Monthly Archives: November 2012

Proudly Representing Cruise Ship Cases in Miami, Nearby Areas of Florida and Nationwide

No one knows what happened to Rebecca Coriam.  Her final moments were recorded last year as she talked on her phone aboard a Disney Cruise Lines cruise ship – where she was an employee.  After she walked out the the surveillance camera’s line of sight, she was never heard from again.

After learning of their daughter’s disappearance, Rebecca Coriam’s parents embarked on a journey to find their daughter.  After finding that Disney Cruises was not helpful, they turned to the government of the UK, their homeland.  To their surprise, the Coriams were told that there was little the UK government could do to help them, as the disappearance had occurred outside of the country’s jurisdiction.

Cruise ships have very few police officers, if any.  Complicated jurisdictional protocols can frustrate even the best police departments.  Add this to the fact that many cruise line crew are not trained in evidence collection or crime scene preservation, and it is easy to see why many people, such as Rebecca Coriam, go missing every year – without a trace.

Hickey Law Firm, P.A. – Miami Injury Attorneys handles cases of personal injury, cruise ship injury and sexual assault, and other personal injury cases.

We have been sounding the alarm for years about the dangers and abuses of the cruise industry.  Every once in a while a cruise story will make it to the headlines of the major news outlets, but by and large cases of cruise ship sexual assault, and even disappearance and death, are not well covered by the media.  But, injuries aboard cruise ships do frequently occur.  Take a look at the following video:

This video clearly shows a cruise ship in major trouble.  The ship is rocking violently in the seas.  Everything inside the ship, from people, to valuables, is in danger.  A cruise in stormy seas similar to this one actually left one man dead, and several others injured.

This is why we are here. At the Hickey Law Firm, P.A., we fight for your rights.  We fight to hold the cruise lines accountable.  In a world where there is 24/7 news coverage of even the smallest, most trivial, news events – it is a wonder that the cruise lines aren’t brought under a larger microscope.  We are here to bring that much needed focus.

 

Hickey Law Firm, P.A. – Miami Injury Attorneys handles cases of personal injury, cruise ship injury and sexual assault, and other personal injury cases.

So, you are taking a trip on a cruise line.  You think you have thought of everything – have you considered how will you call home to the U.S. while you are on the cruise?  There are several methods, such as using your cell phone or using the cruise ship’s phone – but there are better options.

First things first, do not use your cell phone to phone home if you can avoid it.  Most cell phone companies have horrible rates, even when you have the international calling package.  Rates over $1.50 per minute are not uncommon.  Also, you will almost certainly connect through roaming while on the cruise ship.  This will only further increase your cell phone bill.

Also, I do not recommend the ship’s on board phones.  These phones too can be very expensive – up to a couple of dollars per minute.  If this option is used – it would be best to make the call very brief.

Cruise ships often have internet access which, while it is not necessarily cheap, it is certainly cheaper than telephone calling.  The internet access comes in at about 40-80 cents per minute.  This is significantly cheaper than using a telephone.  The idea is to use a VoIP calling service – such as skype – to call your loved ones back home.  Skype to skype calls are free.  And, calling any U.S. phone number from skype is under 3 cent per minute.

 

Hickey Law Firm, P.A. – Miami Injury Attorneys handles cases of personal injury, cruise ship injury and sexual assault, and other personal injury cases.

Recently we brought you the story of David Bookbinder, who brought a claim against Thomson Cruises after an unusually early wake-up call. The man claimed this abrupt change in schedule was distressing to his elderly brother, ruining his vacation and putting an ailing man at risk. A judge in the United Kingdom dismissed Bookbinder’s case on November 14, stating that the cruise line did not owe Bookbinder a full refund of his ticket cost.

According to records, Thomson Cruises told passengers they should be ready to disembark the ship for a stop in Israel. The cruise line stated that this was to deal with long lines common in Israeli ports, but Bookbinder claimed it was an effort to sell more excursions.

Although the judge dismissed the claim, he did not order Bookbinder to pay the cruise line’s court costs, the judge stated that Bookbinder’s claim was not an unreasonable one to bring before the court. Ticketed passengers pay a great deal of money to take cruise ship vacations, and more and more are finding that these excursions come with risks and unwanted hassle.

If you have been the victim of poor treatment or suffered because of a cruise ship injury or accident, contact our Miami cruise ship attorneys today to learn more about your rights. You may also contact us at (800) 215-7117, and we offer free consultations.

In the wake of a record settlement of $4.5 billion between BP Oil and the U.S. Government, another oil rig has exploded in the Gulf of Mexico – killing at least one person.  This most recent oil rig explosion shines a new spotlight on the oil industry, while reminding the public of just how dangers Gulf oil exploration can be.

Yesterday, an oil rig operated by Black Elk Energy exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 1 person and injuring dozens others.  Published reports indicate that many of the injured have been airlifted to local hospitals in Louisiana for treatment.  There are currently 2 people reported missing as a result of the explosion.

The explosion was thought to have been caused by a contractor who may have cut the wrong line with a torch, but the exact reason for the explosion has not yet been determined.  It comes at a time of reflection for the oil industry, as oil giant has agreed to pay a $4.5 billion settlement to the government.  Many analysts have called this settlement a “down payment,” even as the sum itself it being hailed as a record setting settlement.

Hickey Law Firm, P.A. – Miami Injury Attorneys handles cases of personal injury, cruise ship injury and sexual assault, and other personal injury cases.

In 2006 the Star Princess cruise ship was badly burned during an on board fire.  The pictures in the video below show the extent of the damage:

On March 23, 2006 the Star Princess had been traveling from Jamaica to the Grand Cayman Island, when fire broke out at about 3:00 am.  Investigators believe that the  fire may have started as a result of a burning cigarette which had been left on a balcony, which was flammable because of its “polycarbonate partitions, polyurethane deck tiles, and the plastic furniture.”  79 cabins destroyed and a further 204 damaged in the flame, which put hundreds of lives at risk.

 

Hickey Law Firm, P.A. – Miami Injury Attorneys handles cases of personal injury, cruise ship injury and sexual assault, and other personal injury cases.

By now many of our readers know that we handle cruise line sexual assault cases.  Many people are surprised to learn that cruise line sexual assault and rapes are usually perpetrated by cruise line employees, not by other passengers.  Cruise ships operate in a complex legal status, where a ship can physically be in a country, while being “flagged” (registered) in another country, and populated by citizens of many countries around the world.   Perhaps this is the reason that many times the perpetrator of cruise ship sexual assaults walk free.

When a cruise ship passenger accuses another person of having sexually assaulted them, standard procedures should be followed to investigate the claim.  A rape kit should be performed, if possible.  The scene of the assault should be treated as a crime scene.  Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Victims of cruise ship sexual assault have alleged for years that cruise line personnel can be very unsympatheic when it comes to getting help.  There have even been reports that a rape hit was refused by the attending medical staff aboard the cruise ship.  Errors like these can have grave consequences when trying to bring the accused to justice.

There have also been numerous reports that the accused perpetrator has simply been forced off the ship at the nearest port after having been accused of committing a sexual assault.  This means no arrest, no trial.  It has even been reported that these same people will often then be hired by another cruise line.

Thankfully, there are many cases where the accused perpetrators have been brought to justice.  But, given the overall number of allegations, it seems that the cruise industry needs to do more to protect their passengers, and put sexual predators behind bars.

 

Hickey Law Firm, P.A. – Miami Injury Attorneys handles cases of personal injury, cruise ship injury and sexual assault, and other personal injury cases.

Former UK politician David Bookbinder recently took cruise, along with his brother, on Thomson Cruises .  At a planned stop in Israel, the pair were told that they would need to be present for a 5 am disembarking of the ship.  The brothers were apparently awakened at 3:30 am, causing severe “distress.”  Bookbinder has decided to sue the cruise line as a result of the distress of having to wake up early.

The 71 year old Bookbinder claims that the distress from having to wake up so early caused so much distress that the cruise was ruined for him and his 86 year old brother.  Bookbinder says that his brother is wheelchair bound and has other health problems.  Apparently this is was a contributing factor to the distress.

For their part, Thompson Cruises says that Israel has a very strict immigration policy, and that it was necessary to have the passengers wake up early in order to have them get ready to disembark the ship in time.  Bookbinder rejects this explanation, saying that there is a better way for the cruise line to handle the Israeli immigration procedures.

Bookbinder is suing for a full refund of the nearly $2500 price of the cruise, and to raise awareness to the practice which he feels is unjust.

 

 

Hickey Law Firm, P.A. – Miami Injury Attorneys handles cases of personal injury, cruise ship injury and sexual assault, and other personal injury cases.

A passenger on a cruise ship in the UK is suing Thomson Cruises for “distress” for treatment he believes caused him and his family unnecessary strain. The passenger, David Bookbinder, believes he and his family were treated poorly and inconsiderately on the cruise, ultimately putting his brother’s health and safety at risk.

Bookbinder and his brother, who is 86 years old, were traveling on the Mediterranean cruise when crewmembers announced to passengers that they had to be ready to depart the ship at 5 a.m. for their port stop in Eilat, Israel. According to Bookbinder, this meant he had to rouse his brother at 3:30 a.m. The experience was traumatic for the brother, Bookbinder states, as he has multiple health problems and is not accustomed to abrupt changes. He is suing the cruise line for the cost of their tickets for the seven-day cruise.

The cruise line states that Israel’s strict immigration policy necessitates the that passengers be ready to depart before dawn, so that there is enough time officials to question and search all passengers. Bookbinder claims the early time was so the cruise line could sell more excursions for the day.

Cruise lines have been accused many times for prioritizing scheduling and the opportunity to make money over the safety and well-being of their passengers. If you have suffered injury because of a cruise ship accident or incident, contact our Miami cruise ship attorneys today for information about your rights. You may also reach us by phone for a free consultation at (800) 215-7117.

Anyone who has lived in Florida for any amount of time will immediately recognize that boating is very much a part of the culture of the state.  Whether it be boating for leisure, such as on a sea doo or cigarette boat, fishing from a boat, or even traveling on a yacht, Florida has it all.  And, because of the extensive amount of water craft being used in all parts of the state, accidents do happen.  Jack Hickey is the very best among attorneys representing those who have suffered an injury while on the water.

Injuries on the water include not only boating accidents, but also assaults.  For example, suppose an employee of a yacht is assaulted while on the water or at sea.  Or, suppose a passenger is sexually assaulted on aboard a boat or yacht.  All of these situations could potentially fall under the domain of maritime law.  If you, or anyone you know, has suffered an assault or accident while on the water, contact us here at the Hickey Law Firm, P.A. immediately for a free consultation.

Hickey Law Firm, P.A. – Miami Injury Attorneys handles cases of personal injury, cruise ship injury and sexual assault, and other personal injury cases.

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