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Fort Lauderdale Passengers Should be Wary of Cruise Ship Accidents, Injury and Illness

International reports of the tragic Costa Concordia cruise ship wreck — and the shameful actions of the vessel’s captain — have not only sunk future cruise sales, but also the belief that a captain and crew will do everything possible to protect passengers.

Catastrophic cruise ship wrecks like the one that happened off the coast of Italy (in which 17 people died and another 15 are still missing) are extremely rare.
However, many other dangers lurk that could be a recipe for a Fort Lauderdale cruise ship accident resulting in serious illness or injury to passengers.

Our Fort Lauderdale cruise ship accident attorneys know that dozens of accidents and illnesses are reported on cruise ships each year. The actual numbers are likely much higher, as some of these instances may never be reported.

Customers who expect a carefree vacation may find the trip more resembles a nightmare. Cruise ships can sometimes be especially prone to infectious diseases, due to the close quarters for sleeping, dining and swimming. If the cruise ship staff doesn’t employ proper sanitation measures, passengers are even more at risk.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the Vessel Sanitation Program requires each ship to report the number of gastrointestinal illnesses found by the ship’s medical staff when it’s arriving in the U.S. from a foreign port. If that number is higher than 2 percent for passengers and crew, a separate notification is required.

An outbreak is classified as an illness that involves more than 100 passengers or more than 3 percent of the total number on board who have reported symptoms of diarrhea or some other stomach illness.

Of the 14 cruise liner outbreaks reported by the CDC last year, 10 involved the Norovirus, which is an infection that lasts several days and is characterized by diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Most people can recover without treatment, but for babies, the elderly and people with other underlying diseases, it can cause severe dehydration and illness.

The infection is highly contagious, and is usually spread by food or water that is contaminated with fecal matter during preparation.

Another two cases from last year involved cruise ship passengers who were sickened with E. coli, a bacterial infection caused by contaminated food or water. It can result in anything from cramps, diarrhea and vomiting to life-threatening kidney failure, particularly for children and the elderly.

In 2012, there have already been two cruise ship outbreaks reported.

In addition to illnesses, injuries can unfortunately occur on a cruise ship.

In the Costa Concordia case, more than 4,000 people were aboard when the ship crashed. The captain is reported to have abandoned the ship, leaving passengers to fend for their own survival. Recovery crews continue to search for bodies, while the captain remains under house arrest on charges of manslaughter and abandoning ship.

Perhaps a more common problem for cruise ship passengers is slip-and-fall accidents, particularly in cruise ship showers, or on slippery decks or walkways. A wet floor is dangerous enough. One that is moving can be even more treacherous.

Many of these illnesses and injuries are treated on board the ship by the cruise line’s medical staff, who are required to offer you reasonable treatment under the circumstances. However, some cruise lines will take liberties by interpreting the law in a very broad sense.

The Fort Lauderdale cruise ship accident attorneys at Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez, LLC have been successfully and aggressively representing victims and their families in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Margate, West Palm Beach, Hollywood and Ft. Pierce /Port St. Lucie for years. Email us or call us today to schedule a no-obligation appointment to discuss your case at 1-800-529-2368.

Additional Resources:

Outbreak Updates for International Cruise Ships, U.S. Centers for Disease Control

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