Worker Awarded $10.3 million in Cruise Ship Compensation Claim

cruise ship compensation claim, cruise injury, maritime injury

A food service worker employed on Celebrity Cruises’ Eclipse filed a cruise ship compensation claim for spinal injuries he suffered while working.  In arbitration, he won a $10.3 million award for his cruise ship injury, but his former employer is now suing in void the award.

Maitre d’ on the High Seas

The injured party’s name is Slobodan Despot, and he was employed as a maitre d’ at the ship’s Murano Restaurant.  In his cruise ship compensation claim, he said a sudden movement of the ship caused a bread trolley to roll, fall over, and strike him in the back while he was working in a pantry on the Eclipse in July, 2015.

Despot, by all indications, followed appropriate shipboard protocols for reporting his injury.  The cruise line treated him with medical care on board immediately and made arrangements for him to receive further care.  Despite this, Despot filed his claim because he says his injuries resulted in central pain syndrome. This is a neurological condition involving the brain, brain stem, and spinal cord.

The Cruise Ship Compensation Claim

Bound by his employment agreement, Despot pursued his claim via confidential arbitration process.  In arbitration, the parties agreed to follow the general maritime workplace injury laws of the United States, namely the Jones Act.

The arbitrator ruled in favor of Despot on June 6, 2019, awarding him $10.3 million for his injuries.  Obviously, Celebrity Cruises, a subsidiary of Royal Carribean Cruises, Ltd., was displeased with the decision.  The company took immediate action to avoid paying out.

According to Celebrity, a key factor in the arbitrator’s decision was the cruise line’s failure to produce two pieces of evidence:

  • The bread trolley: The cruise line placed the item back into service the week after Despot’s injury and could not differentiate it from the others in service aboard the ship when the arbitrator asked for it.
  • Accident report and photographs: Celebrity would not release its internal records when the arbitrator asked, protesting, “work product immunity.”

The cruise line filed suit in the U.S. District Court in Miami hoping to void the arbitrator’s award.  Celebrity contends the absence of the two pieces of evidence prompted the arbitrator to form an adverse presumption against the cruise line inappropriately.  Under the Jones Act, the burden of proof rests with the party bringing the cruise ship compensation claim.  Celebrity says the arbitrator’s decision should not have been influenced by these two absent pieces of evidence. Instead, it should be influenced by the affirmative arguments from Despot and his attorney.

The cruise line didn’t stop there.  After a failed initial attempt to remove the arbitrator, Celebrity is seeking to further undermine the award by accusing the arbitrator of improperly soliciting a charitable donation from Despot’s attorney during the arbitration process.

Despot is not giving up.  He filed suit in federal court seeking to confirm the arbitrator’s award.

Arbitration Under the Jones Act

The Jones Act provides an avenue for maritime workers to seek recovery for workplace injuries.  Workers’ compensation laws do not apply when the injured party is at sea. Therefore, the Jones Act bridges the gap and makes it possible for workers to seek compensation such as in this cruise ship compensation claim.

Despot, employed as a maitre d’, may not fit the traditional image of a seaman, but he was employed in the work of the ship, and as such was eligible to seek redress under the Jones Act.

Unlike Despot’s claim, most cases of arbitration occur to resolve a dispute over a maritime worker’s Jones Act claim.  Sometimes employers offer arbitration when they feel it will minimize the eventual sum they may have to pay.  Some go so far as to argue that it is the most convenient and cost effective option for both parties.  Though that may be true in some cases, there are also several disadvantages.

Defining Arbitration

Arbitration is a process where an objective third party decides the outcome of a claim instead of a judge and jury.  This is different from the norm in a traditional worker’s compensation matter.

Some maritime employment agreements include a clause mandating arbitration in the event of an injury, as in Despot’s case.  Without this arbitration clause, federal law prohibits employers from forcing arbitration upon their employees.

Tactics Employers Use to Coerce Workers into Arbitration

Most employers prefer to settle disputes via arbitration because the eventual award amount is generally lower than in a jury trial.  Large corporate entities know how expensive court and trial costs can be.  They would rather avoid that expense while also minimizing their eventual pay-out.  Arbitration most often benefits the employer, not the injured.

Some employers use the illegal tactic of withholding benefits or pay until their employees sign an arbitration clause.  Many maritime workers, not knowing their rights, sign away their opportunity to a jury trial.  This is because it seems to be the only way the company will release a paycheck or provide benefits.

Sometimes, employers will mislead workers by promising that arbitration is the faster way to come to an agreement and disperse the funds.  This isn’t really true.  Neither arbitration or jury cases operate on a specific timeline, and the average difference between the two is usually small.

Have Questions about Arbitration and a Cruise Ship Compensation Claim?

If you are party to an arbitration agreement with your employer, you have few options if you suffer an injury at work.  That means you do still have some options, though. You certainly can benefit from the advice of an experienced cruise ship compensation claim lawyer.

Remember that you don’t have to go it alone, even if you are party to an agreement to arbitrate.  You have rights. With an experienced Jones Act attorney in your corner, your chances of securing the compensation you need are much better than if you move forward without counsel.  Call Maritime Injury Guide if you have been injured while aboard a cruise ship in any capacity.  Call 1-877-363-6148 or email us for more information.

 

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Maritime Injury Lawyer Discusses Maritime Silicosis

maritime injury lawyer, silicosis

Each year, millions of workers in the United States are exposed to crystalline silica.  Many of these workers do not know that this common mineral can lead to a host of health problems, including incurable diseases like silicosis and lung cancer.  At Maritime Injury Guide, our maritime injury lawyer wants you to be aware of the risks of crystalline silica so that you can take measures to prevent exposure.

In this post, you will find information about the mineral, the dangers, and what you can do to protect yourself.  If you have questions about toxic chemicals or substances, don’t hesitate to contact Maritime Injury Guide.

What is Crystalline Silica?

Crystalline silica is a mineral that is in most rocks.  It is present in sand, stone, brick, concrete, and mortar.  It is most commonly found in quartz, which is one of the most common minerals found on the surface of the Earth.

maritime injury lawyer

When workers in construction or mining cut, saw, or grind rocks crystalline silica particles are released into the air in the form of silica dust.  Workers in the maritime industry commonly use silica sand as an abrasive to clean ship hulls or remove paint.  This also releases silica dust into the air.

Why is Silica Dust Dangerous?

Silica dust is respirable, meaning you can inhale the fine particles when breathing.  Breathing in silica dust is dangerous because the particles can lodge themselves in the soft tissues of the lungs.  This causes inflammation, scarring, and nodules – all of which can impact breathing.

Silica dust can also cause a variety of lung and airway diseases, autoimmune disorders, renal disease, and other health complications.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lists the diseases most often linked to silica dust exposure as:

  • Silicosis
  • Lung Cancer
  • Pulmonary Tuberculosis
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Kidney Disease

What is Maritime Silicosis?

As a maritime injury lawyer, the most common questions about maritime silica exposure relate to silicoses.  Maritime silicosis often develops after months or years of exposure to silica dust.  Workers who sandblast or use abrasives may experience high concentrations of silica dust, especially if they work in confined areas.

Silicosis is an incurable lung disease that progresses, or gets worse, over time.  Many workers do not experience symptoms of silicosis for up to 15-20 years after initial exposure.  As a result, it is often difficult to link silicosis to occupational hazards. The most common symptoms of silicosis include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Weight loss
  • Edema (swollen legs)
  • Fever
  • Persistent productive cough

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines silicosis as a pneumoconioses, or a group of interstitial lung diseases.  These diseases are the result of inhaling respirable dust into the lungs.  In addition to silicosis, asbestosis and coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (black lung) are also in this category of disease.

Silicosis is a lung disease itself, but it can also compromise your immune system to dangerous levels.  Silicosis also puts you at risk for developing additional health problems, including COPD, tuberculosis, or lung cancer.

Is Silicosis Preventable?

Silicosis is 100 percent preventable by following proper safety and health measures.  In 2018, OSHA developed new “Respirable Crystalline Silica” standards, which are applicable to workers in all industries, including the maritime industry.  The new standards require employers to do the following:

  • Determine if any worker is exposed to silica dust above the exposure limits set by OSHA, which is 25 micrograms per cubic meter of air.
  • Create a written exposure control plan.
  • Train workers on the dangers of silica dust exposure and how to prevent exposure.
  • Limit access to areas where silica dust levels are above exposure limits.
  • Use housekeeping measures to reduce the amount of dust in the air.
  • If silica dust is present, employers must protect workers by providing adequate respirators.
  • Workers who are exposed to silica dust above the exposure limits for 30 days or more per year must be provided a medical exam every three years. Furthermore, the exam must include lung function tests and a chest x-ray.

In addition to these guidelines, workers engaging in certain occupations, such as sandblasting, are subject to all other applicable OSHA guidelines.  For example, employers must provide adequate ventilation.

Have You Been Diagnosed with Maritime Silicosis? Contact a Maritime Injury Lawyer

Despite OSHA guidelines and CDC recommendations, employers still fail to prevent silica dust exposure.  In fact, estimates suggest that two million workers in the U.S.  are currently vulnerable to developing silicosis.

If you have received a diagnosis of silicosis, you may be one of the many people who were not provided with adequate protection from silica dust.  However, The Jones Act and other maritime laws exist to protect workers like you from the negligence of others.  If your employer failed to keep you safe, then you may have an actionable claim.

To find out more about silicosis and your legal rights, contact the maritime injury lawyer at Maritime Injury Guide.  Our legal team can certainly help you understand and protect your legal rights.  Complete our online contact form to get started.

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Coast Guard Marine Safety Alert after Shipboard Fire in the Great Lakes

marine safety, maritime fire, fire safety

A bulk carrier cargo ship laid up for the winter experienced a devastating fire that caused major damage.   The damage was so extensive and the danger so great, that the U.S.  Coast Guard issued a marine safety alert regarding fire safety for ships in lay-up.  While there were no maritime job injuries in this fire, it highlights a possible danger for all maritime workers.

“Lay-up” is a term that refers to periods of time when ships are temporarily out of use.  Typically vessels in lay-up are anchored or moored.  Sometimes seasonally, and sometimes due to market fluctuations, ship owners will choose to put their vessels in lay-up and wait for more profitable conditions.   A ship in lay-up is much less expensive to run and requires few crew members and technicians to keep the vessel in good working order.

In the event of an emergency like a massive fire, a small crew is a double edged sword.  On the one side, there are fewer workers who may be injured in a shipboard fire.  On the other side, there are also fewer crew members to react to an emergency situation.

No Watchman on Duty

The “bulker” that caught fire while laid up in the Great Lakes was unmanned and vacant when the fire was discovered.  Normally, a ship watchman would have been onboard during a lay-up.  The watchman assigned to the vessel that day went home for the weekend hours before the fire was reported.   No replacement watchman took his place.

The day of the fire, the vessel had a working crew aboard welding in the ballast tanks and conveyor tunnel areas.  According to the ship’s log, the last worker left the vessel at 6 p.m.  At 8 p.m., a watchman on a nearby ship observed the fire.

Numerous Possible Sources of Ignition

Observations from the watchman on the other vessel indicated that the fire may have originated in the machine shop on the gangway deck.  As investigation into the cause of the catastrophic fire began, workers noted many possible sources of ignition in the machinery space such as:

  •  Propane heaters
  •  Electric heaters
  •  Heat lamps

The investigation revealed that the welding work crew used the machine shop and steering gear rooms to warm up during their breaks during the work day.  The electric heaters in those rooms were still connected to onshore electricity prior to the fire, though all the other vessel machinery was shut down.

Delayed Call for Help Results in Devastation

Though the nearby watchman spotted the fire at approximately 8 p.m., it was almost 45 minutes before he called 911.  He spent the intervening time contacting hot-work contractors and other contract workers before seeking emergency services.

When local fire departments did respond, they were able to cool the vessel’s exterior, as well as the exteriors of other ships docked nearby.  Efforts to save the ship were complicated by frozen water hydrants at the dock.   In the end, the fire burned for more than 35 hours in the upper engine room spaces and moved into the entire superstructure, on to the self-unloading belt, throughout the port and starboard conveyor tunnels, and onto the cargo boom belt above the main deck.

While emergency crews worked to fight the fire, the electrical power supply from the shore to the vessel failed.   Because the ship was in lay-up, a number of valves were open for maintenance and to drain various systems within the machinery space.   Because of the power loss during the fire, the bubbling system used to prevent freezing around the machinery space area of the hull failed.

There had been several days of freezing weather in the days leading up to the fire, so various piping systems failed and water flooded into the machinery space.   This flooding continued until divers were able to shut off the flow from the sea chest.

The Marine Safety Warning from the Coast Guard

Due to the flooding, major structural damage, and the long burning fire, investigators did not access the vessel for 11 days following the incident.   When they were finally able to get aboard, there was no way to identify a specific source of the fire.   The prevailing theory is that the fire began in the machine shop area where the welding workers left numerous electric heaters plugged in for weeks prior to the fire.

In light of the devastating fire, the Coast Guard issued a marine safety warning to vessel owners and operators whose vessels are in lay-up status.  Particularly, the Coast Guard warns vessel owners with ships connected to shore power to be cautious when work, such as welding, takes place.

The warning cautioned ship owners to:

  • Be sure that continuous fire, safety, and security watches are maintained.  Furthermore, that scheduled watchmen receive specific instructions regarding their duties in the event of a fire or other emergency situation.
  • Make use of persons with vessel engineering experience and familiarity with engine room systems during lay-up preparations.  These individuals can help prevent unintended circumstances, such as the flooding of the machinery space on this ship.

Marine Firefighting

Connection to onshore power and irresponsible engineering certainly seems likely culprits for the overall catastrophic damage on this vessel.  However, even on the best-run ship, a fire is much more deadly and complex than a fire ashore.

Think of it like this: a large commercial bulker is like a large building with most of its floors underground.  The volume of ship space with limited entry points below deck is a challenging aspect for firefighters.

Some vessels may have an internal depth of hull as tall as a 7-story building.  Essentially, it is a floating warehouse with access to a series of upper decks.  This makes most ships the firefighting equivalent of responding to a 9-story building with a 7-story basement.

Further complicating matters, most commercial vessels encapsulate all the elements of a small city.  Many ships contain:

  • Heavy industrial equipment,
  • High bay warehousing
  • A hotel or sleeping facilities
  • Leisure facilities
  • Workshops
  • Bulk oil storage
  • Offices

The Coast Guard’s marine safety warning was a needful one because fire safety on ships can be the difference between life and death.

Have Questions about Marine Safety?

If you are suffering the effects of a maritime fire, contact Maritime Injury Guide.  As a maritime worker, you have certain legal rights and protections.  You may be entitled to benefits or compensation for your injuries and losses.

Find out more by contacting Maritime Injury Guide to schedule a consultation with an experienced maritime injury lawyer today.  Call 1-877-363-6148 or email us.

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Planning for Marine Safety as Hurricane Season Begins

marine safety, hurricane season, maritime

Hurricanes cause maritime disasters every year.  Sadly, there is no guarantee that marine safety practices will ensure the safety of a vessel or prevent maritime injury among workers.  Now that hurricane season in the United States is upon us, it is the perfect time to consider marine safety and how maritime workers can stay safe.

The best way to minimize a hurricane’s impact at sea or in port is vigilant monitoring of hurricane potential.  Preparedness coupled with some fundamental safety guidelines can reduce the risk of a disaster.

Recent Catastrophic Hurricane Seasons

Recent storm seasons have left parts of the U.S.  crippled.  It would be hard to forget the impact of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.  The two storms that crippled Southeast Texas, Louisiana, and Florida, and caused widespread destruction in the Eastern Caribbean.   Some estimates count the cost of damages from these storms up to $200 billion.

Because the storms blasted through and damaged major oil-producing resources, the country stands to lose another $30 billion from the damage over time.  Hurricane Harvey caused record flooding in Texas and reduced U.S.  oil refining capacity by about a quarter.   It took many months before Texas oil refineries were back to capacity.

Overcoming Problems of Forecasting

Even with highly advanced Doppler radar systems and other meteorological tools, there is still a surprising amount of error in forecasting the intensity of a tropical weather system, as well as where it can go.   During hurricane season, continual risk analysis can save lives and save a vessel from sinking.

During hurricane season, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) issues four Tropical Cyclone Forecast/Advisory Messages (TCM) per day when storm systems are active.  Mariners can make use of these TCMs to make marine safety decisions.  TCMs use the latest information about the strength of a hurricane and where it is moving.  When used appropriately, it can be an invaluable tool that allows ship operators to make sound decisions and avoid hurricanes.

Marine Safety Guidelines for Avoiding Hurricanes at Sea

Predicting hurricanes is inherently uncertain, so mariners should follow a few simple marine safety guidelines to limit the potential of a dangerous and damaging encounter between a ship and a hurricane.

34 Knot Rule

Ships should avoid the 34 knot wind field of a hurricane.  Thirty-four knots is an important number because this wind speed can result in an insurmountable deficit to ship maneuverability.   A clunky ship unable to be maneuvered is a sitting duck in a hurricane.

1-2-3 Rule

According to the NHC, this rule is the single most important tool in accounting for the inherent tracking errors associated with hurricanes.   Using information from the TCM, the 1-2-3 rule establishes a minimum distance that ships ought to maintain from a hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean.   Knowing a minimum distance to keep away from a powerful storm allows mariners to employ a generous buffer zone to keep their vessels safe.

Overestimating the buffer zone is the best marine safety practice when coping with high forecast uncertainty, crew members with limited experience, or any problems with the vessel’s handling or seaworthiness.

Never Cross the “T”

Experienced mariners should know never to cross the track, or “T”, of a hurricane.   Passing through the track of a hurricane invites many negative effects to ship maneuverability including vessel speed and handling, sudden accelerations, wind shear, storm surge, or dangerous winds.  These expose a ship to conditions for which it is not prepared – which can result in disaster.  It is important to adjust course and speed in order to keep vessels clear of the danger of a hurricane.

Assessing Options

Never leave yourself with only a single navigation option during hurricane season.  Especially in the confined waters of the Gulf of Mexico, room to maneuver is a significant factor.  Generally speaking, deciding early on to move away from areas of restricted maneuverability is a sensible choice.

Port Specific Risk Analysis

Ships that seek shelter in a port, or have plans to move to or away from a port, should consider all of the above.  These are important considerations when factoring the risks and benefits of certain navigation choices.

Marine Safety for Vessels at Port During a Hurricane

Above all else, preparing a vessel to weather a hurricane should start as soon as possible.  Scrambling to secure rigging or gear as a hurricane approaches is a good way for maritime workers to get hurt.  Instead, maritime work environments should remain in a state of hurricane preparedness from the very start of hurricane season.

Some of these early marine safety preparations include:

  • Evaluating and replacing any lines or rigging that are getting old or frail.  The absolute worst time for a rope to snap is in the middle of a hurricane.
  • Consider setting multiple anchors if at all possible.  Keeping the ship still while at port can be an important factor in avoiding injury.
  • Reduce, remove, or stow as much cordage or equipment from the surface of the ship as possible.   Decrease the surface area that the wind can blow against in every way you can to keep the ship as still as possible.

Have Questions about Marine Safety and Your Work Environment?

Maritime employers have a responsibility to make careful risk assessments during hurricane season. Employers can be held liable for injuries a maritime worker suffers due to a hurricane or failing to move away from it.

As a maritime worker, there are specific laws that protect your right to demand compensation for any injuries you suffer on the job or as a result of your employer’s negligence.

Maritime injury law is an exceedingly complex area of law.  If you are injured because of a hazardous work environment or the negligence of your employer, contact Maritime Injury Guide.  You may qualify for benefits under The Jones Act or the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA).  These benefits can help cover the cost of medical care, as well as compensating you for the cost of lost wages.

To find out more about your rights and options, call 1-877-363-6148 today or request more information online.

 

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The Role and Risks of Maritime Security Guards

maritime security

When it comes to working in the maritime industry, most of us think about fishing, oil rigs, or cruise ship workers.  But there is one area of the maritime industry that doesn’t get as much attention, but is equally as relevant – maritime security.

Maritime security is an increasingly popular sector of the security industry.  There are several positions available in maritime security, including:

  • Maritime cyber security
  • Unarmed security guards
  • Armed security guards

Maritime security guards work onboard vessels, at docks, and in numerous locations related to protocols, training, and regulation.  These individuals are almost always contracted employees who work for a security company.

The Role of Maritime Security Guards

The role of maritime security guards is to protect crew members onboard ships and workers at docks and ports.  Maritime security guards also work onboard cruise ships and private yachts.  Maritime security guards are primarily deployed in areas with a high risk of piracy or robbery of vessels.  These high risk areas include:

  • Indian Ocean
  • Gulf of Guinea
  • Arabian Sea
  • Gulf of Aden
  • East Africa

These are areas where shipping and water transportation are incredibly popular, and are necessary to global trade.  Unfortunately, these areas are also prime targets for criminals looking to rob ships.  The presence of maritime security guards onboard ships deters criminal activity, and serves as a protective measure for crew members should violence erupt.

The Risks to Maritime Security Guards

Any kind of security job has certain inherent risks.  After all, your job is to deter criminals and protect the ship’s crew from potentially violent intruders.  Maritime security guards face multiple risks, such as:

  • Physical violence
  • Sexual assault
  • Confined spaces
  • Working around large shipping containers and freight
  • Working around unfamiliar equipment and machinery
  • Slippery decks and surfaces
  • Hazardous weather conditions
  • Dangerous wave and water conditions

These dangers can certainly result in a variety of serious injuries, and in some cases can be fatal.

Maritime Accidents and Injuries

Maritime workers in any sector of the industry are at risk for accidents and injuries including:

  • Slip and Fall – Slipping and falling is a huge risk when working on a vessel or dock. Slip and fall accidents often lead to broken bones, head injuries, spinal cord injuries, or even death.
  • Confined Spaces – Working in confined spaces puts maritime workers at risk for exposure to toxic fumes, or asphyxia due to lack of oxygen.
  • Falling Overboard – Falling overboard while working on a moving vessel is incredibly dangerous. Workers who fall overboard are at risk for hypothermia, drowning, entanglement, or coming into contact with the ship’s rudders.
  • Repetitive Use – No matter what sort of job you work, you likely will repeat certain actions and movements repeatedly. As a result, you may experience repetitive use injuries like tissue, tendon, or ligament damage in the hands, feet, ankles, shoulders, back, and neck.
  • Inadequate Training – No matter what your role is, working on a ship requires you to work around machinery and equipment that you may not be accustomed to. Without proper safety training, maritime workers can easily become injured by machinery or equipment with moving parts.
  • Cargo Injuries – Ships and dock areas often have cargo being moved around, stacked, or transferred. When cargo is not properly secured, it can become a dangerous force to be reckoned with.  Moving or shifting cargo can lead to crush injuries.

Safety and Protection for Maritime Security Guards

If you work as a maritime security guard, you may be armed and trained in how to protect yourself.  However, as we have discussed, there are numerous threats – some of which cannot be mitigated through weaponry.  To keep you and your crew safe, here are some tips for maritime security guards:

  • Be aware of where you are traveling. Familiarize yourself with the map and the route you are traveling. It is also important to research regional threats.
  • Depending on where you are traveling, you should certainly know what the threats are. Different regions have different standards of piracy, including the type of weapons used.  Some groups prefer knives, while others use guns.
  • Always make sure that your travel plans are registered. Furthermore, record your ships identification system, and leave that information with your supervisors.  In the event something happens, your team will know where you are and how to find you.
  • When traveling through dangerous areas, make sure that there are plenty of lookouts per watch. Rotate guards on watch to avoid fatigue, and keep in constant communication with each other.
  • Understand bridge protections. If pirates attack, they are likely going to try to take over the bridge because they want control.  Many ships install chain link fence around the bridge, or have several layers of access.  If you are a security guard, your primary goal will be protecting the bridge.  Consequently, you should know the strengths and weaknesses, and act appropriately.

By following these safety tips, you can help prepare yourself and your crew for possible dangers.  You should always follow safety procedures set for the ship, and participate in training whenever possible.

Are You an Injured Maritime Worker?

If you work as a maritime security guard and have recently been injured, it is certainly important to explore your rights and options.  Maritime workers do not qualify for workers’ compensation in the same way as workers in other industries.  Maritime workers are protected under The Jones Act, which allows injured seamen to file a lawsuit in pursue of maintenance and cure benefits or lost wages.

To find out what sort of legal protections you qualify for, and what benefits you can get as an injured maritime worker, contact Maritime Injury Guide.  Our maritime injury attorneys will review and investigate your situation. Furthermore, we will provide guidance on your best course of action.  For a free injury consultation, call toll free at 1-877-363-6148, or complete our online contact form.

 

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Indiana Toddler Dies after Suffering a Cruise Ship Injury

cruise ship injury, slip and fall

An Indiana family is struggling with unimaginable tragedy after their 18-month-old daughter suffered a fatal cruise ship injury aboard Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas.  What was set to be a family adventure is now a tragedy that highlights the importance of cruise ship safety.

Fatal Cruise Ship Injury Information

Chloe Wiegand, only 18 months old, died from injuries she suffered after a fall from a cruise ship window.  The initial version of the story indicated the girl fell from the window after slipping from her grandfather’s arms.  As the days have passed, however, new details have emerged that make it clear the family believes the cruise line was negligent and therefore is at fault for the toddler’s death.

The family says the girl’s grandfather put her up on a railing at a window in a children’s water park area.  Young Chloe was a big hockey fan and loved to watch her older brother play.  She loved to indulge in the quintessentially toddler impulse to bang on the glass.  Knowing this about his granddaughter, Chloe’s grandfather put the little girl on the railing of a wall that was lined with glass windows.

Instead of happily banging on glass, the child encountered only air and suffered the cruise ship injury that ended her life.  Her grandfather could not have realized that the window was open, and when the baby went to bang on the glass, she fell through the opening to her death.  Bystanders reported a blood-curdling scream as the baby fell 10 stories from the window to the concrete dock below.

Was This a Preventable Cruise Ship Injury?

The girl’s family says her death was a preventable tragedy.  They question why the cruise line would have put windows in a child’s play area that could be opened by passengers.  They further question why the window opened into a blank portal instead of having screening or other safety measures, especially in an area that should have been safe for small children.

In a statement, Chloe’s grandfather defended his actions saying he didn’t think it was “unreasonable” to put a child on the railing thinking there was glass behind it.  The family says they did not open the window or see it opened. They had every reason to believe the blank space in the wall of windows was clear glass.

The family is adamant they feel they have grounds for a lawsuit.

Who is to Blame?

The basic assumption aboard cruise ships is that they do everything possible to provide a safe environment for all passengers.  As such, every passenger has a right to expect the cruise line to:

The liability for the cruise ship injury that led to Chloe’s death remains somewhat unclear.  The attorney for the family says any question of civil liability may be answered when his firm reviews video of the incident.  As of this moment, the law firm for the family does not have access to the video. The firm is in talks with Royal Caribbean about obtaining it.

The family hopes to learn why and by whom the window was opened, and their attorney says Royal Caribbean may be liable if there was no compelling reason for the window in the children’s area to be open.

Royal Caribbean is taking a defensive stance in the tragedy by making statements carefully crafted to hedge the issue of liability.  Their statement refers to the little girl’s death as an “incident” not an “accident.” The cruise line is fully participating with authorities in Puerto Rico during the investigation.

The investigation is taking place in Puerto Rico because the ship was docked there at the time of the accident.  A prosecutor in Puerto Rico has been conducting interviews while the Puerto Rico police lead the investigation surrounding Chloe’s cruise ship injury.  The child’s autopsy took place in Puerto Rico as well.

Fall Prevention Safety Measures

Parents and caregivers can only do their best with the information and environment that surround them.  Chloe’s grandfather had every reason to believe there was glass behind the railing.  He did the best he could with the information available to him in a possibly unsafe environment.

Falls are a leading cause of injuries among children.  About 8,000 children go to the ER everyday for fall-related injuries.

On cruise ships, 24 people fall overboard every year.  Falling from multi-story cruise ship results in catastrophic injuries.  One in five people who fall overboard on a cruise ship die as a result of the fall.

In most cases, you can prevent injuries and falls using tips like these:

  • Play safely – Be mindful of the ground surface where there is a risk of falling, like on playgrounds or water parks.  Check for wood chips, sand, or soft rubber surfaces and avoid play areas with concrete floors, dirt, or grass.
  • Supervise – Supervise young kids around fall hazards at all times.  Stairs, playground equipment, and any surface for climbing can be fall hazards.
  • Think sports safety – Active kids can be hurt while playing in sports.  Always opt for the appropriate safety equipment like helmets, shin guards, and knee or elbow pads.

Rights to Compensation after a Cruise Ship Injury

Parents and guardians can only do so much to protect the children in their care.  When in an environment like a cruise ship, it is only natural to trust that proper safety measures have been put into place.

Cruise ships have a responsibility to maintain a safe environment for their passengers.  Any failure of this responsibility leaves them open to a lawsuit for the costs of:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost Income
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental Anguish

If you or someone you love has suffered a cruise ship injury or a maritime workplace injury, talk to Maritime Injury Guide.  If negligence contributed to injury or death, you may be able to take legal action.  Find out more by calling our maritime injury lawyer at 1-877-363-6148.  You can also email us to request a free case evaluation.

 

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Health and Safety Concerns Aboard Oil and Gas Rigs

health and safety, maritime, oil and gas

Oil and gas well drilling activities at sea offer a lucrative income opportunity but come with plenty of risks to a workers’ health and safety.   Heavy equipment, hazardous conditions, and the maritime environment combine to pose credible threats of serious injury and death.

Recognizing and controlling the hazards for workers on oil and gas rigs is key to preventing catastrophic injury and loss of life.  Furthermore, many offshore injuries can certainly be prevented by following health and safety guidelines.

Offshore Health and Safety 

If you work offshore on an oil or gas derrick, you know there are risks.  If you are considering the occupation, you may find it helpful to review some of the health and safety dangers before accepting a position.  Below, you can learn more about these risks and what you can do to stay safe.

Caught in Equipment Injuries

The variety of equipment moving around in fairly confined spaces presents a risk of workers being struck by, caught in, or caught between pieces of equipment on a vessel.  Three out of every five onsite deaths in the oil and gas extraction industry are the result of struck-by/caught -in/caught-between accidents.

Moving vehicles on the rig, moving equipment, falling equipment and high pressure lines could all have the potential to cause struck-by/caught -in/caught-between injuries to workers.

Explosions and Fires

Workers in the oil and gas extraction industry face the risk of fire and explosion because the workplace environment is filled with flammable vapors.  This risk is inherent due to the nature of the work.  A multitude of flammable gases rise from wells, production equipment, or surface equipment continuously.

The most dangerous ignition sources throughout the work environment include:

  • Electric energy sources
  • Static electricity
  • Open flames
  • Lightning
  • Cigarettes
  • Welding tools
  • Frictional Heat

As you can see, there are many elements of offshore work that can expose you to fire, heat, flame, or electrical currents.

Falls

Virtually all maritime work environments carry an increased risk for workplace slips and falls because of the wet conditions at sea.  On oil and gas rigs, workers may need to access platforms and equipment high above the lowest level.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA)  requires workers who work high off the ground to use safety  harnesses and tethers to prevent workplace falls.   Even with the appropriate safety equipment, workers sometimes fall from the higher levels and suffer devastating injury.

Confined Spaces 

Oil and gas rig workers frequently enter confined spaces.  These areas include:

  • Storage tanks
  • Sand storage containers
  • Confined spaces around the wellhead
  • Spaces between equipment
  • Narrow hallways and doors

Working in confined spaces for long periods of time presents both health and safety hazards to workers.  Confined spaces increase the risk of ignition of flammable vapors, as well as asphyxiation, and exposure to hazardous chemicals.

Some confined spaces on oil and gas rigs present a very serious atmospheric hazard.  They may contain toxic chemicals that require classification as permit-required confined spaces.   OSHA also requires employers to test these areas prior to employee entry. Also, employers must continuously monitor these environments.

Ergonomic Hazards

A career on an oil or gas rig is physically intensive.  Workers are at risk of suffering ergonomic-related injuries from:

  •  Lifting heavy things
  •  Bending
  •  Reaching overhead
  •  Pushing or pulling heavy loads
  •  Working in awkward body postures
  •  Performing repetitive tasks

Much of the discomfort and risks for ergonomic-related injuries can be eliminated through proper planning.  If workers use the right tools and make a plan prior to beginning a task, many ergonomic-related injuries can be avoided.

The possibility of eliminating the risk of these types of injuries takes for granted management or owner cooperation in direct prevention measures.  Sadly, mismanagement is common aboard oil and gas drilling vessels.  Workers cannot always count on shop management to help protect their health and safety.

High Pressure Lines and Equipment

The high pressure lines that collect and transport the oil or gas can be very hazardous to workers.  Around high pressure lines, workers risk:

  • Harm from the compressed gases in a line
  • Internal erosion of the line which could result in a leak or rupture
  • If connections securing high pressure lines fail, workers could also be struck by the high pressure line after it breaks free from its mooring

Electrical and Energy Hazards

Aboard oil and gas drilling vessels, workers frequently work near electrical, mechanical, or hydraulic sources of energy.   This is especially true if the equipment on board is not designed, installed, or maintained properly.   Very often, administrative controls regarding operating procedures are not in place.  Without a centralized administration, the uncontrolled sources of energy pose a significant risk to the workers.

Machine Hazards

Workers aboard oil and gas extraction platforms interact with rotating wellhead equipment, top drives, Kelly drive, draw works, pumps, compressors, cathead’s, voice blocks, felt wheels, and conveyors on a daily basis.  Without maintaining older machines in the work environment, these machines pose a serious threat of injury if they were to break down or malfunction.

Diesel Particulate Matter

Oil and gas rig workers are exposed to harmful levels of diesel particulate matter while operating machinery, vehicles, and equipment on a drilling site.  Inhaling the exhaust and the miniscule particles can cause long-lasting respiratory problems.

Hazardous Chemicals

Most workers on an oil and gas drilling rig will handle hazardous chemicals at some point during the work process.  At the highest risk are the workers who participate in hydraulic fracturing.  They are the most likely to suffer illness or injury due to the hazardous byproducts of oil and gas drilling.

Not all workers on the rig will be exposed to hazardous chemicals to the same degree because of their differing roles in the workforce.  Possible chemical hazards include:

  • Chemical burns from caustic substances
  • Inhalation of toxic vapors

Exposure to hazardous chemicals is so rampant aboard these vessels that employers must record safety data sheets for the workers who work near hazardous chemicals.  Furthermore, employers must spend time and money training workers on the best practices to avoid exposure to hazardous chemicals.

Toxic substances to which oil and gas rig workers may be exposed include:

  • Hydrocarbon Gases and Vapors (HGVs)
  • Hydrogen Sulfide
  • Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM)
  • Crystalline silica

Exposure to hazardous or toxic substances can post numerous health and safety hazards.

Health and Safety Planning and Prevention

Planning and prevention by the management and owners of vessels is essential to protect the health and safety of offshore oil and gas workers.  Being aware of the hazards is the first step.  Taking precautions to minimize the impact of hazardous materials and situations is next.  Finally, training workers about the potential hazards to their health and safety can help reduce worksite injury and long-term illness.

In a perfect world, oil and gas rights would be perfectly managed in a way that minimizes every single instance of injury or illness.  The truth is, oil and gas rig workers make a very decent living because their job is dangerous and they are more than aware of the risks.

Knowingly signing up for work that has the potential to compromise your health and safety does not prevent you from holding your employer responsible if their negligence caused the conditions that harmed you.

Health and Safety and Your Legal Rights

The Jones Act allows maritime workers hold their employers responsible for a workplace injury.   If your health and safety is suffering due to working offshore, contact Maritime Injury Guide.  Schedule a free consultation of your potential claim to get started.  Call 1-877-363-6148 or contact us online.

 

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Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Maritime Injury Lawyer

maritime injury lawyer

If you work in the maritime industry and are injured, you may find it helpful to speak with a maritime injury lawyer.  The maritime industry does not have the same workers’ compensation coverage for employees that other industries have.  That can complicate your ability to get benefits and coverage for your injuries or lost income.

5 Questions to Ask Your Maritime Injury Lawyer

If you decide to contact a maritime injury lawyer, there are some questions you can ask up front to determine if he or she is right for your case.  Here are the top 5 questions recommended by Maritime Injury Guide:

1. What is your experience in handling maritime injury claims?

Every lawyer has a different set of skills, education, and experience.  If you are suffering a maritime injury, you want to find a lawyer who is educated in maritime injury laws, and who has successfully managed cases for clients.  There are many personal injury lawyers out there who can review your case, but maritime injury laws are a very specific and complex area of law.

Your best chance of a successful and favorable outcome is working with a lawyer who has obtained verdicts and/or settlements in cases similar to yours.  Look for lawyers who have testimonials or settlements related to The Jones Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), and the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA).

2. I live in Florida, can you handle my case?

Maritime injury lawyers often represent clients in other states than where their office is located.  Maritime workers may work along the coast or a river, or on an oil rig, but may live in other parts of the United States.  Furthermore, many maritime laws are applicable no matter what state you live in.

The goal is finding the maritime injury lawyer that is best for your situation.  Maritime Injury Guide, for example, works with clients across the country.  You can learn more about legal rights and options in your state by contacting Maritime Injury Guide.

3. Do you have a relationship with expert witnesses?

If the maritime injury lawyer you are considering has experience in maritime claims, he or she should have resources that can work for you.  Established and successful law firms have built relationships with expert witnesses in their practice areas.  For maritime injury cases, you need a lawyer who has relationships with maritime and medical experts.

Skilled expert witnesses can prove your case and provide valuable insight. In contrast, a lack of expert testimony can reduce your chances of success.

4. Will you be handling my case, or will it be passed to another lawyer?

For personal injury claims, it is very common for your case to be handled by a team of lawyers.  You may have one lead lawyer who works with associates or paralegals to manage different aspects of the case.  However, some law firms have many lawyers, and sometimes the case will move from one lawyer to another depending on caseload and experience.

Be upfront in asking a lawyer that you consult with if he or she will be working on your case.  If there are other lawyers or staff who will be involved, you can ask for their information or ask to meet them before making a decision.

5. What is your fee structure?

There is no question that filing a maritime lawsuit can be expensive.  There are legal fees for filing documents, paying salaries, and maintaining office expenses.  With this in mind, ask maritime injury lawyers you consult with what the fee structure is.  Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you are not responsible for any fees up front.

If the lawyer does not work on a contingency fee basis, find out upfront what fees you can expect.  Consider these factors:

  • What is the lawyer’s hourly rate?
  • What are the expected legal fees?
  • Are there fees related to trial?
  • What office fees will I be charged for?
  • Do I have to pay for medical or police reports?

Even though some fees seem small, they quickly add up.  Over time, these fees can top tens of thousands of dollars.  As a result, these fees can drastically reduce the amount you actually get.  Prepare by finding out about fees early on in the process.

Learn More from a Maritime Injury Lawyer

If you have questions about a potential maritime injury claim, contact Maritime Injury Guide.  We offer a team of maritime injury lawyers who can certainly answer your questions and find the best options for your potential claim.  Whether you work in the chilly waters of New York, the warm Gulf waters of Texas, or in one of California’s many ports, Maritime Injury Guide is here to help.

Request a free injury consultation with Maritime Injury Guide by calling toll free at 1-877-363-6148.  You can also reach us online via our contact form.

Texas Woman Sues After Cruise Ship Injury

cruise ship injury, slip and fall

A Harris County woman filed a petition in the Galveston County District Court demanding up to $1 million in damages for a cruise ship injury she suffered in May 2017.  The plaintiff in this matter, Michelle Wilson, is suing the operator of the ship on which she allegedly slipped and fell, the Jacks or Better 1.  The operator is a Florida-based company called Cruises to Nowhere, LLC.

The Case Against Cruises to Nowhere

Passengers on cruise ships who are injured while traveling have certain legal rights.  Specific maritime laws allow you to file suit against the party whose negligence you believe is responsible for your injuries.

Wilson claims in her suit that she suffered “severe and lasting” injuries when she fell on the cruise ship.  She says her fall was due to the slippery surface of a “hazardous” deck where she fell as she was walking to the vessel’s casino.  Her suit claims the surface was slippery because of both moisture and the absence of a non-slip coating.

She says her cruise ship injury could have been avoided by proper maintenance and inspection procedures.

According to Wilson, she was walking along that particular deck because the ship’s crew announced the ship had crossed to federal waters.   Cruises to Nowhere, LLC runs gambling-themed cruises on ships like the Jacks or Better 1.   Passengers must wait for the crew’s announcement that they have crossed into federal waters before engaging in any gambling in order to be in compliance with the law.  To begin gambling, passengers must walk from other areas of the ship into the ship’s casino.

Wilson’s mention of the timing is an implication that she had the express invitation of crew members to walk on that deck at that time.   Her suit also makes the allegation that crew members did not warn her about the slippery conditions where she would be walking.

Cruise Ship Injury Caused By Fall

Wilson claims her fall resulted in serious injuries including:

  • Pain
  • Impairment
  • Disfigurement
  • Mental anguish and decreased quality of life

With her lawsuit, Wilson is attempting to recover the cost of her medical bills and her lost income.   She says her injuries were so severe that they have affected her ability to earn income.

Neither Cruises to Nowhere, LLC or the crew of the Jacks or Better 1 have made any public statements about the lawsuit.  The crux of Wilson’s case against the cruise operator will be in proving the cruise line’s negligence.  Wilson alleges the floor where she fell did not have non-skid coating, but the burden of proof will be upon her and her legal team to prove the lack of non-slip measures constitutes negligence.

Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents on Cruise Ships

Slip and fall injuries are one of the most common cruise ship injuries among pleasure cruise passengers.  The proximity to water and the general bustle of a cruise facilitate conditions for a disastrous slip and fall.  Other causes of cruise ship injury due to slipping and falling include:

  • Surfaces that become slippery when wet
  • Walkway obstructions
  • Inadequate safety rails or handrails
  • Poor lighting
  • Missing non-slip paint or coating
  • Spills in walkways
  • Unexpected ledges or surfaces in passenger cabins

While aboard a ship, it is simply not possible for decks to be dry at all times, and sometimes passengers trip and fall without any prompting.  However, the majority of these common causes of slip and fall injuries are preventable.

With regard to wet decks, the crew members have a responsibility to mark slippery conditions and to warn passengers about them.  In short, they must do everything in their power to make sure no one falls and is hurt while aboard the ship.

What Kind of Injuries do Slips and Falls Cause?

Slipping and falling on dry land is serious enough, but slipping on the slick surface of a crowded cruise ship in motion can cause grievous injury when the person who slipped falls in unpredictable ways.  If you slip and fall while on a cruise, you may be vulnerable to a cruise ship injury, including:

  • Knee injuries
  • Sprained or broken ankle
  • Sprained or broken wrist
  • Head or brain injuries
  • Concussions
  • Torn ligaments
  • Neck and shoulder injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Spinal injury or paralysis

Most slip and fall injuries are fairly minor, but many do cause severe and life changing injuries.

What are My Rights if I Slip and Fall on a Cruise Ship?

Owners and operators of cruise ships have a responsibility to provide reasonably safe walking surfaces for both their passengers and the employees.  When safe conditions are not maintained, passengers and employees may have grounds to file a lawsuit.  Examples of these lawsuits include:

  • In 2011, a woman was awarded $2.9 million in a lawsuit against Carnival.  She suffered a devastating knee injury that required six surgeries after slipping and falling onboard the Carnival Pride.  Carnival admitted to using a resin surface on the pool deck, which had been previously reported to be slippery causing falls.
  • In another cruise ship injury lawsuit, a cruise ship cook successfully sued his employer after suffering paralysis of the lower half of his body after falling down a set of stairs.  It was determined that the stairs did not have a non-skid surface.

If you ever fall on a cruise ship, don’t assume it’s only an embarrassing accident.  It is possible the cruise line is liable for the conditions which led to your fall.  If so, you may be able to recover the costs associated with your injuries.

Liability and Cruise Ship Injury Claims

If you have questions about liability, ask yourself:

  • Was the deck wet?
  • Where did the water come from?
  • How long had it been there?
  • Was the floor surface slippery or did it have non-slip protections?

Though we all have a certain responsibility about where we place our feet, as a passenger or employee you have a right to expect safe walking surfaces on a cruise ship.  When injuries occur in a maritime setting, it is possible to seek a substantial award, as Ms.  Wilson has done, in order to recover costs of:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost income, including actual lost wages and lost earning potential
  • Medical devices
  • Medication
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation services
  • Mental suffering

The damages that you can pursue will depend on the facts of your case.  No two lawsuits are the same. Consequently, that is why it is important to work with a skilled maritime injury attorney to find the options that are best for you.

Have Questions About a Cruise Ship Injury?

If you have questions about a cruise ship injury, contact Maritime Injury Guide to speak with one of our maritime injury attorneys.  We can certainly help you understand your rights and determine if you have an actionable claim.  If so, you may be able to pursue substantial compensation for your cruise ship injury.

To get started, schedule a free injury consultation by calling 1-877-363-6148, or by filling out our online form.

 

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Could the Risk of Cruise Ship Injury Threaten the Future of Cruising in Europe?

cruise ship injury

Do the recent reports of cruise ship injury or illness have you re-thinking your summer plans? A recent cruise ship accident in Venice, Italy may be doing just that for tourists on the famed canals.  Last week, a massive cruise ship plowed into a riverboat and a concrete dock on a busy canal.

This accident follows a cruise accident in Hungary, which resulted in 10 deaths and at least a dozen missing persons.  These collisions have renewed interest in current regulations and restrictions on cruising in European cities.

The Crash in Venice

It seems unbelievable that towering cruise ships could wander the fabled canals of Venice, but it is true.  Relying on tugboats and advanced technology to guide the ships safely, passengers and Venetian residents marvel at the behemoth ships as they glide through the crowded canals of the ancient metropolis.

What may be a marvel of technology turned into a mistake, however, when a 65,500 ton cruise ship smashed into a small riverboat and then into a dock in the crowded Giudecca Canal.  The scene was chaotic with the massive ship, the MSC Opera, blaring its horn as the smaller riverboat attempted to maneuver to safety in the crowded waterway.  Unfortunately, those efforts seemed futile, and five people sustained  an undisclosed cruise ship injury.

Despite public outrage and an investigation by the Italian authorities, the cause of the cruise ship crash remains unknown.  Authorities are reviewing the information stored on the ship’s black box expecting to find evidence of technical malfunction.

After undergoing minor hull repairs, the MSC Opera resumed its itinerary just days after the crash.

The Deadly Crash in Budapest

Disturbing and horrifying in its own right, the crash in Venice seemed especially dramatic because only four days prior, a cruise ship on the Danube River in Budapest, Hungary caused an accident that killed 10 people and left another 18 missing.

The two accidents happening in such close succession highlighted the importance of safety regulations for cruise ships that navigate narrow metropolitan waterways such as the Venetian canals and the Danube in Budapest.  Both spots are popular and crowded tourist destinations where the risk of a cruise ship injury is high when things go wrong.

Cruise Ship Injury Risk Causes Concern Among Cruise Lines, Officials, and Lawmakers

There are some who say massive cruise ships like the Viking Sigyn in Budapest and the MSC Opera in Venice should not be allowed on the waterways in busy city centers.  Among those calling for a ban on cruise ships in cities are the mayors of both Budapest and Venice.

In Venice, opponents suggest restricting cruise ships to a terminal far outside the waters of the lagoon that flows into the canals.  This, of course, removes the charm for cruise ship passengers who surely must enjoy cruising through the canals of the historic city.  A terminal outside the city also presents a logistical problem to the cruise ship crew members who would have to figure out how to transport their passengers from the ship into the city.

Plans of this sort have stymied in bureaucratic struggles, with proponents of the cruising industry correctly pointing out that, by Italian law, passenger traffic must be separate from industrial and commercial traffic for the safety of the cruise ship passengers.  Not to mention, the canal path takes passengers past St.  Mark’s Square in Venice at the mouth of the Giudecca Canal, and cruise ship companies are reluctant to lose such a key attraction.

Adding to the outrage over the recent rash of cruise ship crashes, injuries, and related deaths, environmental campaigners are championing the cause of a total ban for cruise ships in the lagoon waters of Venice.

Environmental Concerns in Venice

Environmentalists are also concerned with the fragile ecosystem of the Venetian lagoon.  They say ocean-faring cruise ships:

  • Displace water
  • Wear down ancient building foundations
  • Cause air pollution
  • Damage the lagoon environment by dredging up mud

There has been a measurable degradation of the lagoon waters in the last century as they slowly change into more of a harbor or bay than the famous lagoon.  In the last 100 years, the canals that once stood at a mere 16 inches, are now five feet deep.

Consumer Demand Remains Despite the Risk of Cruise Ship Injury

Despite the reports of cruise ship injury, illness, or death, political posturing, and the unthinkable threat of the destruction of the priceless Venetian canals, public demand for pleasure cruising is undiminished.  Venice has twice the traffic of any other port in the Adriatic area.  The city is one of the most popular destinations in the world for cruise ships.

Last year, cruise ships:

  • Glided past St.  Mark’s Square or the Guidecca Canal 1,004 times
  • Carried more than 1.5 million passengers
  • Increased in both traffic and passenger numbers

In other cities where massive cruise ships meet a metropolis, pleasure cruise trips are also increasing.  In Budapest, having more than 100 cruise ships docked within the city is routine.  Overall, European markets have seen a 72 percent increase in cruise passenger numbers.

Experts predict the tragic crashes and reports of cruise ship injury in Venice and Budapest will not negatively impact the global demand for cruises.

Injury on a Cruise Ship: What are Your Rights?

No one expects to be injured while vacationing, but the reality is that accidents can happen anywhere, at anytime.  As far as a cruise ship injury, as long as it occurs onboard a ship and was caused by negligence, passengers can file a claim to hold the cruise line financially responsible.

Cruise lines may be held responsible for the costs of any illness or injury that passengers suffer due to hazards, unsafe environments, or negligence among operators or cruise staff.  Dramatic crashes like these are not the only situations in which it is possible to sue for a cruise ship injury.

Speak to a maritime injury attorney if you have experienced any of the following while aboard a cruise ship:

  • Food poisoning or foodborne illness
  • Legionnaires’ Disease
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Accidents on elevators and escalators
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Bedbug bites
  • Injuries from unsecured objects that fell from upper decks or overhead compartments
  • Fires

It is also possible to hold a cruise line responsible for any injury suffered while participating in activities sponsored by the cruise line.  This can be something of a gray area because it may not be obvious which company is sponsoring on-shore activities.

Get Help With a Cruise Ship Injury Claim

If you have experienced an injury or illness while on a cruise, seek the advice of an experienced maritime injury attorney.  If your injuries were related to negligence, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for your injuries and any related expenses.  Examples of negligence include:

  • Cruise staff leaving objects in walkways
  • Cruise staff failing to warn passengers about a danger or hazard
  • Ships operating in unsafe weather conditions
  • Improperly maintained furnishings or equipment
  • Improperly operated activities or equipment
  • Cruise ship operators not paying attention

These are only a few examples of how negligence can result in a cruise ship injury.  If you have suffered an injury in a similar circumstance, Call Maritime Injury Guide to request a free consultation with one of our legal professionals.  Call us at 877-363-6148, or contact us online.

 

Source:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/cruises/2019/06/04/venice-budapest-cruise-ship-crashes-renew-debate-safety-danube/1338126001/