Articles Posted in Cruise Ship Injury & Maritime Law

A former employee of Royal Caribbean International who suffered a catastrophic injury in 2008 while she was working on board has been awarded $20.3 million.

In August 2008,  the woman was a marketing and revenue manager on the Miami-based cruise line’s Voyager of the Seas, which was sailing from Barcelona, Spain.

While in port, the ship was conducting a routine fire safety drill in which some of the vessel’s semi-watertight doors — powerful doors that prevent water from flooding the ship — are closed. A nurse from the port who was unaware of the drill tried to open one of the doors with a handle. The woman was on the other side.

According to the lawsuit, as the nurse tried to pass through the door, she fell, and the woman attempted to help her, but when she put her hand on the handle to keep the door open, the sliding door lurched back into its recess pocket in the wall, mashing her hand into a space only big enough to fit a pencil.

The woman’s hand was sucked into the door’s pocket three more times, breaking her middle finger and her index finger. The nails on both fingers were ripped from their cuticles.

Her suit argues that Royal Caribbean was negligent in its training to staff. Crew were not trained to operate the type of door that crushed the woman’s hand, and the nurse was not told by crew at the port that a security drill was taking place.

This is not the only incident of its kind. It seems that in the three years prior to the 2008 incident, 12 Royal Caribbean crew members suffered hand injuries when the doors slid back into their pockets, according to information Royal Caribbean provided during discovery in the case.

Following the woman’s injury, Royal Caribbean referred her to a doctor in Barcelona who misdiagnosed her condition and splinted her fingers in the wrong position, further worsening the damage. For two years, the woman underwent therapy in her home of New Zealand while Royal Caribbean paid her a daily disability payment of $25, as stipulated in her employee disability insurance coverage.

The woman was later diagnosed with a chronic pain syndrome associated with a nervous system malfunction, which causes severe pain that runs into her other arm and up to her head. She also suffered from post traumatic stress disorder following the accident. She is unable to properly move the fingers on her right hand.

By 2010, Royal Caribbean discharged the woman, citing that though her job on the ship was clerical, because of her injury, she would not be able to perform the necessary safety tasks that require lifting 50 pounds.

The woman sued in 2016. As part of the lawsuit, filed in judicial court in Miami-Dade County, the woman alleged that Royal Caribbean was negligent with regard to the door, failed to provide proper medical care, discharged her for a non-performance-related reason, breached its contract with her and failed to pay her full wages.

The three-week jury trial ended on Friday with the court ordering the cruise line to pay the woman $20.3 million in damages, lost wages. and future medical expenses.

Anyone that is injured while on the job wants to peace of mind of knowing that they will have access to medical treatment without the worry of their job being at stake. You also want to know that your employer has your best interests and safety in mind. Sadly, this is not always the case, especially in more dangerous jobs, such as working aboard a cruise ship.

Cruise ship employees, even those in clerical positions on board vessels, are often exposed to dangerous work conditions, long hours, and inadequate medical care.  If you are a cruise ship employee who has been injured while performing job-related duties, you are entitled to certain rights. Moreover, you could likely have a case against the cruise line for negligence, which is where our Florida Cruise Ship Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help. Our maritime lawyers have the knowledge and experience necessary to aggressively pursue injury claims against negligence cruise line employers.

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A woman sailing on a Carnival Cruise Line ship from Jacksonville fell from her cabin’s balcony and died Jan. 19.

The incident occurred early morning aboard the Carnival Elation. The ship was on a four-day Bahamas cruise from Jacksonville that departed Thursday and was near Freeport, Bahamas at the time of the fall.

The woman fell from the balcony in her stateroom on the 14th deck of the ship to the 11th deck, constituting a two-story fall. The Carnival Elation doesn’t have a 13th deck.

Balconies on the ship meet Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act standards, according to reports.

This is not the first instance of someone falling from a cruise ship deck.  

In October, an 8-year-old Bahamian girl who was tiptoeing over the railing on the fifth floor of the Carnival Glory fell two stories and died. In February, a Georgia man fell overboard from the 11th deck of the Carnival Elation while the ship was near the Bahamas. After searching more than 1,300 square miles, the Coast Guard called off the search for the man a day after the incident.

If you or a loved one was injured in a cruise ship accident or suffered an injury while aboard a cruise ship, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Injuries that happen while aboard a cruise ship are generally subject to maritime law, which governs both domestic law and private international law. With that said, maritime litigation can be quite complex. You need an experienced attorney on your side that is familiar with maritime law. Our Florida Cruise Ship Injury And Maritime Lawyers at Whittel & Melton have widespread experience with cruise ship accidents and are equipped to handle maritime litigation.

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A woman alleges she was injured after falling between a lifeboat and a dock on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship.

The woman filed a complaint on March 10 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida alleging negligence.

According to the complaint, the woman alleges that on Feb. 16, 2016, she suffered physical injuries after falling between a dock and a lifeboat. The suit states that the woman was attempting to board the lifeboat to be transported back to the cruise ship from docks in the Virgin Islands. She holds Norwegian Cruise Line responsible because they allegedly failed to assist or provide her a safe means to board the lifeboat.

Cruise lines have a duty to keep their ships safe and free from hazardous conditions that can cause serious injuries to passengers. When a cruise ship accident occurs due to poor maintenance, lack of security, or improperly trained staff, the cruise line can be held legally responsible for negligence.

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A North Carolina couple allege they were beaten by another passenger while traveling on the Carnival Ecstasy.

The couple filed a lawsuit on Feb. 18 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against Carnival Corp., alleging negligence.

According to the complaint, the couple alleges that on Feb. 28, 2016 they were in their cabin when someone knocked at the door. When they opened the door, the attacker pushed the door open and knocked the man down, pinning him with his knees and severely beat and assaulted him. The woman alleges that she was also struck in the face and injured.

The couple holds Carnival Corp. responsible because they failed to provide adequate and proper security to its passengers and violated its own policy by selling excessive alcoholic beverages to the couples’ attacker.

They are seeking more than $100,000 each, costs of this action and such other appropriate relief.

Cruise lines have a duty to provide guests with a safe environment. If an employee is aware of a danger and chooses not to address it, the cruise ship company can be held liable for the damages associated with an assault that occurs as a result.

The most common causes of assault aboard cruises include:

  • Inadequate security
  • Poor lighting
  • Incomplete background checks on employees
  • Broken door locks

If you have been harmed on a cruise ship, you should take immediate action. Timing plays a major role in these cases and you want to report the crime as soon as possible to strengthen your case.

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