Recently in Cruise Ship Crew Member Injury Law Category

August 18, 2016

Cruise Ship Fire Forces More Than 500 Passengers and Crew Personnel to Evacuate in Puerto Rico

An America Cruise Ferries cruise ferry combination ship had to evacuate 500 plus passengers due to a fire that started in the ship's control room and was unable to be put out by ship personnel. According to reports a hose carrying fuel burst open and caught fire. The fire was eventually extinguished but the boat system's collapsed and the ship was rendered unsafe requiring the evacuation of all passengers and crew members.

Although no fatalities or major injuries were reported, 24 people were hospitalized and many were treated at the scene for heat stroke and dehydration. The Caribbean Fantasy was traveling from Puerto Rico to the Dominican Republic carrying mostly Dominican passengers. Among the passengers were a 22 member cycling team, a girls' volleyball team and a boys' baseball team.

The ship has been safely docked at San Juan's harbor in Puerto Rico.

Sources and Photo Credit:

Photo: Carlos Giusti/Associated Press

Cruise-Ship Fire Near Puerto Rico Spurs U.S. Coast Guard to Evacuate Passengers
, The Wall Street Journal, August 17, 2016.

More than 500 Evacuated Burning Ferry Off Puerto Rico, Independent, August 17, 2016.

August 17, 2016

Holland America Cruise Line May Face Punitive Damages in Injured Crewmember Lawsuit

Holland American Cruise Line Punitive Damages.jpgA Washington Federal Court has recently allowed an injured crewmember to seek punitive damages against Holland American Cruise Line. In that case, an American crewmember from Massachusetts worked as a cast member on Holland America's ZAANDAM cruise ship. One day she decided to take a crew-only spin class. Unbeknownst to her, the bike seat was not yet fastened and when she attempted to mount the bike, the seat slid backward and the metal post penetrated her vulva, lacerating her right vagina. The ship's infirmary staff examined her and decided against suturing the wound. The crewmember discharged with ice, a topical analgesic, pain medication and antiseptic wipes. She continued to experience pain and sought treatment ashore when the cruise ship call on Juneau, Alaska. The crewmember alleged the emergency physician at the Juneau hospital told her that the wound should have been sutured but that it was too late to do so at that point. The crewmember returned to the cruise ship where she twice saw the ship's doctor to address a golf-ball sized growth that had formed in her vagina. The crewmember alleged that the infirmary staff told her that the growth needed to be drained, but that the head office would not allow that to happen on the cruise ship. Instead, the crewmember claimed she was told that she could bathe her wound in the infirmary's bath. This did not provide any relief. Still in considerable pain, the crewmember departed the cruise ship in Alaska and returned home to Massachusetts. There, she sought treatment from an obstetrician and gynecologist.

Continue reading "Holland America Cruise Line May Face Punitive Damages in Injured Crewmember Lawsuit " »

May 19, 2016

Miami Appeals Court Finds Punitive Damages Claim Can Continue Against Norwegian Cruise Line

Florida's Third District Court of Appeals.jpgThe crew member personal injury lawyers of Brais Brais Rusak received a favorable appellate decision against Norwegian Cruise Line and its subsidiary NCL America concerning a seaman's right to bring a punitive damages claim against the cruise lines for their failure to provide her maintenance and cure benefits.


Our law firm represents a United States credentialed merchant mariner who was the nominal employee of a security services company named American Guard Services. American Guard Services loaned our client to Norwegian Cruise Line's subsidiary NCL America to provide security guard services aboard the Hawaiian based PRIDE OF AMERICA cruise ship. Shortly after beginning her shift at six o'clock on the morning of May 22, 2011, she, along with three other security guards and a deck cadet, received an order from a ship's deck officer to lash down lounge chairs that were being blown across an exterior deck due to Force 10 winds. After assisting with lashing down the lounge chairs, our client made her way back to the exit/entrance when the high winds blew her feet out from under her causing the back of her neck and upper back to violently impact the ship's deck. She was rendered briefly unconscious.

Our client was initially treated with pain medication by the ship's doctor and returned to work for another two weeks before being sent home to Houston, Texas, to recover from post-concussion syndrome. Thereafter, she was diagnosed with damaged cervical vertebrae, and underwent several surgeries to repair the damage. She continues to suffer cervical pain and headaches.

On behalf of our client, we filed a lawsuit against Norwegian Cruise line, NCL America and American Guard Services alleging negligence under the Federal Jones Act (46 U.S.C. ยง 30104) as well as the traditional seaman causes of action for failure to provide unseaworthy vessel and the failure to provide maintenance and cure in Miami, Florida.

Maintenance and Cure Defined

Unlike land-based employment law, a sick or injured seaman is not entitled to a state workers' compensation. Instead, a seaman is entitled to what is called maintenance and cure. Maintenance is a per diem subsistence allowance intended to encompass the reasonable cost of food and lodging comparable to that of the sick or injured seaman received aboard the vessel which extends until the seaman reaches the point of maximum cure. Cure refers to medical treatment. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd v. Rigby, 96 So. 3d 1146, 1152 fn. 12 (Fla. 3d DCA 2012).

Duty to Provide Maintenance and Cure

A seaman's employer has the obligation to provide maintenance and cure benefits to a seaman injured while in the service of the ship regardless of fault. Aguilar v. Standard Oil Co., 318 U.S. 724, 63 S. Ct. 930, 87 L. Ed. 1107 (1942); Porto v. Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc., 555 So. 2d 394 (Fla. 3d DCA 1989). The duty of the seaman's employer to provide maintenance and cure is Cervical Injury Lawyer.jpgnon-delegable, meaning that if another company, other than the employer, mishandles the obligation to provide maintenance and cure, the employer is liable for any damages arising therefrom including punitive damages. See, Hines v. J.A. La Porte, Inc., 820 F.2d 1187 (11th Cir. 1987)(subjected the employer to punitive damages despite the fact that the employer's insurance company mishandled the administration of the injured seaman's maintenance and cure benefits). Furthermore, as held by the Supreme Court, an employer cannot "contract out" of its obligation to provide a sick and injured seaman maintenance and cure benefits. See, Cortes v. Baltimore Insular Line, Inc., 287 U.S. 367, 371, 53 S. Ct. 173, 77 L. Ed. 368 (1932).

Often times a relationship exists between a ship owner and a company for the purpose of providing specialized skilled labor to work aboard the ship. When an employee of one company goes to work on the ship and is controlled by the ship owner, a borrowed servant-employer relationship exists between the seaman and the ship owner even though he or she receives a paycheck from another company. In such situations, maritime law requires the borrowing employer to provide the injured seaman maintenance and cure benefits. See, Hall v. Diamond M Co., 732 F.2d 1246, 1249 (5th Cir. 1984).

Penalties for the Failure to Provide Maintenance and Cure

There is an ascending scale of penalties for an employer's failure to provide maintenance and cure benefits depending upon the level of culpability. See, Norwegian Cruise Lines v. Zareno, 712 So. 2d 791 (Fla. 3d DCA 1998). An employer is afforded a reasonable period of time to investigate a maintenance and cure claim to determine whether the injury or illness occurred while the seaman was working in the service of the ship and crewmember did not intentionally cause his injury or illness. If, after the investigation, the employer denies the claim on a reasonable basis and the seaman later determined to be entitled to maintenance and cure, the employer is only liable for the past and future maintenance and cure benefits. However, if the employer unreasonably denied maintenance and cure benefits, it will be liable for not only the past and future benefits but compensatory damages associated with the denial. Such compensatory damages include pain and suffering the crew member endured while waiting to receive the benefits as well as any progression of the injury or illness that was caused by the failure to provide maintenance and cure. The final level of penalties for the failure to provide maintenance and cure is punitive damages. Such damages could be awarded when the employer was not only been unreasonable but was callous, recalcitrant, arbitrary and capricious, or willful in denying or delaying owed maintenance and cure benefits.

Success in the Trial Court

Miami Courtroom.jpgFlorida procedural law bars a plaintiff from pleading punitive damages at the first instance. Instead, it requires the plaintiff to proffer to the trial court judge evidence which could support a punitive damages finding by a reasonable jury. The trial court judge receives this evidence and makes a finding as to whether the evidence could or could not support a punitive damages award. If the trial court judge finds that the proffered evidence could support a punitive damages finding by the jury, the plaintiff is allowed to amend the complaint and seek punitive damages.

We filed the requisite motion with the court and proffered evidence that Norwegian Cruise Lines, NCL and American Guard Services engaged in a willful pattern of denying and delaying our client recommended treatment and medication. The trial court found that such evidence could in fact support a jury's finding that the companies could be held punitively liable for their actions.

Success at the Appeal Court

Norwegian Cruise Line and NCL America appealed the trial court's finding. They argued that allowing the injured seaman to seek punitive damages is premature as there was no legal determination as to which entity (Norwegian Cruise Line, NCL America or American Guard Services) is ultimately responsible to provide maintenance and cure benefits. We argued that such a determination need not be made before a trial court judge could allow a claim for punitive damages. The fact that a borrowing employer is obligated to provide a sick or injured seaman maintenance and cure is enough to bring a claim of punitive damages against the cruise lines under Florida procedural law. The appellate court accepted our argument and denied the cruise lines' appeal.

There are many intricacies as to who is entitled to and who must provide maintenance and cure benefits. Two of our law firm's partners are Board Certified by the Florida Bar in the area of Admiralty and Maritime law and have dealt with these intricacies throughout their careers. If you work on yachts or commercial ships and would like to learn more about your legal rights, contact us for a free consultation.

May 9, 2016

Carnival Cruise Ship Crashes Into Passenger Gangway

Carnival Pride.jpg
The Carnival Pride after deporting from Baltimore

A Carnival cruise ship has crashed into a passenger gangway in Baltimore, Maryland, while attempting to dock after a 7 day Bahamas cruise. Media are reporting that the gangway was knocked over by the ship onto 3 parked cars. Luckily, no one was in any of the vehicles and no one was injured. The ship, the Carnival Pride, only sustained minor damage to the bow and is expected to depart on its next cruise as scheduled.

Although cruise ship "crashes" are a rare event, Carnival has experienced a number of various types of accidents in recent years. In 1995 the Carnival Celebration was adrift in the Bahamas for two days after losing power to an electrical fire. The Carnival Ecstasy caught fire in 1998 but was luckily still near the port of Miami and the fire was doused by rescue fire boats. The Carnival Tropicale was left adrift in the Gulf of Mexico in 1999 due to an engine room fire, leaving passengers no option but to wait out a tropical storm that occurred after the ship became disabled. A fire that broke out in the generator room left the Carnival Splendor disabled off the Western Coast of Mexico in 2010 until it was eventually towed to port in San Diego.

Continue reading "Carnival Cruise Ship Crashes Into Passenger Gangway" »

September 8, 2015

Fire Erupts aboard Carnival Cruise Ship

carnival-liberty_fire-erupts.jpgOn Labor Day, Monday, September 7, 2015, an engine-room fire erupted aboard the Carnival Liberty, a cruise ship carrying over 3,300 passengers and 1,100 crew. Authorities, including the U.S. Coast Guard, are still investigating the cause of the fire, which remains unknown. Various media reports have stated that the fire ignited in the ship's aft engine room while the ship was moored at the pier in St. Thomas, USVI. It is reported that the ship's crew was able to extinguish the fire with the ship's carbon dioxide and Hi-Fog fire suppression systems. No injuries have been reported as a direct result of the fire.

As of Tuesday morning, the ship had not resumed its scheduled itinerary sailings in the Caribbean to ports in Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and St. Maarten. The ship left from San Juan, Puerto Rico on September 6, 2015 and was originally scheduled to return to San Juan on September 13th. Carnival released a statement claiming that all hotel services on the ship, including air conditioning, elevators, toilets and galleys, were fully functional. However, experts and authorities are still assessing the nature and extent of the engine-room fire.

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June 3, 2015

Caribbean Cruise Lines Allowed to Challenge Better Business Bureau's "F" Grade in Court

Florida Carribean Cruise.jpgAfter receiving an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau of Palm Beach County (BBB), Caribbean Cruise Lines filed a complaint against the consumer protection organization alleging defamation and violation of Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FUDTPA). The trial court dismissed both claims finding the letter grade is pure opinion which is protected by the First Amendment and therefore cannot a claim for deformation cannot stand as well as the cruise line did not have standing to bring a FDUTPA claim. Caribbean Cruise Lines appealed the decision.

In a multiple paged opinion, the Florida appellate court affirmed the trial court's dismissal of the defamation claim but reversed the dismissal of the FDUPTA claim. The appellate court, without making a determination as to whether the BBB violated the Act, found the trial court erred in its legal finding that Caribbean Cruise Line had not standing to sue. "Standing" is the legal principal that affords a person or company the right to bring a lawsuit. The BBB argued that only consumers of BBB's services have standing, and since the cruise line cannot be a consumer of its services, has no standing to bring a claim. The appellate court found this to be an incorrect statement of law. In doing so, it compared a previous version of the statute which read, "In any individual action brought by a consumer who has suffered a loss as a result of a violation of this part, such consumer may recover..." with the current version which reads "In any individual action brought by a person who has suffered a loss as a result of a violation of this part, such person may recover..." The appellate court reasoned that by rewording the statute, the Florida legislature no longer intended FDUPTA to apply to only consumers, but to other there persons and legal entities who were damaged and could prove the elements of the claim as well. As such, Caribbean Cruise Lines has the right to challenge its "F" grade placed by the BBB and remanded the case back to the trial court for further proceedings.

Caribbean Cruise Lines is headquartered in Ft. Lauderdale and operates cruises from Palm Beach County Florida to the Bahamas. The company made widespread headlines last year when its cruise ship, the Bahamas Celebration, ran aground Free Port causing several hundred people to be evacuated.

May 21, 2015

Boston Based NCL Norwegian Dawn Cruise Ship Runs Aground

Norwegian Dawn Grounding.jpgHow does a modern cruise ship run aground? That is what maritime investigators will be trying to sort out over the coming months in the case of Boston based Norwegian Dawn grounding on a charted reef off the Bermuda coast. The liner had just left King's Wharf on Hamilton Island to start its last leg of its voyage back to Boston when it grounded. Though no reports have been made as to the exact number of people who were aboard, the Norwegian Dawn can carry more than 2,000 passengers and up to 1,059 crew members. What makes this grounding noteworthy is that this ship is not a rust bucket in its last stages of useful life owned by a nearly defunct shipping company. On the contrary, this cruise ship is equipped with sophisticated electronic navigational and steering equipment as well as depth recorders which sound warnings when entering dangerously shallow waters. Again, how does a modern cruise ship run aground?

Typically there are three reasons: environmental, equipment failure, and human error. NCL (Bahamas) Ltd., the ship's operator which is based in Miami, blames the marine casualty on an equipment failure, more specifically, a malfunction of the steering system. The Norwegian Dawn is no stranger to equipment failures. In 2013, a power failure left the ship dead in the water for hours and in 2009 a power failure left the cruise liner without running water, air conditioning and working toilets. Though NCL blames the grounding on equipment failure, it fails to mention whether the navigational officers could have prevented the incident when they knew or should have known the steering system was not properly working. These issues will be investigated and a governmental report will follow.

More worrisome than the ship's checkered past regarding power failure are the reports of how the crew reacted in the moments after the grounding. The Associated Press reports that passengers observed some "crew members running around in a panic". This suggests a lack of training in emergency situations on the part of NCL. Lack of crew training was a significant contributing factor to the loss of life in the Costa Concordia disaster as several news outlets reported that the crew admitted they were not trained to evacuate passengers. It would stand to reason, that in the wake of such a maritime disaster as Costa Concordia, a major cruise line would conduct regular crew training for emergency situations.

Cruise lines owe their passengers the legal duty of reasonable care. This means performing periodic systems checks and emergency drills to determine whether the ship is sufficiently seaworthy to safely carry passengers and its officers and crew properly trained to act in a reasonable prudent manner when an emergency occurs. Time will tell if NCL met this legal standard.

Photo Credit: International Business Times

March 29, 2015

Passengers & Crew Evacuated as Smoke Billows from the Carnival Liberty

Carnival Liberty Passenger Evactuation.jpgMultiple news sources are reporting that passengers and crew members were evacuated off the Carnival Liberty when smoke emerged from the forward section of the cruise ship. The incident happened last Friday while the 10-year-old, 2,974 passenger cruise ship was docked in St. Maarten. The smoke billowing from the Carnival Liberty sent fire crews racing to the cruise terminal. A spokesperson from the cruise line stated the smoke was caused by an over-heated bearing. The ship left port as scheduled. No injuries have thus far been reported. The Carnival Liberty currently sails from San Juan, Puerto Rico. The cruise ship is scheduled to replace the Carnival Triumph in Galveston,Texas in March 2016. Readers may remember in 2013 the Carnival Triumph lost all power while in the Gulf of Mexico due to an engine room fire and was towed to Alabama for repairs.

March 18, 2015

Passenger Falls Off Galveston Based Cruise Ship

Carnival Triumph.jpgMultiple media sources are reporting that a passenger is believed to have died after falling off a Galveston based cruise ship operated by Carnival. On the evening of March 17, 2015 shipboard personnel aboard the Triumph were notified that a 57-year-old passenger fell overboard while the ship was off the northern coast of Mexico. CCTV video confirmed the passenger fell overboard. Cruise lines have a duty under maritime law to perform a search and rescue mission once it becomes known that someone, whether that person is a passenger or crew member, has fallen overboard. It is reported that the ship notified Mexican authorities and initiated a search and rescue operation. The next morning Mexican authorities found a body believed to be the passenger who fell off the cruise ship. The Triumph was returning to Galveston from a five day Mexican cruise.

February 13, 2015

Senator McCain's Efforts to Repeal Jones Act Fails

Photo Credit: J. Scott Applewhite Associated jpgLast month, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) sought an amendment to repeal the Jones Act. In a January 13, 2015 Press Release published on his website, Sen. McCain states, "I have long advocated for a full repeal of The Jones Act, an antiquated law that has for too long hindered free trade, made the U.S. industry less competitive and raised prices for American consumers." McCain concludes his statement by calling for his colleagues to "join in this important effort to repeal this archaic legislation to spur job creation and promote free trade." While the Arizona senator is quick to mention the alleged positives that come with repealing the Jones Act, with catch phrases like "job creation" and "free trade," his Press Release fails to address how repealing the Act will eliminate a means of compensation to a large class of employees known as "seamen." Masters, captains, officers, crewmembers, deckhands--to name a few--will all lose a right to sue their employers under a law that's been around for almost a century.

The Jones Act provides a way for employee seamen to hold their employers civilly liable for their injuries, and in more unfortunate cases, death, when such was a result of the employer's negligence. The Act is especially important for seamen given the unique and continuous risks of serious personal injury and death they face on a daily basis. As many courts have noted, by passing the Jones Act, Congress gave seaman a means of obtaining compensation for their injuries, which were "sustained in an inherently dangerous profession." See Am. River Transp. Co. v. Phelps, 189 F. Supp. 2d 835, 849 (S.D. Ill. 2001) (citing Kelley v. Sun Transp. Co., 900 F.2d 1027, 1031 (7th Cir. 1990)).

Continue reading "Senator McCain's Efforts to Repeal Jones Act Fails" »

December 12, 2014

Oceania Cruise Ship Claims Three Lives

Oceania Insignia Fire.jpgAn engine room fire aboard the Insignia--a cruise ship belonging to Norwegian Cruise Lines' subsidiary, Oceania Cruises--claimed three lives yesterday morning. A total of five individuals were caught in the blaze, specifically, three contractors and two crew members. According to reports, all five were taken to a medical facility in St. Lucia, where the vessel was docked at the time of the accident. One eye-witness to the tragedy stated that one individual passed away before even making it to the dock. Two of the contractors and one crew member died as a result of their injuries while another crew member remains hospitalized. No passengers were harmed. To date, the cause of the fire remains unknown.

General maritime law and perhaps select Federal Statutes intended to protect maritime workers will govern the liability and damage aspects of any lawsuits filed by injured workers or the estates of loved ones lost in this tragedy.

Continue reading "Oceania Cruise Ship Claims Three Lives" »

May 17, 2014

Seamen Have No Claim for Ailments Caused by Work Related Stress

Miami Jones Act Lawyer.jpgIn a rather shocking opinion, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has found seamen who develop ailments, including heart disease, cause by work related stress have no claim against their employers under the Jones Act.

The Jones Act provides seamen injured by the negligence of their employers a cause of action to recover money damages to compensate them for pain, suffering, disfigurement and lost wages caused by the injury. This Act was traditionally liberally construed in the favor of injured seamen. The recent case of Skye v. Maersk Line, unfortunately, has restricted the scope of the Jones Act. In that case, a chief mate developed left ventricular hypertrophy (a thickening of the heart wall of the left ventricle) as a direct result of excessive work hours and an erratic sleep schedule caused by the demands of his employer. The seafarer brought a lawsuit in Miami Federal Court arguing his employer caused his heart disease by negligently overworking him to the point of fatigue. The shipping company filed a motion requesting the court dismiss the claim as a matter of law arguing that no such relief in provided by the Jones Act. The trial court denied the motion and a trial was conducted. The jury found the shipping company 25% liable and awarded $2,362,299.00 to the injured seaman. The court reduced the award to $590,574.75 to account for the seaman's 75% comparative negligence. The employer appealed the decision.

The Eleventh Circuit analyzing the Jones Act and Supreme Court precedent discussing the Federal Employers Liability Act (a companion statute to the Jones Act) concluded seamen are only protected against the negligent conduct of their employers that imminently threatens them with physical impact. Based upon this legal framework, the Eleventh Circuit found injuries caused by work-related stress are not actionable under the Jones Act because an arduous work schedule and irregular sleep schedule are not "physical perils."

The final paragraph of the Eleventh Circuit's legal analysis sheds light on the outcome of the case. The court feared that by allowing such claims would "flood [the courts with] trivial suits, the possibility of fraudulent claims... and the specter of unlimited and unpredictable liability." This case is another example of the contraction of the Eleventh Circuit's treatment of seamen's claim. Such is a shame as courts historically viewed it was their duty to vigilantly protect seamen.

February 13, 2014

Cruise Ships and Norovirus

Cruise Norovirus.jpgThere has been much in the news lately about Norovirus outbreaks aboard cruise ships. The most noteworthy is the outbreak that occurred on the Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas where nearly 700 people were stricken by Norovirus. Princess Cruise Lines and NCL also had Norovirus outbreaks aboard their ships already this year. A casual observer may ask, why Norovirus and cruise ships go hand-in-hand? The answer is simple. Gastrointestional viruses are highly contagious. Cruise ships are floating cities where thousands of people touch common objects such as handrails, elevator buttons, door handles and the like. Infected people leave the virus on those surfaces and non-infected passengers touch the infected surfaces and the virus passes. Another reason why Norovirus flourishes on cruise ships is by the way cruise lines utilize their staff. A person who had a case of Norovirus can transmit the bug to others for two weeks or more after the symptoms subside. As a cruise injury attorney, I have read thousands of crew medical files. From my experience, cruise lines have an interest to keep their staff working and to return them back to duty as soon as possible so they could crew these massive floating hotels. The statistics from the CDC always report many more passengers as being infected than crewmembers. In the case of the Explorer of the Seas outbreak 634 (20.6%) passengers reported having the virus was only 55 (4.7%) crewmember reported symptoms. NCL's Norwegian Star outbreak is similar. In that case, ill passengers totaled 130 (5.61%) as opposed to 12 (1.15%) crewmembers. Likewise, Princess Cruise Lines' Caribbean Princess outbreak had 181 (5.8%) reported ill whereas the crew total was only 11 (0.96%). This means the cruise lines are most likely sending crewmembers back to work even though they still carry and could transmit the virus to others. These same crewmembers that have been found "fit for duty" by the ship doctors are making the passengers' beds, cooking and serving food for the buffets as well as making the drinks at the ship's bars. In other words, the cruise lines could be playing a large role in causing these outbreaks. Given cruise lines are money driven and the only way they make money is constantly operating their ship sick crew and all, I do not think we have heard the last of Norovirus outbreak on cruise ships.

February 4, 2014

Cruise Slip and Falls and Shoulder Injuries

Cruise Slip and Fall Shoulder Injury Lawyer.jpgOur attorneys have represented many clients who sustained shoulder injuries after slipping and falling aboard cruise ships. The most common shoulder injury is a torn rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is a group of four tendons that join the shoulder muscle to the skeletal frame which stabilizes the joint and are responsible for upper arm and shoulder movement.

Rotator cuffs are often torn on cruise ships when the passenger is holding onto a handrail and slips on a slick deck or stairway. The mechanics of falling backward and twisting the shoulder many times causes the tendons making up the rotator cuff to tear and/or separate from the bone. If left untreated, a person may permanently lose the ability to fully rotate their arm. Treatment of rotator cuff injuries often begin with anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy. If the problem persists, surgery is normally scheduled. Depending upon the injury's severity, the orthopedic surgeon may opt to repair the torn ligament(s) with an arthroscopic procedure. This type of surgery involves the insertions of a small camera, called an arthroscope, into the shoulder joint. The camera displays pictures on a television screen which helps the surgeon guide miniature surgical instruments used to repair the tendons. An arthroscopic procedure is usually performed on an outpatient basis. If the tear is large or complex, the surgeon may have to cut through the muscle and repair or reattach the ligaments in what is called an open procedure.

Rotator Cuff Tear from Crusie Accident.jpgSlip and falls are common on cruise ships. Being that cruise ships see hundreds of thousands of people a year, the anti-slip/skid properties of the deck and stairway coatings break down. The breakdown of the decks protective coating when combined with liquid cause people to slip and fall. The slipperiness of decks is measured by their coefficient of friction value. The coefficient of friction is ratio of the force that maintains contact between an object and a surface and the frictional force that resists the motion of the object. The lower of coefficient of friction value, the more slippery the surface. An expert engineer in recent case handled by our attorneys tested a cruise ship's deck when our client fell. The expert found the area of the deck had a coefficient of friction value of 2.0 - the same as ice!!!

If you suffered a shoulder injury due to a slip and fall on a cruise ship lido deck and want to know more about your legal rights, feel free to contact our Florida Board Certified Maritime Attorneys for a free consultation.

January 7, 2014

Princess Cruise Worker Falls off the Grand Princess

Fall on Grand Princess.jpgThe Coast Guard reports a worker for Princess Cruise Lines has fallen off the Grand Princess cruise ship. The 34-year-old Filipino national was last seen Monday alive Monday night at 10:25 and is said to have gone overboard later that night or early Tuesday morning. The Coast Guard was notified and preformed a search along with the cruise ship and nearby cargo vessel. At this time, he has not been found. The cruise line claims the on board CCTV footage shows the crew member jumping off the ship. The Grand Princess was on a 15 day Hawaiian cruise leaving from San Francisco, California.

This instance is the latest in a recent rash of people falling from cruise ships. The Maritime Law Blog has previously reported on a 26-year-old man fell off the Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas on December 28th, a 65-year-old man fell off the Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas on December 31st, a 88-year-old passenger fell off the Holland America Veendam on January 3rd. If you know anything about these incidents, feel free to contact us or leave a comment.