Appellate Court Rulings Restore Rights to Cruise Ship Injuries.
Our firm is investigating potential lawsuits on behalf of passengers who suffered serious injuries or death-related cruise line negligence. If you or someone you know suffered injuries due to a cruise ship accident, please contact Parker Waichman today.
An August 2015 opinion from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit protects injured cruise passengers, finding that the right to trial by jury remains intact in maritime cases. In reversing the trial court’s order, the Eleventh Circuit allows passengers injured by the alleged negligence of the cruise line the same rights as if they were the victims of land-based negligent businesses.
Landmark Cases Restore Passenger Rights
The landmark cases, through the use of pro-consumer, pro-fairness doctrine, advance the rights of passengers against a well-protected and profitable industry. Earlier this year, in a case brought against Royal Caribbean Cruise line, the same appellate court ruled that passengers injured or killed as a result of shipboard medical negligence, in fact, have the right to go to court. This right was denied to them for more than 25 years under the opinion Barbetta v. S/S Bermuda Star.
The cruise industry has established a set of rules favorable to the industry partly through provisions in the ticket contract. Though most passengers do not know this, cruise tickets shorten a typical four-year statute of limitations to just one year. The cruise industry has also built in further protections by extrapolating maritime case law and ancient doctrines, such as the Death on the High Seas Act and the Athens Convention, as well as certain treatises that limit the rights of cruise passengers.
The cruise industry has insulated itself from the equal and fair treatment conditions that apply to other entities. Cruise lines have also mandated that most cases be brought in South Florida, and are now requiring passengers from around the world to file all claims in federal court, increasing the work for federal judges.
|Quick Facts: Cruise Ship Injuries Lawsuit Reference Guide|
|Causes of Accidents||Crew error
|Types of Injuries||Fractures
Slips & falls
|Related Topics||Boat Accidents
LHWCA Maritime Law
Passengers Who Died Received Negligent Medical Treatment aboard Ship
The cases in the two appeals involve passengers who died of injuries treated on a cruise ship. In one case, brought on behalf of the estate of a deceased passenger, court documents indicate that the cruise line employed medical professionals; that a medical facility was created, owned, and operated by the cruise line; that the ship’s physician and nurse were under the command of the ship’s superior officers; that passengers who received medical treatment at the ship’s medical center were billed by cruise line; and that the cruise line stocked medical centers with supplies, medicines, and equipment. Court documents indicate that the passenger, who was injured in a fall, died as result of negligent medical treatment provided by the nurse and the physician. This treatment was sufficient to plead a plausible medical malpractice claim against the cruise line.
In the other case, an elderly cruise ship passenger fell and bashed his head while the ship was docked at port in Bermuda. The injured traveler was wheeled back onto the ship, where he sought treatment from the onboard medical staff in the ship’s medical center. Over the next few hours, he allegedly received such negligent care that his life could not be saved. In particular, the ship’s nurse purportedly failed to assess his cranial trauma, neglected to conduct any diagnostic scans, and released him with no treatment to speak of. The ship’s doctor did not even meet with the passenger for nearly four hours. The man died about one week after the fall. The man’s daughter seeks to hold the cruise line, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. vicariously liable for the purported negligence of two of its employees, the ship’s doctor and its nurse.
The two recent appellate orders from the Eleventh Circuit restore certain rights and protections to the 20 million people who book cruises annually. The cruise industry has faced serious criticism by Congress for a variety of safety concerns including rape and sexual assault aboard ships by crew members. The highly profitable cruise industry is insured for the losses resulting from negligence, and many feel the industry should be more responsive in addressing the losses of their passengers.
February 10, 2013: Carnival Triumph Engine Room Fire Leaves Thousands of Passengers without Power, Raw Sewage; Suffering “Nightmarish” Conditions
Feb. 10, 2013- An engine room fire on the Carnival Triumph caused a loss of power and nightmarish conditions for 3,143 and 1,086 crew members who departed from Galveston, Texas on February 7th. As the power was lost to most of the ship, most passengers were left without functioning toilets and showers and with just one working elevator. The conditions were described as “nightmarish” as passengers reported urine and feces in the hallways rolling across the floor with every wave. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, passengers said that raw sewage also came up through the shower drain, pooled in the sink and even into the carpets; one woman described the situation as “a sauna of raw sewage.” Passengers were also plagued with smells of rotting food while waiting in massive food lines. Furthermore, the air quality was reportedly unacceptable; on top of the raw sewage, the temperature in the rooms was either too hot or too cold, forcing a number of passengers to drag bedding outside to sleep on the deck. According to some passengers, while this was happening there almost never any crew members to be found.
Lawsuits began to be filed almost immediately after the so-called “cruise from hell” ended on February 14th. Amidst raw sewage, spoiled food and no power, it is not hard to see how many people could have easily been injured by a slip and fall, illness, or other serious injury. One woman, 42-year-old Lisa Williams, filed a lawsuit in Miami federal court on February 17th. Williams alleged that, after spending five days on the stranded ship, she was left dehydrated and bruised from the aggressive and long food lines. She also alleged that she had to be given fluids through an IV when she returned home to Houston, Texas. This lawsuit is among the first in a wave of lawsuits that allege physical injury from the cruise.
January 14, 2012: Costa Concordia Cruise Ship Accident
Costa Concordia Cruise Ship Accident | Lawsuit, Lawyer, Attorney | Costa Concordia Cruise Ship Ran Aground On Sandbar | 3 people have been killed, 51 missing, thousands evacuated
January, 14, 2012 – At least three people have been killed and 51 others were deeme missing, as thousands evacuated from a luxury cruise liner after it ran aground off the Italian coast. More than 3,200 holidaymakers and 1,000 crew were forced to flee the Costa Concordia in lifeboats when it hit a sandbar on Friday evening near the Tuscan holiday island of Giglio less than two hours after leaving port.
The three who died, two French tourists and a crew member from Peru — were recovered from the sea after Costa Cruises’ 6-year-old Costa Concordia ran aground near the coast of Tuscany late Friday, tearing a 160-foot gash in its hull and sending in a rush of water.
July 18, 2006: Crown Princess Cruise Ship Abruptly Swayed Portside
On July 18, 2006, A Crown Princess cruise ship abruptly swayed portside after departing from Port Canaveral. The Crown Princess is a relatively new ship owned by Princess Cruises. As the 113,000-ton vessel rocked left, passengers throughout the ship were sent flying in all different directions. As a result, an estimated 50 passengers were injured, and two passengers suffered serious injuries. Some of the reported injuries authorities noticed included fractures and bruises.
Julie Benson spokeswoman for Princess Cruise Lines said some passengers suffered “fractures, bruises” and “some more serious than that.” She said the company is still looking into the cause of the listing, including a possible problem with the steering or other mechanics of the ship. “We don’t know the answer to that yet,” she said. “We’re looking at a number of issues, that being one of them.
Safety inspectors will conclude what happened, and they will have to be satisfied there are no mechanical problems before the ship will be allowed to set sail again, he said. The Coast Guard, as well, will conduct an investigation.
Cruises have become one of fastest growing segments of the travel industry during the past 25 years. As a result, the majority of cruise lines have come under scrutiny for poor ship safety. There have been numerous cruise ship fires resulting in deaths and serious injuries.
On March 23, 2006, the Carnival Star Princess cruise ship caught fire. The cruise ship fire left one person dead, 11 other passengers injured, and damaged 150 cabins. Passengers on the ship had barely enough time to throw on clothing, and life jackets. The Star Princess was sailing from Grand Cayman to Montego Bay, Jamaica, when fire erupted on a balcony and spread to four decks.
In addition, the ship fire left a large charred spot on the cruise ship’s exterior. The passengers joined together, sitting in lounges or hallways from about 3:00 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 23, 2006. The fire was the latest setback for the world’s largest cruise operator.
It was several hours later when passengers learned all the details of the fire that gutted the central portion of the cruise ship, which was on its way to Jamaica from the Cayman Islands. Officials with Princess Cruises believe a cigarette left on a cabin balcony caused the fire.
The four voyages remaining on the Star Princess to the Caribbean were canceled, Carnival Cruise officials stated. As a result, Carnival will pay refunds on trips departing Port Everglades, Florida, on April 9, 16, 23, and 30. The trips scheduled for March 26 and April 2 had already been canceled. Passengers will also receive another 25% off a future cruise.