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Miami Attorney Brian M. Davis says Cruise Ship Litigation Comes Naturally

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Miami, FLMiami attorney, Brian M. Davis says his first step, no matter what kind of personal injury case he takes on, is to tell his client first to attend to their own well being. "I always hope that any client will make sure their personal well being is taken care of first," says Davis. "Then after things stabilize, then they can determine if there is a cause of action," he says.

Living in one of the world's most glamorous holiday destinations, Davis has over the years developed an expertise in a growing area of personal litigation; the cruise ship industry. Most settle out of court, with documents sealed to protect the identity of the tour operator.

Davis says the verdicts are usually are in the "five or six figure range."

"It is really not that much different than other premises liability cases," Davis says. "The issues just happen to occur on cruise ships, but they are similar to any resort, or hotel liability cases."

"There are 'slip and falls', negligent security, people getting assaulted, or raped, and any kind of injury that happens at a resort or hotel, will happen on cruise ships. Sometimes there is food poisoning," he says. "It is really anything you can imagine," Davis adds.

He has handled at least one hundred cruise ship personal injury cases over the last 19 years, including some of the more alarming types of incidents on cruise ships in the news in recent years. It has become apparent to him that people in holiday situations are vulnerable to unpleasant events.

"They are similar to resort premises liability where people are victims of crime when there is opportunity for those crimes to be committed," Davis says. "A lot of the time on cruise ships they don't have adequate security, they don't have guards patrolling late at night, especially where the rooms are. Opportunists will find ways to attack people and rob them or rape them, just like anywhere else."

Despite the fact that the cruise ship industry has been hit with litigation upon litigation, Davis says he has noticed very little change in their operations.

LAS: Has security on cruise ships improved due to recent incidents and subsequent litigation?
BD: I don't find it has. It is a business decision for the cruise ships, and the amount of security, the amount of effort, they put into taking care of passengers remains at the same level. They know the amount of risk they have, they know the amount of accidents that are going to happen, they know how much they are going to pay out on a yearly basis, and it makes more sense to them to pay those claims, rather than pump money into the whole system.

LAS: What should people on cruise ships do if they believe they have been the victims of a personal injury situation?
BD: I would never recommend that anyone calls his or her attorney 'ship to shore'. I would recommend they get the care they need while they are on the ship, and if they need to get off the ship, they should get off the ship to get the proper medical attention.

LAS: Should they collect names and addresses of potential witnesses on the ship?
BD:That's always helpful in any kind of legal situation. It will make things easier down the line. I have had cases where clients have taken photographs of dangerous conditions with their cell phones, and then downloaded their photographs when they got home. Those ended up being very helpful and compelling in future litigation.

Brian Davis attained his J.D. at the University of Florida (1990) and his undergrad degree at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts (1984). He's been practicing law in Florida and New York for 19 years. His practice is a trial and litigation practice.

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Reader Comments

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I guess this was absurd, if i ma the attorney, it is martyrdom and it sucks...

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