Articles Posted in Cruise Injury and Maritime Law

A Jacksonville man convicted of aggravated sexual abuse on an 18-year-old woman while aboard a cruise ship was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison.

The 23-year-old was convicted in March after 90 minutes of deliberation. He did not testify.

During the cruise aboard the Carnival Elation, the man was in a hot tub with a number of people, including a young woman with the mental capacity of a 12-year-old. He touched the woman over her bathing suit and groped her under the water.

The victim left the Jacuzzi and immediately reported what happened to her grandmother, who reported it to ship security.

When the man is released from prison, he will be a registered sex offender.

The sad truth is that sexual assault is the number one crime aboard cruise ships. They are also the most underreported to the public, so when cruisers book their vacation at sea, being sexually assaulted or raped rarely crosses their mind. This only makes innocent vacationers more vulnerable to perpetrators who commit these crimes on the high seas.

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A Jacksonville man was convicted Wednesday of aggravated sexual abuse by force on an 18-year-old woman aboard the Carnival cruise ship Elation.

The 23-year-old was convicted after 90 minutes of deliberation.

According to the original criminal complaint, the man was in a hot tub with a number of people, including a young woman with the mental capacity of a 12-year-old, when he touched the woman over her bathing suit before she pushed his hand away. The man then groped her under the water before getting out of the Jacuzzi.

The woman left the Jacuzzi and immediately reported what happened to her grandmother, who reported it to ship security.

The ship was at sea at the time, and the FBI was notified of the report. FBI agents and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office were present when the ship returned to port in Jacksonville

The man will remain in custody of the U.S. Marshals until his sentencing October 22. He faces up to life in prison.

When you are on a cruise, you should not have to worry about being sexually assaulted by another passenger or a member of the crew. Sadly, rapes and other types of sexual abuse happen all too often on cruise ships.

The cruise line could be held liable for your suffering, including psychological and emotional injuries. They could also be liable if they handled the aftermath of the assault negligently. This can entail not providing adequate medical care to the victim, not restraining the assailant, etc.

In order to protect your rights after being sexually assaulted on a cruise ship, it is important that you seek legal advice from our Florida Cruise Ship Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton as soon as possible after the incident in which you were injured. We are experienced in dealing with cruise line negligence and can assist with your case right away. You want to act fast as there are statutes of limitations set forth on cruise ship injury claims, which could prevent you from seeking compensation past a certain date.

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A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging a 23-year-old Jacksonville man with aggravated sexual abuse by force. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment in federal prison, and a potential lifetime of supervision.

According to the indictment and court records, the man is charged with sexually abusing a passenger on February 27, 2018, while aboard a Carnival cruise ship based out of Jacksonville.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

If you have been sexually assaulted or raped on a cruise ship, our Florida Cruise Negligence Lawyers at Whittel & Melton will fight for you to recover maximum damages, holding the cruise line responsible for not taking the adequate measures to protect you from harm.

We can pursue sexual assault and rape cases as a civil matter. The cruise ship has a responsibility to provide a safe and secure environment to all passengers aboard the cruise liner. This includes having appropriate security and hiring crew members who are trustworthy and thoroughly reviewed for any previous criminal history.

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A passenger who went overboard from a cruise ship was in stable condition Wednesday after being rescued out of the water near the Bahamas, the cruise line said.

The passenger was reported overboard Tuesday night from the Norwegian Epic, which returned to its home port of Port Canaveral at about 7:45 a.m. Wednesday, an hour late.

The ship then slowed to a stop and maneuvered to allow the crew to search for the missing passenger.

As lifeboats searched for her, about eight to 10 passengers yelled out from their balconies to the woman to not give up and to keep calling out for help.

After she was rescued, she was taken to the ship’s medical facility, Norwegian Cruise Line said, and taken for additional medical attention on land once the ship arrived at Port Canaveral.

Falls from cruise ships can and do happen. They can occur many different ways including:

  • Inadequate or defective handrails
  • Intoxication from being over served alcohol in the ship’s bars and lounges
  • Failing to warn of rough seas
  • Violent actions of the ship’s crew members or other passengers

The cruise ship can be held liable for falls overboard that cause injury or distress to passengers. Our Florida Cruise Negligence Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are committed to helping victims obtain compensation from cruise lines who do not provide a safe environment for passengers. Most lawsuits relating to cruise ships departing from Florida must be filed in Florida, however, specific information about where you can file the lawsuit and the statute of limitations that applies can be found on the back of your cruise ship ticket. We can help you with your claim throughout the state of Florida.

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A Boynton Beach, Florida man has filed a wrongful death suit against a cruise line after his wife died in a hospital in France.

The man filed a complaint on May 30 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against Princess Cruise Lines LTD alleging wrongful death and negligence.

According to the complaint, the man claims that on April 2016, his wife fell in her cabin on the ship and was seen by the ship’s doctor. The suit states the woman also had a fever and the ship’s doctor ordered the pair off of the ship for treatment at a hospital in France. The suit states the woman died five weeks later while still in France.

The man holds Princess Cruise Lines LTD responsible because the they allegedly negligently forced them to disembark the vessel and failed to hire qualified ship’s doctors and nurses.

The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks compensatory damages of more than $75,000, all damages, interest, all legal fees and any other relief as the court deems just.

Sadly, people can fall ill or die while on vacation. Passengers can suffer terrible tragedies while onboard an ocean cruise. Typically, cruise lines specify a limited time and a particular place for you to file a civil lawsuit for personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits. Regardless of where you took your cruise, certain cruise lines require you to file suit in a specific location. Our Florida Cruise Ship Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton know how to further research your cruise contract in order to determine when and where you can file a claim for damages.

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A cruise ship passenger alleges he was injured after he slipped and fell near the food court on the ship.

The man filed a suit on Feb. 16 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against Celebrity Cruises Inc. alleging negligence.

According to the complaint, the man alleges that on Nov. 9, 2015, while aboard the cruise ship, he slipped and fell while walking on a slippery area near the food court. As a result, he alleges he suffered pain, loss of earnings and incurred medical expenses.

The man holds Celebrity Cruises Inc. responsible because they failed to conduct routine inspections of the area, failed to warn passengers of wet or contaminated floor surface and failed to establish, implement and enforce policies and procedures regarding the proper maintenance of the area.

Cruise lines are responsible for warning passengers of known dangers, however they are not required to warn of open and obvious dangers. Open and obvious dangers are those that should be obvious to a passenger using common sense. When slapped with a slip and fall claim, cruise lines will often use this defense to claim the cruise ship had no duty to warn its passengers of the obvious danger.  The success of this defense depends on the unique circumstances of the case and the injuries involved.

Our Florida Cruise Ship Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton know that slip, trip and falls suffered aboard a cruise ship can leave you in great pain and unable to go back to work to earn a living. These cases can be complex, which is why you need knowledgeable representation to go up against the cruise ship industry.

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A Kentucky woman claims a slippery deck near a hot tub on a Miami-based cruise ship caused her to fall.

The woman filed a complaint on Feb. 13 against Carnival Corp., doing business as Carnival Cruise Lines Inc., alleging negligence.

According to the complaint, the woman claims that on Feb. 26, 2016, she suffered serious physical injuries when she slipped and fell while exiting the Jacuzzi onboard the Carnival Fascination. She holds Carnival Cruise Lines Inc. responsible because they failed to warn the her regarding the slippery surface while exiting the Jacuzzi.

If you were injured in a cruise ship accident, you are not alone. Countless cruise ship passengers are injured every year, usually do to the negligence of a cruise line or its employees. Sadly, most of these injuries are 100 percent preventable. Slip, trip and fall accidents make up the majority of these incidents, resulting in a plethora of injuries including head injuries, broken bones, and spinal cord injuries. In most cruise ship slip, trip and fall cases, financial compensation can be sought by filing a personal injury claim.

While there are numerous ways a slip, trip and fall accident can occur, negligence is usually a contributing factor. The key to gaining a successful outcome for your claim, is proving negligence and showing that the negligence caused injuries to the victim.

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A Carnival passenger alleges he was injured because he slipped on a deck that was wet with rain.

The man filed a complaint on Jan. 23 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against Carnival Corp. alleging negligence.

According to the lawsuit, the man alleges that he sustained physical injuries when he accidentally slipped and fell due to a deck wet because of rain. The man holds Carnival Corp. responsible because they failed to warn the man of the hazardous condition of the lido deck.

All areas on a cruise ship that see a high volume of foot traffic must be must be free of dangers, and that includes any wet or slick surfaces that could result in slip, trip or fall injuries. Cruise line companies could be responsible for slip, trip and fall accidents that occur because of hazards employees create. Dangerous or hazardous conditions include slick or slippery surfaces and a failure to warn passengers of the wet area or failing to undertake reasonable safety precautions.

If a cruise line creates a dangerous condition or does not work to remedy the situation in a reasonable amount of time, they could be liable for all injuries they have caused. This negligence on the cruise ship’s part could mean you are entitled to recover financial compensation for your injuries.

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More than 500 passengers and crew were evacuated on Wednesday from a burning ship about a mile off Puerto Rico’s north coast.

The fire occurred aboard the Caribbean Fantasy, a combination cruise and ferry vessel, as the U.S. Coast Guard began bringing passengers into the San Juan harbor.

The Coast Guard said all passengers had been evacuated, though it was still rescuing 26 crew members.

The ship was arriving in San Juan when the fire broke out, according to a Coast Guard spokesman.

Reports indicate that a hose carrying fuel burst open and caught on fire in the control room.

The crew attempted to extinguish the fire for 2 hours.

The extent of injuries are not clear at this time.

Several dozen people were treated for dehydration, high blood pressure and respiratory problems from the smoke, said a fire department spokesman. One stretcher held a man hooked up to an IV who was cradling a bawling newborn baby clad only in a diaper.

The mostly Dominican passengers included dozens of school-age athletes headed to competitions in Puerto Rico, including a 22-member cycling team, a girls’ volleyball team and a boys’ baseball team.

Passengers found to be in good health were loaded onto city buses to be taken out of the area.

The ships run several times weekly between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

While it may seem like a fire would be easy to put out when you are surrounded by water, a fire is a one of the most serious risks onboard a cruise ship. Since cruise ships are enclosed with long hallways and similar small rooms, combine that with a high volume of people and that makes cruise ships one of the worst places for a fire emergency. Cruise ship fires can be particularly devastating, due to the fact that there are not many escape routes.

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A cruise should be a fun and safe time. And while most cruises remain fun and injury free, there are ways to be hurt while on a cruise.

The following are the most common cruise ship accidents:

  • Slip and falls or trip and falls: Cruise ship staff are required to maintain a safe ship. This means if there are any wet or slick surfaces, adequate warning signs should be displayed. Stairs and landings should be properly maintained so that there is nothing broken, sharp or uneven so falls do not occur.
  • Drowning: Most cruise ships have several pools on board, as well as water slides and other cool additions. These must be monitored at all times by the cruise line’s staff so that drowning accidents are prevented. With that said, staff must properly secure the pool areas at night when no lifeguards are available.
  • Fires: Fires on cruise ships can lead to various issues for passengers, including the very serious threat of burn injuries, having to evacuate the ship, and a loss of power which can lead to a loss of sewer and food storage capabilities.
  • Collisions With Other Ships/Objects: When a cruise ship crashes into another ship, object, or even a piece of land, everyone onboard could be harmed.
  • Food Poisoning And Other Illnesses: Cruise ships house thousands of people, and because people are within a confined space, stomach viruses can be spread quite easily among guests. On a similar note, if food is not prepared or stored properly, everyone onboard can become seriously ill in a short amount of time.
  • Defective Equipment: If the cruise ship has any faulty equipment, your risk for suffering an injury is dramatically increased. This includes dangerous defects in the on-ship bowling alley, rock climbing walls, water rides, golf courses, and other fun additions.
  • Excursion Injuries: Just be aware that just because cruise ships contract other companies to provide activities off the boat, like snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, zip-lining, and spelunking, this does not mean that these companies follow the necessary safety protocols you expect.

Filing an injury claim against the cruise line can be complex. It is important to understand that attorneys and insurance companies that represent cruise ship lines will do whatever they can to limit paying a claim and having their brand tarnished. There are specific time frames and other laws that govern cruise ship injuries that must be followed when filing an injury claim.

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