Negligent Security Seminar | March 2015

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Boating and Cruise Ship Accidents

Boating and cruise ship accidents occur frequently, especially in Florida. Florida is where most cruise ship accident cases must be brought because of the contract that is a part of almost every cruise ship ticket for passage.

Recreational boating accidents are quite common in Florida well. Residents and visitors alike are killed and injured as a result of water skiing, jet skiing, parasailing, pleasure boating, and many other kinds of boating activities. Each year dozens of people are killed in Florida by boating accidents in Florida alone, which leads the entire country. With over 1 million registered vessels in Florida, there were over 650 reported boating accidents resulting in injury, death or serious damage. It is estimated that there are another 350,000 non-registered boats using Florida’s waterways.

Virtually all boating accidents are preventable. The most common cause of these tragedies is operator inexperience or inattention. 84% of all boating fatalities that occur on boats happen where operators have not completed a boating safety education course. Our boat accident lawyers can help families who have lost loved ones from a boat crash or help recover substantial damages for people hurt while boating in Florida.

A troubling cause of these incidents is the rise in “BUI” – boating under the influence. It is estimated that 30% of all recreational boating deaths are caused by intoxication. Just like cars, it is a violation of law for operators of a vessel to be under the influence of any intoxicant – drug or alcohol – when they pilot a boat.

Known as the “cruise capital of the world,” the Port of Miami is home to more cruise ships than any other location. Carnival, Royal Caribbean, NCL, Celebrity, Crystal and several other lines port their largest cruise ships in Miami. By contract (read the “ticket for passage” issued by the cruise line) most cruise lines require that any case against them be brought in Miami. They also require that these cases be brought within one year, a very short statute of limitation (deadline).  You must act quickly to preserve your rights if you have been injured aboard a cruise ship or on a shore excursion while on a cruise.

Cruise ships are not merely large boats, they are virtual floating cities. These maritime hotels, however, lack fundamental safety policies, protocols, and procedures to protect passengers from harm. They generally fly foreign flags, so they do not have to comply with United States laws. Additionally, antiquated laws and contractual language limiting passenger rights and remedies put travelers in a precarious position and require aggressive litigation.

John Elliott Leighton is a cruise ship and boating accident lawyer based in Florida, with offices in Miami and Orlando, and has obtained substantial recoveries for the victims of boating accidents, including $1,325,000 for the family of a young woman killed by a drunk boater. This young college student’s life was cut short because of BUI – boating under the influence.  This tragedy was followed by a 6 year criminal prosecution of the boater, resulting in his imprisonment. A recent public service video was the subject of our blog, DRUNK BOATING KILLS PEOPLE…and families.

Mr. Leighton has also represented many cruise ship passengers injured while vacationing. In one case, Mr. Leighton won a $275,000 verdict against Norwegian Cruise Lines as a result of their negligence in handling the lines on the ship, one of which snapped and struck our client. In another boating case, Mr. Leighton obtained $1,160,000 as a result of a child who was killed on the water.

Most recently, Mr. Leighton represented the family of a man who was killed in Miami’s worst boating disaster in history. The catastrophe occurred on July 4, 2014, and took the lives of four people including the impaired boater operating one of the 3 boats involved.  Once again a tragic result from Boating Under the Influence.

Florida’s waterways are fraught with other boating hazards, including jet skis.  Leighton Law has represented many victims of injuries caused by or while on jet skis. These can be due to negligence by the jet ski operator, failure to properly train the user, or other vessels striking the jet ski or occupant.

Even seemingly safe venues, such as theme parks, can turn deadly. Whether injured in a boating accident in a river, ocean, or even a Sea World accident, Mr. Leighton can help. Again, time is of the essence as the statute of limitations for boating accidents is very narrow.

Leighton Law has obtained numerous substantial recoveries against cruise lines on behalf of cruise ship passengers for slips and falls, cruise staff misconduct, on board sexual assaults and shore excursion injuries.  We continue to aggressively litigate cases against the cruise lines, most of which require that suit be brought in Miami, Florida pursuant to the contract between the passenger and cruise line in the ticket for passage. We continue to work hard to be the very best cruise ship accident lawyers in Miami, with an emphasis on obtaining the very highest recoveries in these cases.

Click here for examples of our pending and finalized Florida boating accident cases.

Disclaimer: The information about past verdicts and settlements of the firm’s cases are based on the unique facts of each case. These amounts reflect the gross recovery in each case (before attorneys fees, expenses and medical costs are deducted). Although these results were obtained by our firm, they may not indicate the success or value of any other case as each case is unique. By clicking on Verdicts and Settlements you are acknowledging that every case is different and each case must be evaluated on its own merits. The information contained here has not been reviewed or approved by The Florida Bar.

Current

Video

John Leighton appears on CNN to comment on proposed parasailing safety regulations.

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John Leighton appears on NBC's "Today" show as part of his representation of the family of Amber May White, who was killed in a parasailing tragedy.

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John Leighton is featured on the cover of Attorney At Law magazine as its "Attorney of the Month".

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John Leighton's 2 volume book Litigating Premises Security Cases.

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