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Cruise lines may be liable for injuries, wrongful deaths

Every year, millions of Floridians and people from all over the country begin their cruises from one of our state's ports. Fortunately, most cruises are joyous experiences. However, these floating resorts can also present dangers.

Passengers have been injured and killed in a variety of ways on cruises. Wet decks can lead to slip-and-fall accidents that can be deadly, particularly for the older people who make up a significant portion of the cruising public. People sometimes fall overboard. Passengers have been sexually assaulted or attacked in other ways on cruise ships.

Day trips outside the ship can also present dangers. Tourists disembarking on an unfamiliar island free of pollution may succumb to sunstroke or other heat-related illnesses before they realize it.

Of course, most people are more aware of events that impact a large number of people on a ship, such as widespread viruses and fires, because they make the news. When vessels collide with something, overturn and/or sink, hundreds of people can be injured or killed.

The cruise lines and the crews on these ships are responsible for doing everything they can to ensure not just an enjoyable vacation for their passengers, but also a safe one. That includes providing a safe environment, appropriate security and qualified medical professionals. When a passenger suffers an injury or illness, the cruise line may be liable.

Usually, if a cruise ship departs from Florida, any lawsuit against the company needs to be filed in our state. Information on the statute of limitations for filing a suit and the jurisdiction where the suit needs to be filed is on the back of the tickets.

Our firm has experience handling claims for cruise ship injuries and wrongful deaths. We put together a team that includes medical and other professional experts to make the strongest possible case for our clients. Because we handle cases involving cruise ship injuries on a contingency fee basis, the client owes nothing unless we recover damages.

Cruise lines may try to appease a passenger who has suffered an illness or injury with a free ticket for another cruise when they rightfully owe them far more. Don't accept any offer without consulting us first.

Of course, we wish everyone happy sailing from our beautiful Florida ports. However, if something goes awry that could have been prevented by the cruise line, passengers can and should seek the maximum compensation.

Source: Freidin Brown, P.A., "Cruise Ship Injuries" Sep. 15, 2014

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