Recently in Cruise Ship Passenger Injury Law Category

June 5, 2014

Slippery Decks on the Carnival Paradise

Carnival Paradise Slippery Deck.jpgOur law firm receives many calls from vacationers who were injured after slipping and falling aboard the Carnival Paradise. Currently home ported in Tampa, Florida, the Carnival Paradise is a 17-year-old cruise ship - a veritable dinosaur in this day-in-age where cruise lines pump out new ships each year. The exterior decks are mostly made of wood. It seems water tends to pool in certain areas after rain or washing causing the unsuspecting passenger to hydroplane when walking across the deck. This often times results in slip and fall injuries.

The two most common injuries we see from Carnival Paradise passengers are torn menisci and broken wrists. A meniscus is a piece of cartilage that protects and cushions the knee joint surface as well as the upper ends of the femur and tibia. This cartilage is torn when the knee is hyper or hypo extended which occurs with regularity when someone is falling down after their feet fly from underneath them. Fractured wrists many times occur when the passenger extends their arms to break their fall.

Both injuries sometime could be treated without surgery but often times require an outpatient procedure, rest and rehabilitation to heal. Our attorneys have helped many people who suffered injuries aboard the Carnival Paradise. If you wish to learn more about our services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation.

June 1, 2014

Two Arrested for Raping Royal Caribbean Cruise Passenger

Galveston Cruise Rape.jpgJamaican news outlets are reporting two men were arrested for raping a fellow passenger aboard the Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas. The rape is reportedly to have occurred approximately 50 miles outside Jamaican waters on Thursday morning (5/29) while the cruise ship was approaching Falmouth. The men (both Americans) were supposedly partying with the victim the night before. The Navigator of the Seas conducts weekly voyages to the western Caribbean from Galveston, Texas.

Rapes and sexual assaults unfortunately occur with regularity aboard cruise ships. Our law firm is routinely contacted by cruise rape and sexual assault victims. Our attorneys are currently representing a victim of sexual assault which occurred in a ladies room aboard the Carnival cruise ship Magic which also leaves from Galveston.

May 31, 2014

Boy Found on Bottom of Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Pool Fights for Life

Royal Caribbean Drowning.jpgA six-year-old boy was discovered unconscious at the bottom of one of the Royal Caribbean owned cruise ship Independence of the Sea on May 27th. When the boy was found his heat had already stopped. The shipboard doctor (a non-Royal Caribbean employee) was able to restart his heart beating through CPR. The drowning victim was then airlifted by the French navy and is currently treating at a hospital in Brest. The incident happened while the cruise ship was passing northern France near the city of Breton. At the time of the incident the Independence of the Seas was on a six-night Western Europe voyage leaving from Southampton, England.

Pools are considered attractive nuisances for children and child drownings are becoming more and more common on cruise ships. The reason for these tragic events is there are no kiddy fences or life guards. Often times children just wonder in the pools and drown without anyone bring aware. This problem is known industry wide. However, only Disney Cruise Lines currently has life guards assigned to all ship pools and spas. It appears unconscionable for a billion dollar cruise line such as Royal Caribbean to not hire life guards to protect their passengers. Hopefully the bulk of the cruise lines will change their policies and spend the extra money to employ life guards to protect the children aboard their ships.

May 22, 2014

Miami Fire Rescue Evacuate Injured Passenger from the Majesty of the Seas

First responders from Miami's Fire Rescue evacuated an injured passenger from the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Majesty of the Seas Monday evening. The cruise line's Director of Communications Cynthia Martine stated the passenger is a 32-year-old Swedish man who sustained a head injury. He was and was initially treated by the on board medical facility but required additional care. The ship stayed close to shore to facilitate the at-sea rescue before traveling to Key West. There is no word on the passenger's medical condition at this time. The Majesty of the Seas conducts regular voyages to Nassau and the Royal Caribbean private island Coco Cay.
WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

May 22, 2014

Passenger Medevaced from the Bahamas Celebration Cruise Ship

Bahamas Celebration Passenger.jpgThe Coast Guard reports a 56-year-old passenger was medically evacuated from the Bahamas Celebration cruise ship this week after experiencing severe pain. The passenger was transferred to St. Mary's Hospital in West Palm Beach. His condition is currently unknown. The Bahamas Celebration conducts cruises from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to the Bahamas.

May 12, 2014

Two Vacationers Evacuated off the Carnival Splendor Cruise Ship

Coast Guard Rescue Cruise Passenger.jpgThe Coast Guard reports two passengers were evacuated from the Carnival Splendor cruise ship off the coast of North Carolina. It appears the two vacationers became extremely sick aboard the ship prompting the captain to request medical assistance. The Splendor, at the Coast Guard's request, deviated its course closer to shore so the passengers could be picked up by helicopter. Information about the passengers' medical condition is not currently available.

April 17, 2014

Coast Guard Targeting Potentially Hazardous Cruise Ships

Cruise Ship Hazards.jpgLast month the Coast Guard started surprise inspections of cruise ships it has flagged as potentially hazardous to passenger safety. The Coast Guard's reason for stepping up inspections of problem cruise ships is because the regular twice-a-year inspections of 140 cruise ships based at the various United States ports in 2013 found 351 deficiencies. The most frequently safety issues aboard these ships dealt with lifeboats and fire doors. Captain Eric Christensen, the officer in charge of oversees ship inspection policy, told the National Transportation Safety Board, "There was a population of cruise ships that had the lion's share of deficiency. You want to focus your efforts on those vessels." Specific ships or cruise lines, however, were not identified.

What does this mean to the hundreds of thousands of American cruise travelers? It appears the cruise ships based out of the United States will become safer in the sense that should a Costa Concordia type catastrophe take place, the life boats and watertight doors will likely work. However, the increased Coast Guard inspections will do nothing to protect passengers from the several shipboard hazards caused by the cruise lines' failure to properly maintain their ships. Most cruise passengers are injured due to the failure to maintain decking surfaces whether it is carpet, wood, marble or steel. These decks experience a significant amount of wear and tear due the large number of people walking on the ships each day causing slipping and tripping hazards. The Coast Guard inspectors do not pay much attention to deck surfaces and thus those hazards will remain.

April 11, 2014

Carnival Sunshine's Pool Deck Unreasonably Slippery?

Carnival Sunshine Slip Injury.jpgWe have received multiple calls from passengers who have slipped and fallen on the Carnival Sunshine cruise ship in recent months. The Sunshine was launched in 1995 under the name Destiny. The ship was in service since 1995 before being refitted, renamed and relaunched as the Sunshine in May 2013. It appears when the ship was being refitted, the coating placed on the Lido / Pool deck made the deck unreasonably slippery. The popular cruise forum "Cruise Critic" has a post reviewing the Sunshine under the title "Problem Ship". The entry states many people were observed slipping and falling when entering the pool deck. This is remarkable given the ship was relaunched less than a year ago. This law firm has handled a multitude of passenger slip and fall cases occurring on cruise ships and have learned the main causes of these accidents are improper selection of decking materials, improper application of coatings and lack of maintenance. As the Carnival Sunshine has recently been refitted, the likely reason for the slip and falls appear to be an improper decking material selection and/or improper application.

Once Carnival is made aware of an unreasonably slippery deck, it incumbent upon the cruise line to make the deck safe. If it doesn't rectify the unsafe condition, it may be held liable for any accidents resulting from people slipping. Given the high amount of slip and falls on the Lido / Pool deck, Carnival is obviously aware of the problem. It is perplexing why the largest cruise line in the world hasn't fixed the problem. The Sunshine is currently making weekly sailing from New Orleans to the Western Caribbean and Mexico. If you have slipped or have seen someone slip on the Carnival Sunshine, we ask that you please contact us so we could better represent our clients.

April 7, 2014

Royal Caribbean Passenger Flown to Miami Children's Hospital

Royal Caribbean Coco Cay Injury.jpgThe Coast Guard responded to an emergency concerning an infant passenger from the Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas while the ship was calling on the private Bahamian island Coco Cay. It is reported the 10-month-old passenger was experiencing breathing difficulty Sunday prompting the rescue. The ship's medical personnel stabilized the infant before flying with the baby to Miami. The child arrived at Miami Children's Hospital Sunday night. The child's respiratory condition is unknown at the time of this report.

The Enchantment of the Seas is currently making weekly sailings from Cape Canaveral, Florida to the Bahamas. Royal Caribbean's age policy for the subject cruise is that a child must be at least 6 months old as of the first day of the voyage.

April 3, 2014

Knee Injuries Caused by Slippery Cruise Ships

Slippery Cruise Ship Knee Injury Lawyer.jpgThis law firm received several calls a week from passengers who have injured their knees from slipping on a cruise ship. There is a very specific reason why this happens.

Cruises are supposed to be fun. Cruise lines spend millions upon millions of dollars outfitting their ships with attractions designed to entice people to vacation with them instead of other places. Unfortunately, accidents happen. Often times these accidents could be avoided if the cruise lines place a little more emphasis on safety than bringing more and more passengers to their ships.

Exterior decks are an area aboard cruise ships which are particularly dangerous. Each ship has a lido deck which features the main pool, hot tubs, bars, buffets and stages. These decks are made of smooth steel that is treated with chemical coatings which are supposed to provide traction. Given the high amount of people walking theses decks day in and day out, the protective coating breaks down leavening nothing but smooth steel. Once this coating breaks down, the slickness of the deck is akin to ice. The breakdown of the coating, however, does not happen uniformly. The areas which experience higher concentration of foot traffic and where the coating is thinly or misapplied break down faster. This proves very dangerous as a person can walk without problem, sometimes for long distances, then hit an slick patch causing him or her to fall without warning. It would be better if the whole deck was slippery because the passenger would know quite quickly that he or she is dealing with a slippery condition. Instead, the passenger is lead to believe the deck is reasonably safe until he or she hits the ground.

These types of slips and falls often times result in knee injuries as a knee usually hyper-extends during the fall. The most common type of injuries are meniscus or ligament tears. Sometimes these injuries are treated with pain medication and physical therapy. Other times, surgery is necessary. In the most severe cases, a knee replacement is required.

If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of sustaining a knee injury due to a slippery cruise ship deck and would like to know more about your legal options, feel free to call our Florida Board Certified Maritime Attorneys who will be more than happy to speak with you.

March 26, 2014

Injured Man Medevaced off NCL's Norwegian Gem

A man was medevaced off the 965-foot cruise ship Norwegian Gem yesterday. The ship's master radioed the Coast Guard reporting 35-year-old Brent Killian was in medical distress and in need of assistance. A MH-60 rescue helicopter was dispatched and met the cruise ship approximately 180 miles east of Nags Head, North Carolina. The rescues team transported Killian to Coast Guard Air Station located at Elizabeth City wherein he was then taken by ambulance to Albermarle Hospital. Killian's condition is currently unknown. The Norwegian Gem is operated by the Miami based cruise line NCL. The 2384 passenger cruise ship is currently making weekly sailing to the Bahamas from New York. Below is actual Coast Guard footage of the rescue at sea.

March 25, 2014

Protecting the Rights of Cruise Rape Victims

Cruise Rape Attorney.jpgRape and other types of sexual assaults occur on cruise ships with regularity. These horrific events are often times not told to passengers. Cruise lines have a financial interest in not sharing the facts about crimes that occur on their watch involving their employees against people who pay them to vacation on their cruise ships. In fact, the cruise industry spends millions upon millions of dollars in advertising for the purpose of portraying cruises as a safe family vacation option. The lack of warning of the real dangers associated with cruising combined with the portrayal of safety gives regular people the false sense of security while cruising. This often leads to passengers letting their guard down which in turn leads to victimization.

Brais, Brais & Rusak has an established history of protecting women who were raped while on vacation. In a case handled by the firm against Norwegian Cruise Line, our lawyers argued the cruise line had a duty to warn its passengers about prior sexual assaults that occurred on its cruise ship so guests could be aware of the potentially dangerous atmosphere aboard the ship. As part of that litigation a Miami federal judge ordered the cruise line to disclose the number of reported sexual assaults on its ships within a period of 15 months prior to the subject rape. The information revealed was shocking as there were 23 prior instances of sexual assaults in little over a year! From this rather high number of sexual assaults occurring on NCL cruise ships during the months leading to our client's rape, the court concluded there was sufficient evidence to establish it was foreseeable to the cruise line that other passengers would be raped thus triggering the requirement of warning vacationers of the potential danger.

Recently we were contacted by a passenger from South Carolina in need of assistance. This young woman was raped in a restroom by a male crewmember aboard the Bahamas Celebration on the way back to Florida from the Bahamas. This cruise ship is operated Celebration Cruise Lines headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It appears that Celebration is intending to mount a vigorous defense as less than 24 hours after giving notice of Brais, Brais & Rusak's retention by the victim, we were notified a law firm was hired to represent the cruise line. Our firm is used to such tactics by cruise lines. In an effort to help represent our client, if you were on the Bahamas Celebration between March 8 - 10, 2014 and have information about a passenger being assaulted by a crewmember, please contact our firm toll free at (800) 499-0551.

March 20, 2014

Carnival Splendor Cruise Passenger Medevaced En Route to the Bahamas

Coast Guard Rescue Cruise Passenger.jpgThe Coast Guard rescued a 66-year-old passenger aboard the Carnival cruise ship Splendor early yesterday morning. The cruise ship radioed the Coast Guard at 10:45 p.m. Tuesday that a male passenger was in medical distress. A MH-60 Jayhawak helicopter crew met Splendor at 1:30 a.m. the next mornign while the ship was near the North Carolina coast. It is unknown if the passenger suffered an accident aboard the cruise ship. The Splendor is currently making weekly voyages from New York to the Bahamas.

March 7, 2014

Passenger with Collapsed Lung Taken Off Disney Fantasy

Disney Cruise Collapsed Lung.jpgIt is being widely reported that a 21-year-old passenger was medically evacuated from the Disney Fantasy last Thursday after complaining of chest pains. It has been learned that the man had completed two scuba dives the day before. X-rays preformed aboard the cruise ship showed one of his lungs was 40% collapsed. Based upon this medical finding, the Coast Guard was notified and a helicopter crew was dispatched to take the ill passenger off the ship. The passenger was taken to Mariner's Hospital in Tavanier.

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.