Articles Posted in Cruise Ship Litigation

Published on:

While packing sunscreen or researching potential sights to see, no one expects that their long-awaited cruise vacation might end in tragedy. However, in its decades of practice, Leesfield & Partners has seen all too well just how easily these trips can take a turn for the worse. 

Whether it be crashes on excursion buses, slipping on decks void of regulation handrails or an on-board medical professional refusing to evacuate a guest, Leesfield & Partners has seen families through it all. These tragic injuries have changed the lives of cruise ship guests, employees, and their loved ones, forever marring what should have been a beautiful memory of a relaxing getaway or just another day at work. 

In 2023, approximately 7.3 million people went through Port Miami on their way to their cruises.

In 2023, approximately 7.3 million people went through Port Miami on their way to their cruises.

Published on:

Leesfield & Partners attorneys successfully resolved a medical malpractice case on behalf of parents whose 9-month-old baby suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of cruise ship doctors’ malpractice. The important and potentially case dispositive legal issues, in this case, included a passenger ticket contract with restrictive forum selection and choice of law clauses. Unlike 99% of cruise ship ticket contracts this contract called for the application of law from our clients’ home country (United Kingdom). The U.K. is a signatory to the Athens Convention and its draconian cap on damages ($540,000). After strategic local and international litigation, Leesfield & Partners was able to multiply the client’s recovery by more than ten times the cap.

Facts of case were as horrific as the cruise line’s attempt to deny an innocent child justice

In the early days of a Caribbean cruise that departed from the Port of Miami, worried parents took their nine-month-old daughter to the ship’s infirmary. She was pale and lethargic, experiencing tachycardia and dehydration; all classic signs of a life-threatening meningococcal meningitis infection. Lethargy in an infant is a significant neurological change in condition that is a hallmark symptom of meningococcal infections.

Published on:

Pitfalls for Passengers (post-COVID and otherwise):

Disney Cruise Lines re-opens June 26 with all major cruise lines to follow.

Beware of injuries on Inaugural  cruises. . . the cruise industry is re opening with a fury. There is no certainty on how they will handle COVID, or how well their reinstated crew is trained. Remember, even before COVID,  numerous cases of Norovirus  were reported annually as ships came to port. So, Sanitation and safety issues must be paramount along with crowd control and CDC compliance. Will your co-passengers be vaccinated?   Are you willing to spend days or weeks with those likely to spread the virus?  Or, worse yet, confined in a ship’s infirmary?

Published on:

Pitfalls for Passengers:

Disney Cruise Lines re-opens June 26 with all major cruise lines to follow.

Beware of injuries on Inaugural cruises. . . The cruise industry is re-opening with a fury. There is no certainty on how they will handle COVID, or how well their reinstated crew is trained. Remember, even before COVID, numerous cases of Norovirus were reported annually as ships came to port. So, Sanitation and safety issues must be paramount along with crowd control and CDC compliance.  Will your co-passengers be vaccinated?  Are you willing to spend days or weeks with those likely to spread the virus?  Or, worse yet, confined in a ship’s infirmary?

Published on:

01-1024x648
COVID-19 brought more boaters and more watersports enthusiasts into close proximity, making waterways more congested.  Cruise lines are now experimenting with post pandemic precautions.  Americans and international travelers are ready to put coronavirus in the rear-view mirror, but many pre-existing water related hazards will be amplified by over enthusiasm on the water.

Is it safe to get back in the water?

Recently and over the past 40 years, our firm has been asked to investigate a significant number of cases involving collisions between watercraft in the bay, ocean and waterways surrounding Florida.

Published on:

Millions around the globe are eagerly awaiting a green light to resume cruising once again.  The decision to restart cruise operations carries with it an obligation on behalf of the cruise lines to ensure the safety of the passengers, crew, and residents of the various ports forming the infrastructure of the cruise industry.  Cruise enthusiasts should carefully consider the decision to book their next cruise vacation, including locations and precautions.

The cruise line industry has been on “pause” since the pandemic arrived in March 2020.  Now, the situation is fluid and unpredictable, with return dates changing like the tides.  In the U.S., Carnival Cruise Line plans on resuming cruises in North America on June 27, 2020. Norwegian Cruise Line has delayed North American operations through May 31, 2021.  And Royal Caribbean has suspended operations until the start of May 2021.  Canada has extended a full ban on cruising until February 28, 2022, and in the UK cruises are on hold into summer 2021.  In other parts of the world, some Asian and European cruises have already set sail in the new normal.

When cruises resume in the U.S. they will be subject to a strict safety framework issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The goal is to ensure that ship operators have adequate health and safety protections and crewmember testing protocols in place to stop the spread of the virus.  Before fully operational cruises commence, the lines will be required to conduct simulated voyages to test their ability to mitigate COVID-19 risk.  Thereafter, a phased return to passenger voyages will be permitted once virus safety and virus spread mitigation has been demonstrated.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommend that all people avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide.  Passengers who decide to go on a cruise are instructed to get tested for COVID-19 three to five days in advance of a voyage, and to remain home for a full 7 days after travel even if they test negative after returning to home port.  Some cruise lines have indicated they will require all passengers to receive a COVID vaccine prior to boarding.  Others, including Norwegian Cruise Line, have already begun requiring the crew to be vaccinated.  The cruise lines have indicated they will work with medical and scientific experts to develop best practices for safe sailing.

Published on:

trunks_birdsThe cruising industry has more than doubled in the last two decades. In the last 15 years alone, the number of cruise passengers has increased from 15 million to 30+ million. To satisfy the demand, cruise lines have built increasingly large ships that can host over 5,500 passengers and over 2,300 crew-members. Consequently, the number of injuries sustained by passengers and crew-members has also increased.  As a result, Leesfield & Partners’s general maritime attorneys have been retained to represent injured passengers and crew-members for the last 20 years.

If you are an adult, how long do you have to file a lawsuit?

Your ticket contract is where you will find the answer. Typically, cruise line ticket contracts will disclaim that a lawsuit against them for an injury claim must be filed within one year from the date the incident occurred.

Published on:

Lila Gale and her family were set to cruise in the Caribbean aboard the MS Zuiderdam when she sustained a stroke within 100 miles of Florida. The symptoms she displayed left no room for error and the Holland America Line (HAL) doctor diagnosed her with having sustained a stroke within minutes.

Lila-Gale-John-Gale-300x169
With the severity of the condition, coupled with the proximity of the ship to Broward Health Medical Center – a comprehensive stroke center in Fort Lauderdale – a medical evacuation had to be ordered and implemented without delay. Instead, Lila received the most odious and deplorable treatment from HAL which ultimately doomed her health, causing irreversible brain damage.

Upon arrival to the ship’s infirmary, Lila was noted to be confused, drowsy and with slurred speech. A provisional diagnosis of “severe stroke” was made. At this very moment, a medical air-evacuation was both medically necessary and operationally feasible. However, against all common emergent medicine sense and standards, HAL’s doctor, Dr. Socrates Lopez did not order a medevac. Instead he intubated Lila and observed her health deteriorate for the next two hours without attempting to further treat his patient.

Published on:

According to CLIA, an estimated 27.2 million passengers cruised around the world in 2018. As a maritime and cruise injury law firm, Leesfield & Partners evaluates close to a thousand potential cases every year where a passenger became injured during a cruise. Below are answers and common-sense guidance for cruise passengers who fell victims to cruise lines’ negligence:

Where do I sue?

Most cruise lines require that passengers file their personal injury lawsuit in Federal Court, in the Southern District of Florida (Miami) where the biggest cruise lines are headquartered. The most notable exceptions are Holland America Line (Seattle) and Princess Cruise Line (California).

Published on:

Leesfield & Partners reviewed more than 100 maritime/cruise ship cases during 2017 against all major cruise lines operating out of Florida, including Carnival Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (Celebrity Cruises). We are now actively litigating many of these matters. The diversity of results is significant, including a $3 million dollar medical negligence recovery on behalf of a 16-year-old girl from Tennessee, a $2.5 million on behalf of a young boy from New Jersey injured on a ship basketball court. Our crew member cases include a $375,000 settlement for a 23-year-old professional diver who sustained catastrophic permanent injuries while performing in an aquatic show on board Allure of the Seas. Another recreational on board case involving injuries on the basketball court resulted in a $365,000 award for a 36-year-old passenger from Virginia.

docked-cruise-ship-300x169Cruise ships are now floating recreational and theme parks. Their activities range from basketball, tennis, dodge ball, to water slides, rock climbing, sky rides to jogging supplemented by exotic shore excursions. “The industry’s competitive nature has resulted in each cruise line adding more dangerous activities for passengers who are already exposed to shipboard negligence in the maintenance and care of walking surfaces and other pedestrian hazards,” according to Ira Leesfield, Chair of the American Association for Justice Resort Torts Litigation Group.

Often overlooked are the substantial recoveries on behalf of passengers injured during excursions away from the vessels. See prior blog.

Badges
Contact Information