Have you been harmed during a cruise? You may be entitled to compensation. Contact Madison Law Group for your free consultation to see how we can help.
Taking a cruise from the Port of Long Beach is a popular activity for residents who live near the port, and it is an affordable way to vacation for anyone who wants to cruise to Mexico or Hawaii. Cruises are generally very safe and cruise ship accidents are rare. But when they do occur, they can be devastating for passengers and ship members alike.
If you’ve been in a cruise ship accident, you are entitled to recover compensation for injuries you sustained, your related pain and suffering, and other damages. You have the advantage to make sure the responsible parties are held liable when you have legal representation to investigate your case, file your claim, deal with the cruise line’s insurance company, and recover economic damages and other losses.
Cruises from Southern California
Southern California is a popular area to embark on cruises. The most popular destination is the Mexican Riviera, which represents a collective of 20 Mexican cities. There are typically five cities included on such a cruise: Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas, Ensenada, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta.
Los Angeles hosts many cruise lines: Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Crystal, Princess Cruises, and Celebrity Cruises. Because the Carnival Corporation owns several major cruise lines, it is very common for travelers to take some form of Carnival cruise.
The Long Beach port is an exclusive port for Carnival. In fact, most Carnival cruises on the West Coast operate out of Long Beach. Carnival Corporation owns and operates the Long Beach cruise terminal, which is one of the busiest in the country. Over 300 Carnival cruises depart each year, meaning one departs nearly every day.
What Cruise Ship Injuries Are Most Common?
Cruise ship accident victims sometimes experience fall accidents in which they go overboard. Accidental overboards can sometimes happen when passengers have had too much to drink and attempt stunts such as entering restricted areas, climbing from balcony to balcony, or climbing on top of railings.
Hypothermia, drowning, and deadly sharks are dangerous risks that come with falling overboard. As soon as a passenger falls overboard, cruise ship employees conduct a search and rescue.
Passengers also experience injuries while on a cruise ship through absolutely no fault of their own. Slips and falls as well as trips are the most common type of cruise ship accident. These accidents can happen on elevators and escalators as well as other locations. Injuries can be minor from bruises and scrapes to broken bones to head trauma.
Falling from an elevated height is another common cruise ship accident injury. These types of fall accidents can result in neck injuries, head injuries, and traumatic brain injuries.
Unfortunately, physical or sexual assault by cruise ship staff members is not unheard of on a cruise ship. Physical and emotional trauma can result from an attack like this.
Food poisoning can also occur whenever there are inadequate food safety protocols in place. Passengers who have gotten food poisoning experience gastrointestinal illness. Diarrhea, stomach pain or cramps, fever, nausea, and vomiting are symptoms of food poisoning.
Pools on cruise ships are another potential source of injury or death. Drownings can happen, and children are often victims when they do not have supervision from a lifeguard. Also, diving board collisions can happen, resulting in concussions, dislocated shoulders, sprained ankles, back and neck injuries.
Other activities sponsored by the cruise line can result in recreational accidents, such as scuba diving. Injuries vary depending on the activity and the type of accident.
If there are unsecured objects on the upper decks or overhead compartments, they are likely to fall and cause injury. They often cause head injuries which can be extremely traumatic and even life-altering.
Legionnaires’ Disease, also known as Pontiac Fever, is also an occurrence on cruise ships. It happens when water contaminated with bacteria is consumed or inhaled. Fever, chills, muscle spasms, headache, diarrhea, and pneumonia are symptoms of the disease.
Bedbug bites also pose a risk on cruise ships. A heavy infestation of bedbugs can result in the presence of bedbugs in the folds of curtains, between cushions, and in the seams of chairs and couches. Itchiness, loss of sleep, and small bite marks are symptoms of bedbug bites. Sometimes, excessive scratching of the skin results in a secondary skin infection.
We believe your cruise ship injuries should never go unheard of. To best recover your losses, it is best to contact one of the personal injury attorneys at Madison Law Group. We will fight for you to make sure the liable parties are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law, so you can recover compensation.
A maritime injury occurs when a maritime worker gets hurt while the ship is in U.S. navigable waters. Falls and drownings are the most common maritime accidents.
However, because of the nature of their work, maritime workers do not always experience the same injuries passengers do. Repetitive motion injuries, strains, injuries while completing dangerous tasks, toxic chemical injuries, and cruise ship fires and explosions are some accident risks that are unique to maritime workers.
Toxic chemical injuries result in poisoning. Symptoms of poisoning are headache, rashes, nausea and vomiting, chemical burns, disorders of the lungs, kidneys, or liver, nervous system disorders, and birth defects. Some toxic chemicals that may be on cruise ships are chlorine, benzene, ammonia, asbestos, and hydrogen sulfide.
Maritime workers do not qualify for traditional workers compensation. That doesn’t mean there aren’t legal alternatives for their injuries, however. If you are a maritime worker who has been injured on board, you may still have the right to seek compensation for your injuries. If you have suffered serious injuries, we strongly recommend you seek legal representation.
Madison Law Group is committed to doing all we can to help you obtain compensation in your case. We provide a free consultation to all potential clients as well as a 24-hour callback policy, so you can always stay informed and in communication with your cruise ship claim lawyer.
Causes of Cruise Ship Accidents
During peak cruise season, many cruises are filled to maximum capacity. Employees tend to work with no off days during this time, making both passengers and employees more vulnerable to illness and injury. Slips, trips, and falls on cruise ships are often caused by spillages and tripping hazards. Poor maintenance, poor lighting, and broken railings or ladders can also result in slips, trips, and falls.
Catastrophic accidents such as cruise ship collisions, groundings, or sinkings can be caused by poor visibility from adverse weather conditions. Mechanical problems can also result in the ship’s crew being unable to control the ship.
It’s important to remember that injuries that occur when an accident happens due to some form of negligence are entirely preventable. Had a particular party, such as the company that owns the cruise ship or a third party contractor, properly trained their staff and made sure the proper safety protocols were being met, many accidents and the ensuing injuries would not have happened.
Negligence by crew members or the cruise ship company continues to cause cruise ship accident injuries. Overexertion of staff members, improper safety gear for dangerous tasks, long hours, lack of sleep, and long voyages are common factors that contribute to injuries occurring on cruise ships.
Famous Examples of Cruise Ship Accidents
Overall, injuries on cruise ships are somewhat rare. So when major cruise ship accidents do happen, they make the news and sometimes, history. Two cruise ship accidents in particular affected a couple of the same cruise lines that depart from Southern California. While they did not result in any fatalities, they were disastrous nonetheless:
- The “Poop Cruise” on Carnival Triumph (2013): 4,000 passengers were on the ship, which was scheduled for a four-day cruise around Mexico. What was originally supposed to be a brief vacation turned into an extended disaster when a fire occurred in the engine room, which caused a power outage, and passengers were forced to collect their waste in bags and experience foul air below decks.
- The Celebrity Mercury Outbreak (2010): A norovirus outbreak on the 12-day cruise affected 446 people out of the ship’s 2,687 passengers. They suffered diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. As a result, the ship resorted to containment until it reached shore.
Representing Victims in Cruise Ship Accident Cases
The personal injury attorneys Madison Law Group are here to help the people of Long Beach and surrounding areas obtain compensation for people who were injured on cruise ships. Since 2000, we’ve dealt with a variety of personal injury claims for residents of the Long Beach area and around California. You can have an advocate to pursue damages for your injuries. All you have to do is contact us now for your free consultation.
Facts About Maritime Accidents and Cruise Ship Accidents
Not all maritime accidents or cruise ship accidents result in injuries. Some do however result in severe injuries and sometimes fatalities. Here are some statistics:
- The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) reported that between 2009 and 2019, cruise ships worldwide had 226 “operational incidents.”
- Propulsion problems account for 43% of all operational incidents reported during the same time period, making it the most common type of incident.
- Collisions, fires, groundings, and sinkings are other common types of operational incidents that occur on cruise ships.
- There were 10 cruise ship accidents reported in 2019, with 120 passengers and cruise ship employees injured in total.
- The 2012 grounding of the Costa Concordia, which resulted in 32 deaths, was the most high-profile cruise ship accident in recent years.
- According to the National Safety Council, compared to other modes of transportation, accidents on cruise ships are relatively rare.
- The rate of operational incidents per million passengers has significantly decreased over the past decade. According to The CLIA, it was .10 in 2019 compared to .38 in 2009.
Cruise Ship Accidents in California Waters
Following are some statistics regarding accidents on cruise ships that specifically occur off the coast of California:
- S. Coast Guard data shows that there were 94 incidents involving cruise ships in California waters.
- 52% of all cruise ship incidents in California waters involved medical emergencies.
- Mechanical problems, fires, and groundings are other common types of incidents on California cruise ships.
- The 2013 Carnival Triumph fire resulted in the ship being stranded off the coast of San Diego for several days, making it the most high-profile cruise ship accident in California.
- In 2019, there were a total of 12 passengers and cruise ship employees injured in four incidents involving cruise ships in California waters.
- No fatalities were reported in cruise ship incidents in California waters during that same year.
Maritime Workers Accident Statistics
Accidents can be both dangerous and common for maritime workers. Since they face a variety of hazards on the job, they are exposed to more risk for a longer period of time than passengers. Here are some statistics about maritime worker injuries:
- There are an estimated 2.3 million sea workers worldwide, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO).
- The International Maritime Organization (IMO) reported a total of 2,815 shipping accidents globally in 2019.
- 587 of those accidents resulted in injuries to crew members, and 41 resulted in fatalities.
- There were 83 fatal occupational injuries in the U.S. maritime industry in 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Overboard falls, accidents involving transportation equipment, and being struck by objects are the most common causes of maritime worker fatalities in the U.S.
- Fishing and seafood processing are among the most hazardous jobs in the U.S., according to a study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
- Maritime workers may not only face physical injury hazards but also hazards including long working hours, extreme weather conditions, and hazardous chemicals.
About Maritime Worker Injuries in California
Here are some facts unique to maritime worker injuries that occur in California:
- There were 7 fatal occupational injuries in the maritime industry in California in 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- There were also 51 non-fatal injuries reported in the California maritime industry that same year.
- The most common causes of maritime worker fatalities in California include transportation accidents and overboard falls.
- Marine cargo handling, commercial fishing, and shipbuilding and repair are the most hazardous jobs in the California maritime industry.
- Several programs have been implemented in California to improve maritime industry safety, such as the Maritime Safety Program. It oversees sea vessel inspections and environmental protection measures.
- Another maritime safety program is the Harbor Safety Committee, which promotes safe navigation and sea vessel traffic management.
- The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) issued over 300 citations to maritime industry employers for safety violations in 2019.
Compared to other industries, the number of maritime worker accidents in California is relatively low. However, that does not make them any less catastrophic when they do happen.
Employers at cruise companies need to do their part and take steps to support their employees’ safety. Such steps can include providing proper training, ensuring staff members have access to safety equipment for dangerous tasks, requiring adequate rest breaks, and following all relevant regulations and standards.
If you work on a cruise ship and you suffered injuries suffered as a result of an accident on the job, you have the right to file a maritime personal injury claim. We can legally represent you with the experience, commitment, compassion, and resources you need to get fairly compensated for your losses.
The law regarding maritime accidents is unique. Maritime law, also known as admiralty law, is the body of law that governs what occurs in the ocean and navigational waters.
These laws apply whenever there are issues of trade and commerce, criminal matters, or personal injury claims by passengers or cruise ship employees. Federal laws on land are somewhat different than those at sea.
U.S. federal courts maintain original jurisdiction over maritime matters, and Congress regulates maritime law according to the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The Judiciary Act of 1789 and Article III, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution are the source of this power.
Maritime law is specific to each country, not the body of water the sea vessel is in at any given time. Hence, the flag the ship is flying under determines the law on a cruise ship.
Cruise ship law follows the federal laws of that country, but local laws also apply to enforce security zones in the port the ship departs from. For example, San Diego federal statutes apply when the ship departs from the Port of San Diego.
Also, every cruise line has its own set of rules. When you go on a cruise, you agree to their terms. These terms are stated on the back of your cruise ticket.
For example, you may have to accept illness-related risks. There are also unique time frames and locations for filing a lawsuit against a cruise line.
Because maritime law is complicated, injury claims are handled on a case-by-case basis. It is vitally important for you to have a reputable lawyer on your side who is familiar with maritime law, federal laws, and local laws.
Our personal injury attorneys are fully prepared to navigate the legal system to your benefit. We do all we can to represent each and every injury victim according to the circumstances of their case.
United Nations International Treaties
There are additional maritime laws when a sea vessel is in international waters. For this reason, there are international treaties.
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, also known as the Law of the Sea Treaty or Law of the Sea Convention, was adopted in 1982. It contains rules governing all marine and maritime activities. That includes the high seas, which represent the ocean water column beyond the boundaries of the country.
There are certain maritime zones under international law. They determine the boundaries of oceans or seas and hence, whether a ship is subject to national or international authority.
As you can see, the laws governing what happens on a cruise ship can get extremely complicated. It is best to consult with your local Long Beach cruise ship claim lawyer to be sure that you understand your legal rights if you were injured on a cruise ship, either as a passenger or a member of staff.
Maritime Workers’ Rights
Maritime law has some differences compared to United States federal law, but it doesn’t mean maritime workers cannot protect their rights like any other worker. There are a variety of laws and regulations that are in place to help ensure their safety on the job and entitle them to well-being and support, including workers compensation. Some of the key rights that maritime workers have are as follows:
- Right to a safe workplace: Maritime workers are entitled to have a safe workplace that is free from recognized hazards that can cause a serious cruise ship injury or wrongful death.
- Right to maintenance and cure: A maritime worker has the right to maintenance and cure benefits to cover their medical treatment and basic living expenses until they are fit to return to work, should they be injured or become ill while working on a sea vessel.
- Right to protection against discrimination: Maritime workers are protected against discrimination based on factors such as gender, race, age, and religion.
- Right to join a union: Maritime workers have the right to join a union and engage in collective bargaining to negotiate better working conditions, wages, and benefits.
- Right to whistleblower protection: A maritime worker is protected against retaliation from their employer if they report safety violations or other illegal activities on the job.
- Right to rest and meal breaks: Maritime workers have the right to rest and to take meal breaks to ensure they are well-rested and alert on the job, including a minimum number of hours off duty each day.
Maritime workers’ rights are designed to ensure that they are treated fairly to prioritize their well-being and safety on the job. Injured workers should consult with an experienced attorney to discuss their legal options.
Madison Law Group has been helping maritime accident victims in Long Beach seek compensation since the firm was established in 2000. If you’ve been injured in a maritime accident and need legal representation, we can offer you a free initial consultation to help you determine if you have a valid case.
The Jones Act allows maritime workers injured on the job to sue their employer directly for compensation. According to the International Risk Management Institute, an injured worker may still have legal options to sue even if the accident was due to their own actions. It is best to consult with a cruise ship claim lawyer to be sure of how these laws apply to your unique case.
California Maritime Accident Liability
Establishing liability is important for cruise ship accident cases, as with all personal injury claims. Generally speaking, you must be able to show with evidence that the negligence on the part of the defendant, which could be the cruise ship company, was the cause of the accident that resulted in your injuries.
Who is Responsible for a Maritime Accident?
Any of the following parties may be held liable for an accident that occurs on a cruise ship:
- Cruise ship company
- Individual passengers
- Individual staff members
- A property maintenance and/or security company
- The cruise operator
- Third party contractors aboard the ship
There are many other possible liable parties in a cruise ship accident. Each case is different, so the liable parties in yours will be determined after gathering evidence and speaking to witnesses.
It is not always easy to establish exactly who is responsible for serious injuries on a cruise ship. Sometimes, multiple parties may be held liable, which could potentially increase your ability to receive compensation.
Your greatest chance of success for your case, as with all personal injury claims, lies with consulting an experienced attorney. We at the Madison Law Group are experienced with cruise ship injury cases, and we are prepared to help immediately. Meet with us for a free consultation first, and we will start on your case right away.
How is Liability Determined?
Liability in California cruise ship accidents is determined through comparative negligence. Federal laws and local laws surrounding negligence hold responsible the party that neglected their duty of care. Adding in the doctrine of comparative negligence, liability applies when the responsible party is 51% or more at fault. The victim then receives compensation based on their percentage of fault, as long as they are 50% or less liable.
Dealing with a Cruise Ship Company’s Insurance Company
Cruise ship accident victims often receive medical treatment for injuries or illness, miss work to recover, and have to pay seemingly endless medical bills. It is during this time that they are most vulnerable to cruise line insurance company tactics that promise a quick payout, but beware: these initial offers are usually not enough to cover all of your actual damages.
The way to remedy this is to seek out a Long Beach cruise ship claim lawyer. Once you hire an attorney at Madison Law Group, the insurance company will know you are taking your claim very seriously and won’t be accepting any unreasonably low offers. Your attorney will also know how to properly calculate the full scope of your damages, including any future medical bills or anticipated loss of earning capacity, to ensure you get paid the maximum allowable by law.
What Can I Recover in Damages from a Cruise Ship Accident?
Injured cruise passengers or ship employees may recover both economic damages and non-economic damages, including the following:
- Medical bills
- Out-of-pocket medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Diminished earning capacity
- Pain and suffering for injuries sustained
- Diminished quality of life due to serious injuries
- Future medical costs
- Mental anguish
How Long Do I Have to File My California Cruise Ship Claim?
The statute of limitations, or time limit, for filing a cruise ship claim is different from that for filing other types of personal injury claims. In California, you are required to give written notice of your claim within six months of your injury.
The next step is filing your lawsuit. You must do so within one year in the designated court that was specified on your cruise ticket. One of the Long Beach cruise ship claim attorneys at Madison Law Group can help you accomplish both steps thoroughly and by the deadline. Just make sure you reach out to our office as soon as possible after your injuries occur.
What If a Wrongful Death Occurs During a Cruise Ship Accident?
The statute of limitations to file a claim for a wrongful death that occurred during a cruise ship accident in California is generally one year. If your family member died as a result of negligence on a cruise ship, you can recover compensation that is unique to a wrongful death claim. Your attorney can help you file the correct type of claim. Only certain family members are allowed by law to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of a deceased person, so your attorney can help your family determine who should actually file the lawsuit.
Consult with an Experienced Long Beach Maritime Lawyer
Vacation injuries are the last thing anyone wants, but they do happen. If you were injured in a maritime accident or cruise ship accident, you need immediate and careful handling of your case to recover compensation that is fair. You deserve an experienced attorney who is knowledgeable and thorough, so you can have a proper investigation of your injuries and the circumstances of your accident.
Our law firm services residents of Long Beach, and we operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning we don’t collect any upfront fees from our clients. We only get paid when we obtain compensation in your case. You will never be asked to pay a retainer or to pay for the various costs associated with your case until we get it resolved.