak volumes about our ability as litigators.

If you have questions about your cruise ship passenger injury claims, we are standing by to provide assistance. Contact us today to schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our seasoned cruise ship attorneys. We look forward to speaking with you further to determine how best to proceed with your case.