Articles Posted in South Florida Injury Lawyer

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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All of May is Bike Month and today is National Bike to Work Day.

The idea behind both Bike to Work Day/Month is to promote bicycle commuting as a wonderful alternative to driving to work. Since Florida has a pretty much moderate year-round climate, it is very easy to see why many workers opt to ditch their cars for a more planet-friendly bike ride to work. There are other various reasons to bike instead of drive, including:

  • It’s cheaper: According to various reports, it only costs about $300 a year to keep your bike in tip top shape. If you think about it, that’s nearly 30 times less than the yearly upkeep on a car. Plus, think of all the money you’ll save on gas!
  • It’s great exercise: If losing weight is on your agenda, then get this: bike commuters lose an average of 13 pounds in the first year they start biking to work. It’s also a good cardio workout, so you can skip gym.
  • You can kiss all that traffic goodbye: Biking lets you bypass all the waiting, and you can save yourself more than $700 a year because you won’t be burning gas while stuck in traffic.
  • Less sick days than public transportation users: According to the New York Daily News, public transit riders are “six times more likely to suffer from acute respiratory infections.”
  • Parking won’t be a problem: No more spending time circling parking lots or garages. Most commercial office buildings have bike racks where you can park your bike. If not, there’s always a tree or sign post to chain your bike to.

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Crews have apparently found cracks in a key part of the pedestrian bridge that collapsed near the campus of Florida International University earlier than previously acknowledged, but it remains unclear whether the fissures caused the structure’s failure.

Documents from Florida International University show the cracks were found in late February. The structure collapsed March 15, killing six people.

Reports indicate that the photos show the cracks in a piece of a support truss on the north end of the span where the collapse began.

Bridge engineers have said that the cracks suggest a problem that should have been addressed before the section that failed was moved into place.

It is not yet clear whether construction crews repaired the cracks before the failure.

The National Transportation Safety Board is still investigating the cause of the collapse.

According to investigators, most bridge collapses happen because of construction faults, not design faults. However, until the National Transportation Safety Board completes their investigation, it’s hard to say what might have gone wrong or speculate on who could potentially be held responsible. There are several different parties involved in the design, testing, and construction of the bridge. It is entirely possible that multiple parties will be held accountable for negligence when all is said and done.

If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a construction-related accident, our South Florida Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you determine what steps to take next. Our goal is to identify who is at fault and hold them responsible for damages.

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A new pedestrian bridge scheduled to open near the campus of Florida International University collapsed today and officials have confirmed multiple fatalities.

At least two people were taken to ambulances while others were being treated by rescue crews, and at least two cars were seen pinned by massive slabs of concrete.

According to NBC 6, the bridge has completely collapsed.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue has treated a total of five patients so far, with one being transported as a trauma alert to Kendall Regional Hospital.

The 174 foot bridge, scheduled to open to the public in early 2019, crossed Southwest 8th Street near 109th Avenue and was built with the purpose of allowing students living across the busy roadway to cross safely.

Bridges are an essential part of life. They help us get to and from where we are travelling to by providing roadways and walkways to motorists and pedestrians. While the possibility of a bridge collapsing is rare, when that does happen, the aftermath can be a devastating reality.

Many accidents involving bridges occur during the construction or repair process. In many cases bridges in the process of being built or repaired cannot handle the stress of the procedures or the weight of the equipment and accidents happen. Workers, motorists, pedestrians and innocent bystanders can be injured or killed due to ignorance and blatant disregard for safety procedures.

If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a construction mishap, please let our South Florida Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton help you through this difficult time. We can investigate the events leading up to the accident and determine who is at fault and hold them responsible for damages.

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