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Negligent Security Seminar | March 2015

Florida personal injury lawyers



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    5 Most Common Cruise Ship Injuries

    Cruise ships are massive floating vessels more complex than the average boat. Some people call modern cruise ships floating cities. The largest cruise liners have retail stores, casinos, multiple restaurants, bars, nightclubs,  auditoriums, bumper cars, water parks, gyms, and other impressive facilities.

    The size and options on these ships make them an attractive draw for vacationers who want everything in one place. Every year, millions of people board cruises to see other parts of the work and enjoy themselves along the way.

    However, an unfortunate aspect of crowds and water and alcohol when mixed is the increased risk of injuries.

    Thousands of people have been injured on cruises. Sometimes, those injuries are fatal.

    People who go on cruises should recognize their vacations aren’t risk-free. In addition, when bad things happen, the cruise lines may be held liable for damages.

    If you or someone you know is hurt on a cruise ship, finding good legal support is often just as essential as getting medical attention. A qualified cruise ship personal injury lawyer will protect you and your family from financial harm and other related impacts.

    Here are five of the most common cruise ship injuries and how victims can win damages after the fact.

    Common Cruise Ship Accidents

    John Leighton is one of the country’s best cruise ship accident lawyers. Located in Florida, where most of the world’s cruises originate, the team at Leighton Law is in a prime position to monitor legal issues around cruise injuries and push for reform.

    At Leighton Law, we deal with various cruise ship accident claims, ranging from negligent security to slips and falls to sexual assault.

    What causes cruise ship accidents? By far, slip and fall injuries are the most common incident on cruises. 

    It’s no wonder. People drink, run, walk, and have fun on a ship with plenty of wet surfaces.

    In addition, the crew must sometimes navigate rough seas that make it hard for passengers to maintain their balance.

    As a result, injuries are relatively common. Five common cruise ship injuries include:

    • Broken Bones
    • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
    • Spinal Injuries
    • Trauma
    • Lacerations

    These are just some of the common injuries we see on cruise ships.

    Working with an experienced cruise ship personal injury lawyer will help you know what to do after an injury and how to seek damages.

    Other Types of Cruise Ship Personal Injury Claims

    Besides slip and fall injuries, some of the claims we bring include the following:

    • Assault
    • Sexual Assault
    • Drowning/near downing
    • Food Poisoning
    • Mechanical Failures that Lead to Injury
    • Shore Excursion Injuries
    • Staff Misconduct that Leads to Injury
    • Improper Medical Care Aboard a Ship

    Injury victims often feel like an accident aboard a cruise ship was an honest mistake. What they don’t realize, sometimes, is that operators, owners, and other cruise stakeholders are liable for damages as part of the customer-cruise contract.

    Winning damages often requires aggressive litigation due to the challenges of pursuing a cruise ship personal injury case.

    Cruise Ship Personal Injury Cases Are Complex

    Why are cruise ship personal injury cases often challenging?

    First, most cruise lines require that cases or claims must be brought in Miami because the city is their largest port. Miami is home to more cruise ships than anywhere else in the world. Millions fly or drive to Miami every year before boarding a ship.

    Second, cruises typically fly foreign flags to bypass United States laws. Old arcane industry regulations and the complicated legality around liability put limits on passenger rights.

    Finally, injury victims usually have only one year from the time of their injury. This short statute of limitations is designed to limit company liability because many people fail to file claims or understand the extent of injuries before it’s too late.

    Knowing this, what should victims do?

    Aggressive litigation is often the best course after a cruise ship injury. The right personal injury lawyer with experience dealing with cruise companies knows how to put travelers in the best position to win settlements and judgments. 

    Time is of the essence due to a short statute of limitations and a legal system designed to protect cruise ships and their operators.

    At Leighton Law, we aggressively represent victims and pursue their cases in Miami to hold liable parties accountable.

    Understanding Cruise Ship Injury Claims

    When is the cruise ship to blame for an injury?

    It’s essential that victims recognize that cruise ships and the staff have a duty of care toward passengers. They’re responsible for providing a safe environment free from risks of sexual assault, slip and fall injuries, drowning, etc.

    A failure to meet those responsibilities leaves them open to liability. In many cases, thankfully, nothing happens when a lifeguard leaves their post, or the cleaning staff fails to address wet areas around pools or in lobbies.

    However, injuries happen more than most people think.

    Companies must act to limit risks and warn people about potential hazards. When they don’t, and someone is injured, they should bear the costs.

    The history of injuries and the risks of traveling on cruises mean cruise operators are experts at limiting exposure. 

    For example, injury victims frequently report that cruise staff interview them or try to take recorded statements after an accident.

    Well-meaning people will mistakenly say that it was a freak accident or that they blame themselves. Statements like these and other mistakes related to inexperience can severely harm a cruise ship personal injury claim.

    What Should You Do After a Cruise Ship Injury?

    Quick action after a cruise ship injury increases your chances of winning compensation. Damages will cover essential costs like:

    • Lost income
    • Medical costs
    • Funeral expenses
    • Long-term rehabilitation
    • Physical therapy
    • Counseling
    • Pain and suffering
    • Mental Anguish
    • & Other expenses

    Here’s a basic overview of what you should do after an injury on a cruise ship.

    1. Ask for witness information. Cruises are typically crowded spaces, so several people will likely see what happened. Get their phone numbers, email addresses, and addresses. Your lawyer can contact them later to gather evidence for your case.
    2. Request names of relevant staff on duty at the time. For example, ask for information about lifeguards, cleaning staff, managers, etc.
    3. DO NOT give any written or recorded statement. When asked, simply say you’d rather not discuss it with anyone other than your lawyer. 
    4. Seek immediate medical attention in a major city as soon as possible.
    5. Maintain all records related to the accident and injury.
    6. Take photos and videos of the scene.
    7. Hire a lawyer specializing in cruise ship personal injury claims.

    Finding a Cruise Ship Personal Injury Lawyer

    Florida lawyers will likely be your best bet in any cruise ship accident claim. They’re close to where the industry is located and will probably have the most experience.

    In addition, only work with a law firm that specializes in representing cruise ship injury victims.

    Finally, hire a legal team with a track record of winning sizeable judgments and settlements for their clients.

    At Leighton Law, we’ve spent years fighting for our clients to hold irresponsible cruise ship staff, management, and owners responsible for injuries, wrongful death, and other incidents.

    Take a look at some of our recent successful cases.

    • We won a $275,000 verdict for a client who suffered a lifelong neck injury after a mooring line snapped and crashed through a window while he was eating in the ship’s dining room. The cruise line tried to deny the passenger was injured. We secured the medical evidence to document that the incident clearly caused his injuries. A jury awarded damages as a result.
    • Leighton Law successfully represented a 60-year-old woman who fell and fractured her hip on a shore excursion when an associated bus started to pull away before she was safely aboard. The cruise line settled for $210,000.
    • Our team helped an 87-year-old woman win a $190,000 settlement after she slipped and fell on a wet area between the restaurant and pool on a cruise ship. The wet area was caused by a leak, resulting in her hip fracturing.
    • Leighton Law recovered $140,000 for a woman who slipped and fell on a major cruise line ship. She was on a threshold and fell, suffering an arm fracture.
    • A woman on her honeymoon slipped and fell on a major cruise ship’s deck, resulting in a torn meniscus in her knee. The cruise ship claimed that no camera captured the fall despite extensive camera coverage aboard. Despite challenges, John Leighton recovered a $100,000 settlement for her injuries.

    Talk to Someone at Leighton Law!

    As you can see from the above cases, cruise ships will try to obfuscate the facts and deny liability in cases where there was a clear breach of their duty of care.

    The team at Leighton Law offers free consultations to help you decide whether you have a case and how to proceed.

    Get the compensation you deserve after an injury or wrongful death by aggressively pursuing litigation against those responsible.


    Article by:

    John Leighton

    A nationally-recognized trial lawyer who handles catastrophic injury and death cases. He manages Leighton Law, P.A. trial lawyers, with offices in Miami and Orlando, Florida. He is President of The National Crime Victim Bar Association, author of the 2-volume textbook,Litigating Premises Security Cases, and past Chairman of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America’s Motor Vehicle, Highway & Premises Liability Section. Having won some of the largest verdicts in Florida history, Mr. Leighton is listed inThe Best Lawyers in America (14 years), “Top Lawyers” in the South Florida Legal Guide (15 years), Top 100 Florida SuperLawyer™ and Florida SuperLawyers (14 years), “Orlando Legal Elite” by Orlando Style magazine, and FloridaTrend magazine “Florida Legal Elite


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