Articles Tagged with “Celebrity Cruises”

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When a passenger sustains an injury while on a cruise ship or while on a shore excursion purchased through the cruise line, a maritime law attorney must be contacted immediately so as to maximize the recovery of a potential personal injury claim or lawsuit, and more importantly to not jeopardize the investigation and fact-gathering process that must be done as early as possible and is absolutely critical in litigating against a cruise line.

caution.jpgMost passengers feel safe at sea and are confident that, whichever activity they chose to purchase, the cruise line has done its homework and would not risk the safety and livelihood of its passengers. That misconception has led to countless incidents. Worse, it has led passengers to trusting the cruise line in rectifying their mistakes, or acts of negligence.

Contact a cruise ship injury attorney as soon as you board off the ship
Most, if not all, cruise lines have important procedural conditions that all passengers must know prior to embarking on a cruise. One of these procedural conditions is the time frame within which an injured person must act in order to file a claim against the cruise line. Cruise lines have uniformly imposed a one-year statute of limitations on any and all personal injury claims against them. If a lawsuit is not filed within one year of the incident which caused a person’s injury, that passenger’s claim will be barred forever. Not only that, Cruise Lines have also uniformly and arbitrarily imposed a six-month notification deadline.

The clock on your potential personal injury claim starts ticking the day the incident happens, and if you wait too long, your case, which could have been worthy of representation months prior, could be turned down simply because it is too late to act. You must protect yourself and do your due diligence by contacting a reputable maritime law attorney as soon as possible after you return home from the cruise.

Do not trust the Cruise Line’s claims management process
Many passengers will elect to resolve their injury claim on their own. They will contact the claims management department several weeks after the incident and attempt to obtain a recovery without any professional help. That is the second biggest mistake you can make.

Like any insurance company, the claims management department’s objective is to avoid compensating injured passengers. To achieve their mean, several tactics are employed in almost every single claim:

waiting.gifFirst, the person assigned to your case will ask to obtain a statement from you about the incident. They will only ask questions that may put the blame on the injured person and not ask or inquire about any facts that may or may not show the cruise line’s negligence.

Second, they will stall the claim’s process. By now, the incident occurred several weeks, if not a couple of months ago. They will ask that you provide a copy of all of your medical records, and medical bills, so the claims department can “evaluate” your damages. Some passengers are quick to obtain medical records, but most are not knowledgeable enough and several months will go by before the claims person will be in possession of your medical records and bills.

The next step is full denial. At that point, the cruise line has all of your records, it has an idea of the damages you have sustained in the incident, and it also knows how the incident happened. They will invariably tell you that the statement you have given to the ship’s doctor or the ship’s security staff is inconsistent with the statement you gave over the phone. Or they will tell you that the damages you are seeking are unrelated to the injury you claim you sustained in the incident. Or they will dispute the charges you claim you have incurred, or stress the fact that your health insurance paid for your bills and therefore your medical bills are irrelevant. Or they will insist on telling you that they need more time to make sure their investigation is concluded before they can either deny the claim, or make your an offer.
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On November 7, 2012, Kyle Coleman was arrested and indicted in the parasailing accident which caused the death of Bernice Kraftcheck. Almost a year ago to the day, Coleman, 32, was the captain of a small boat Turtle, in charge of performing parasailing excursions for Caribbean Watersports & Tours, a corporation based out of the U.S. Virgin Island.

Bernice Kraftcheck and her daughter Danielle Haese were on a Celebrity Cruise at the time, aboard the Celebrity Eclipse. They purchased the St. Thomas shore excursion aboard the cruise ship. According to the indictment, when the mother/daughter tandem was lifted up in the parasail, the wind conditions were deteriorating rapidly. Within minutes, the tow-line broke due to increasingly strong winds, and caused the parasail and its two occupants to plummet from the sky and crash into the water. The force of the wind and the water condition were such that the parasail was continuously propelled and dragged the two passengers for several minutes, causing the death of Bernice and serious injuries to her daughter Danielle.

Kyle Coleman.jpgSince these tragic events took place last November, the Coast Guard performed a meticulous investigation by marine casualty investigators and special agents from San Juan. The Coast Guard inspected the vessel and found numerous inadequacies, including an inadequate tow-line, and deficient vessel equipment. The master on the vessel was also unlicensed at the time of the incident. Based on these findings and countless witness accounts, Coleman was arrested and charged by a federal grand jury with being responsible for the accident. The one-count indictment is pursuant to 18 U.S.C.A. § 1115. Misconduct or neglect of ship officers. The statute provides in part that a captain employed on a vessel, by whose misconduct, negligence, or inattention to his duties, the life of any person is destroyed, shall be fined or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

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Leesfield Scolaro recently filed two lawsuits against Celebrity Cruises and Caribbean Water Sports for the wrongful death and catastrophic personal injuries sustained by two cruise passengers in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

To read more about the lawsuit against the cruise line and parasailing tour operator: Lawsuit Filed against Celebrity Cruises and Parasail Operator for the Wrongful Death of Cruise Passenger

Below is a news report broadcasted on the local CBS affiliate.

 

 

After this tragic incident, parasailing excursions, which were traditionally sold to passengers before a cruise on the cruise’s websites or during a cruise aboard the ship, were indefinitely suspended by the majority of the cruise lines, including Celebrity.

Celebrity Cruises, owner and operator of the ship Celebrity Eclipse, announced the cancellation of all parasailing excursions in the Caribbean indefinitely less than a week after the death of one of its passengers.

Celebrity’s Public Relations Department made sure that the announcement at the time was well-publicized and relayed in as many media outlets as possible. “All parasailing shore excursions in the Caribbean have been cancelled indefinitely, pending the outcome of the investigation,” said a Celebrity Cruises spokesperson.

Celebrity Parasail.jpgIt was surprising today to find out that, with a simple search of Celebrity’s watersports activities, parasailing excursions are still being sold to cruise passengers.

While Celebrity’s PR Department made sure to that its announcement last November canceling all parasailing activities was published in every newspaper and relayed by every media outlet in the aftermath of the death of a Celebrity passenger, there has not been any news release or news conference announcing that parasailing excursions have resumed.

Celebrity has not communicated to members of the public and customers what its investigation revealed and the steps taken to ensure that such a tragedy does not occur again.

To read more about the dangers of parasailing and prior cases of parasail operator negligence: Lawsuit Filed against Parasail Operator in Wrongful Death of Cruise Passenger
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For any media inquiry, please contact Ira Leesfield by email or by phone at 305-854-4900.

Leesfield Scolaro filed a lawsuit in federal Court against Celebrity Cruises and Caribbean Watersports & Tours, for their respective alleged negligence which resulted in the wrongful death of cruise passenger Bernice Kraftcheck.

Celebrity_Eclipse.jpg
On November 12, 2011, Bernice Kraftcheck and her daughter Danielle Haese boarded the Celebrity Eclipse for an Eastern Caribbean Cruise departing from Miami, Florida. During the cruise, the mother and daughter purchased a shore excursion offered aboard the cruise ship, a parasail excursion which would take place after the ship docked in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Tragically, the parasail excursion which was supposed to be a thrilling experience turned out to be a nightmare for the Kraftcheck family. After Bernice and her daughter were sent up in the sky by the parasail operators, the rope broke off due to heavy winds and dangerous weather conditions. This resulted in the two occupants to plummet into the water at a very high rare of speed. The force of the impact caused Danielle to sustain massive injuries, her mother Bernice sustained fatal injuries and ultimately passed away.

A lawsuit was filed today in Federal Court for the alleged negligence of Celebrity Cruises and Caribbean Watersports & Tours.

As a cruise operator who offers shore excursions to its passengers, Celebrity owes a duty of reasonable care for the health, welfare and safety of its passengers. Click here to obtain a copy of the complaint.

Cruise lines can be held legally liable when they advertise shore excursions while representing to members of the public and to its paying passengers that shore excursions are safe and a passenger sustains an injury as a result of the excursion operator’s negligence.

caribbean watersports.jpgIn the event that cruise lines select an excursion operator and fail to verify the operator’s safety policies and procedures, cruise lines will be held liable for their negligence and misrepresentation.

In its promotional literature, Celebrity Cruises represent the following to members of the public, potential cruisers, and passengers already aboard one of their cruise ships:

“This is your vacation – and with our Shore Excursions you can be sure it will be one to remember.”

“To purchase your Shore Excursions, view full tour descriptions, images and videos, or download our Shore Excursion brochures

“Whether you are looking for a high-energy adventure or a laid back, relaxing day, we have a Shore Excursion for you

Our shore excursions provide the best each port has to offer with a wide variety of activities and options to chose from”

We’ve done the work of planning your day so that you don’t have to – just choose which adventure to embark on

On its website, Celebrity made further representations regarding “our Shore Excursions”, including:

“Whether you prefer the thrill of parasailing – soaring 800 feet over the beaches below – or just basking on those beaches, Celebrity offers the perfect activity for every sun lover

“There are lots of things you can do to make this cruise all about you . . . looking for something to do off of the ship? We have lots of different shore and land excursions in every port

We offer many different shore excursions from every port. They are a great way to experience the culture and history of the various ports of call”

“When you give us your precious vacation days, we give you a world of modern luxury. That means you don’t have to worry about a single thing

“From our exhilarating shore excursions at every port, to our inspiring onboard activities, everything is created with your ultimate enjoyment in mind.”

No matter which of our incredible shore excursions you choose, you will be surrounded by some of the most astonishing vibrant and beautiful sites anywhere in the world.”

Our Shore Excursions will help you discover the hidden retreats and unspoiled masterpiece mother nature created”

Celebrity offers a wide variety of excursions

Celebrity passengers rely upon the cruise line’s representations regarding shore excursions offered on Celebrity’s website and aboard its cruise ships.
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