Maritime & Boating Accident
Lawyer News

September 13, 2016

Miami Beach WaveRunner Rental Company Sued for Violating Boating Safety Laws


WaveRunner-Accident-Miami.jpgOur Florida Board Certified Admiralty & Maritime lawyers have brought a lawsuit against a Miami Beach WaveRunner rental company for its violation of boating safety laws which contributed to our client's injuries. The complaint filed in Federal court alleges that our client was a part of a group of people who rented a yacht along with WaveRunners from the concessionaire. The concessionaire supplied the yacht captain. During the course of the day, the yacht passengers took turns operating the WaveRunners. Our client was given no training on how to properly operate the personal watercraft. The yacht captain had a practice of operating the yacht in close proximity to the people riding the WaveRunners. The yacht, given its size, produced a significant wake. While our client was operating the WaveRunner, the yacht gave off a wake that was parallel to the path our client was heading. Having little of no time to maneuver away from the wake, our client hit the wake causing him to be thrown into the air and land hard onto the personal watercraft.

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September 6, 2016

Royal Caribbean Sued by Passenger for Injuries Sustained in Zip Line Excursion


Degloving Injury Royal Caribbean Zip Line Accident.jpgThe cruise passenger injury lawyers of Brais Brais & Rusak have filed lawsuit on behalf of a Texas woman against Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and a Honduran shore excursion operator for injuries sustained while participating in a zip-line excursion offered, advertised and marketed by the cruise line on its website.

The Complaint alleges that on the morning of September 3, 2015, our client paid for and participated in a Royal Caribbean advertised zip lining excursion offered by MC Tours at Roatan, Honduras. While zip lining from one platform to the other, our client followed the safety briefing by crossing her legs and lifting them as high as she could. Court papers assert that because there was too much slack in the line, when our client reached the other platform she violently struck her legs on to the front of the platform suffering severe injuries. The platform consisted of essentially a sheet of unpadded wood. Upon impact, the exposed wooden platform ripped the skin off her lower legs leaving bone, tendons and muscle exposed. Our client had open wounds on both lower legs, soft tissue loss measuring 18 x 32 cm on the left leg and 14 x 7 cm on the right leg. She underwent 11 operations consisting of incision, debridement and drainage procedures with wound vac exchanges and eventually skin grafts from skin taken from her left thigh.

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August 19, 2016

Florida Key's Dive Company Sued for Crewmember's Wrongful Death


Florida-Keys-Dive-Lawsuit.jpgOur firm has filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the family of a Florida Key's dive boat crewmember who lost his life. On the night of November 15, 2015, the crewmember was serving as a deck hand aboard a dive boat while seventeen SCUBA divers were participating in a wreck dive. Court papers allege that at the end of the dive profile, four of the seventeen divers had not returned to the dive boat. The captain observed two of the divers approximately 300-400 feet away and the other two further down current. The crewmember entered the water to assist the divers back to the dive boat. He reached the first two divers and provided them a fixed line so they could be pulled back to the dive boat. He then continued to swim to the other two divers further down current -- now about a half mile from the dive boat. While the crewmember was swimming to the two remaining divers, the Captain retrieved the dive boat's anchor, stowed the deployed appurtenances. By the time the captain made way and maneuvered the dive boat to the crewmember, he was found floating unresponsive. He later perished leaving behind a wife and two minor children.

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July 18, 2016

Brais Brais Rusak Obtains 1.18 Million Dollar Verdict in a Jet Ski Collision Case


Jet-Ski-Accident-1.18-Million-Dollar-Verdict.jpgOur client Khalila Jenkins was enjoying Labor Day Weekend in Miami Beach in 2013 when she decided to go jet skiing with friends. The group rented the personal watercrafts and took off to ride in the area designated by the rental company. The rental company required the group as well as other people who rented personal watercrafts to remain in an area which was marked by floating markers. Ms. Jenkins was riding on the back of the Jet Ski while her friend operated the craft. Before long Ms. Jenkins noticed that some of the people were operating their jet skis in a reckless manner, playing games of chicken and trying to splash one another with the spray from the crafts' pump. Ms. Jenkins told her friend who was operating her jet ski to move away from those people which he did. While returning to shore, Tony Jakes of Nevada, t-boned the personal watercraft Ms. Jenkins' was riding at full speed. This collision caused a displaced fracture of Ms. Jenkins' left tibia and fibula before ejecting her into the water. Luckily, she was wearing a life jacket at the time. This, perhaps, saved her life.

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July 15, 2016

Celebrity Cruises Sued After Crewmember Drops Passenger


Celebrity-Crew-Drops-Passenger.jpgOur cruise ship personal injury attorneys have filed a lawsuit against Celebrity Cruises after one of its crewmembers dropped our client causing a part of her fibula to protrude from her ankle. The complaint filed in Miami Federal Court states that our client presented to the cruise ship's medical facility after twisting her ankle. The shipboard doctor took an x-ray and diagnosed our client as suffering acute distal fibula and bimalleolar closed fractures. The doctor decided to simply wrap the ankle with an ACE bandage and called for an attendant to wheel our client back to her cabin. The crewmember was unable to push the wheelchair through the door. He then decided to lift our client into his arms and carry our client into the cabin without calling for any assistance. In the process of carrying our client, he dropped her causing the closed fracture to become displaced with a portion of the fibula to stick through the skin.


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June 29, 2016

BBR Brings Lawsuit Against Owners of the Mega Yacht Solemates


Yacht_Solemates_Lawsuit.jpgBBR has been retained by a seafarer who was injured while working as a sous chef aboard the mega yacht Solemates. The seafarer alleges in a Florida lawsuit that she was ordered to lift an overhead hatch that was damaged and ill maintained. Given its condition, the hatch required an extraordinary amount of force to lift. While attempting to open the hatch open as ordered, the seafarer sustained a significant personal injuries including a C5/6 left posterolateral disc herniation causing compression on the left spinal court and posterior displacement of the left C7 nerve root. The complaint alleges that her employer was negligent, among other reasons, for failing to maintain or replace the hatch and that the Solemate was unseaworthy giving the poor condition of the hatch she was ordered to open. The Complaint also seeks damages for her employer's continued failure to pay for her medical care and treatment as required under the law.

June 2, 2016

Keith Brais Selected as Thomson Reuters' Super Lawyer


Keith Brais.jpgThomson Reuters' Super Lawyers has selected our managing partner Keith Brais as a 2016 inductee into Super Lawyers. This distinct honor is enjoyed by less than 5 percent of all attorneys. What is particularly impressive is that Keith has achieved this impressive credential for eight consecutive years. The objective of Super Lawyers "is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of outstanding attorneys that can be used as a resource for attorneys and consumers searching for legal counsel." In selecting attorneys for Super Lawyer, a rigorous multiphase process is utilized. Peer nominations and evaluations are combined with third party research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Selections are made on an annual, state-by-state basis.

Besides being named a Super Lawyer, Keith has been a Florida Board Certified Admiralty and Maritime attorney since 1996, AV Preeminent rated by Martindale Hubbell for several years, a repeat inductee into the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Society (achieved by <1% of all attorneys) and most recently selected by Florida Trend's magazine as a Legal Elite.

Keith's principal practice areas include catastrophic personal injuries and wrongful death claims involving cruise ship passengers, crewmembers, yacht guests & crew, resort vacationers and hotel guests with an emphasis in the fields of premises liability, negligent security and products liability. If you have been injured and would like to learn more about your legal rights, contact Keith or the other attorneys at Brais Brais Rusak.

June 23, 2015

Injured Louisiana Carnival Cruise Passenger Hires BBRC


Louisiana Cruise Injury Lawyer.pngThe cruise passenger injury lawyers of BBRC have been retained to represent a Louisiana woman who fell due to an unreasonably slippery deck aboard the Carnival Elation cruise ship. The slip and fall occurred on the ship's Lido deck. The accident, unfortunately, resulted in a rotator cuff tear requiring surgery.

Representing several cruise passengers throughout the years, we at BBRC have noticed several slip and falls on the Lido decks within Carnival's fleet. We believe the reason for these accidents is simple. Carnival Cruise Lines just does not properly maintain the non-skid properties of these decks. When the decks are first laid down, they may be reasonably safe. But after cruise upon cruise that sees thousands of people walking on the decks daily, these safety features break down leaving the decks smooth and slippery. This, combined with the inherent wetness from people leaving the nearby pools, is a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately, the paying passenger suffers from Carnival's negligence.

If you suffered a slip and fall on the Elation or any other Carnival cruise ship Lido deck and would like to learn more about your rights, feel free to contact our multiple Maritime Board Certified Attorneys for a free consultation. Remember, Carnival's cruise ticket requires you to provide special written notice of your claim within six months of your accident and requires you to bring a lawsuit in Miami Federal Court within one year. We at BBRC will be happy to walk you through your options and provide you with an honest and straightforward evaluation of your claim. You can contact us by clicking our on-line cruise injury intake form or calling us toll free at (800) 499-0551.

May 18, 2015

Disney Cruise Passenger Who Sustained Leg & Hip Injuries is Recuperating at South Carolina Hospital


South Carolina Cruise Injury.gifA 29-year-old passenger is in ta Charleston, South Carolina hospital after being airlifted off the Disney Magic cruise ship last Saturday. Reports state that in the early morning hours the cruise ship requested assistance from the Coast Guard when one of its passengers sustained injuries to his leg and hip. A Coast Guard MH-60 Dolphin helicopter crew randevued with the Disney Magic 45 miles off the South Carolina coast and airlifted the injured passenger to a hospital in Charleston where he received further treatment. No information has been releases as to how the passenger sustained his injuries. The man is said to be in stable condition.

February 21, 2015

Injured California Cruise Passenger Hires Brais Law


California Cruise Injury Attorney .gifAn injured passenger from California has retained our Miami cruise accident attorneys to bring a lawsuit against NCL. A complaint filed in federal court alleges that NCL was negligent in the way it organized and conducted its White Hot Party aboard the Norwegian Perl cruise ship. The White Hot Party is an event planned on nearly every NCL cruise. The event focuses on games, competitions and dancing. Court papers reveal that the passenger was encouraged by the crew to participate in a game where she was told to sit on a large balloon in the middle of the dance floor. It is alleged that the crew selected an area of the dance floor where there was no matting or cushioning. Unfortunately, the balloon popped sending our client to the hard ground. She hit the deck with such force that her Coccyx and Sacrum were fractured. If you were injured, or know anyone who was injured, during the balloon game at an NCL White Hot Party, we like to speak with you in order to serve our client.

February 16, 2015

Injured Texas Cruise Passenger Retains Brais Law Attorneys


Texas Cruise Injury Lawyer.jpgOur cruise injury lawyers have been retained to assist an injured Texas passenger in a claim against a cruise line. In a lawsuit filed in Federal Court, the passenger alleges he was injured when he slipped and fell on the lido deck. The slip and fall resulted in an alleged shoulder injury. Cruise lines are obligated under the law to provide a reasonably safe cruise ship for their passengers. This does not only mean cleaning transitory dangerous conditions like water or food from the deck, but also maintaining the deck's anti-skid properties so a passenger could be reasonably safe when walking across a wet deck. It is our experience that cruise ship decks, especially decks that receive heavy foot traffic like lido decks, are often times worn from use. The complaint alleges the cruise line fell below the reasonably safe standard for maintaining its decks. If you, or if you know of anyone who, slipped on a lido deck, we would like to talk to you so we could better assist our client.

January 25, 2015

New Cruise Crime Reporting Law Champions Openness, Clarity


New Cruise Saftey Law.jpgA new federal law passed earlier this month that requires the Department of Transportation to report crimes allegedly committed onboard a cruise ship. The new law is quite a departure from its predecessor, the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (hereinafter "Act"), which only made incident data available if the alleged crime was "no longer under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation."

Opponents of the law maintain it is not necessary, arguing that the major cruise lines began providing crime data on their respective websites in 2013. However, it is important to note that the data provided on these websites cannot be relied on as a representative figure insofar as the total number of crimes that occur aboard cruise vessels. Specifically, the major cruise lines only report incidents that meet the requirements of the Cruise Vessel and Safety Act, which limit reporting to incidents involving "homicide, suspicious death, a missing United States national, kidnapping, assault with serious bodily injury ... firing or tampering with the vessel, or theft of money or property in excess of $10,000." Thus, if a crew member stole something from a passenger not in excess of $10,000, then the cruise lines were not required to publicly disclose it. The above may be characterized as an illustration of the lobby efforts by the Cruise Lines to modify the Act in a way that only certain crimes require disclosure.

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January 25, 2015

Court Allows Punitive Damages Claim against NCL & NCL America in a Personal Injury Case


Miami Florida Court.jpgA Miami-Dade court this week has allowed Brais Brais & Rusak's client to bring a punitive damages claim against NCL and NCL America. In this case, our client suffered significant cervical and neurological injuries when she fell after being ordered to secure lounge chairs in near hurricane force winds.

Under maritime law, ship owners and seafarers' employers are required to provide seamen in their service with medical benefits for injuries manifesting during the course of employment. During the time the seamen are recuperating from their injuries, they are also entitled to be provided a stipend for daily living expenses. This is commonly referred to as the duty to provide maintenance and cure. Ship owners and employers, however, sometimes fail in their duty to provide such benefits. Fortunately, the law provides penalties for the inappropriate failure to provide medical treatment to injured seamen.

Florida's Third District Court of Appeal in NCL v. Zareno explains there is a three-tiered escalating scale of damages that may be assessed against ship owners and employers who fail to provide injured seamen with maintenance and cure benefits. The first category is known as the "reasonably denied" situation. Here, if the benefits were in fact owed, but reasonably denied, the ship owner and/or employer may only be held liable for the amount of maintenance and cure that was due and owing. The second category is the "unreasonably denied" situation. Here, if the benefits were unreasonably denied, meaning they refused to pay the benefits without a reasonable defense, the ship owner or employer becomes liable for not only the maintenance and cure due and owing, but also, compensatory damages. These compensatory damages are generally the pain and suffering the seaman endured because of the delay in providing benefits. The third category is the "callous indifference" situation. Here, if the denial of benefits is not only unreasonable, but the ship owner or employer has exhibited callousness and indifference to the seaman's plight, they become liable for punitive damages and attorney fees.

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January 18, 2015

Injured Minnesota Cruise Passenger Hires BBR Law Firm


Minnesota Cruise Injury Lawyer.pngThe cruise injury law firm of Brais Brais & Rusak filed a lawsuit against Royal Caribbean Curies for injuries sustained on a tour excursion. The Complaint filed in Federal Court alleges a Minnesota couple decided to take an East Asian cruise aboard the Mariner of the Seas in January of last year. As part of their vacation, they purchased an "Island Hopping" excursion to occur in Langkawi, Malaysia from Royal Caribbean.

On January 18, 2014, the couple reported to the Island Hopping excursion area which was within shouting distance of the cruise ship. They were directed onto a small boat which seated 10 people. The tour boat left the cruise pier and started across the bay. Upon leaving the sheltered harbor, it became obvious that the weather conditions in the bay were very poor for such a boat ride. The wind was blowing 20-30 kts and the wave height in the bay was in excess of three feet. It was a very rough and dangerous ride.

Leaving Wet Rice Island, matters got worse. The couple was one of the first people to get on the tour boat to return to the cruise ship pier. Once they got on the boat, the tour operator kept loading more and more people. Though the boat only seated 10, before setting out, the tour operator overloaded the boat with 13 people. All passengers on the tour boat were passengers from the Mariner of the Seas. Given it was a Malaysian holiday, there was no other way for the the couple to return from Wet Rice Island to the cruise ship. As such, they were forced to ride back on the overloaded tour boat.

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December 30, 2014

Injured Viking River Cruise Passenger Retains Brais Brais & Rusak Law Firm


Texas Cruise Injury Lawyer.gifThe cruise injury law firm of Brais Brais & Rusak has been retained to represent a Texas woman who was injured while on a Viking river cruise. The incident occurred when a rope was not properly secured causing the woman to trip and fall. This accident resulted in our client fracturing her arm near the elbow and fracturing her tooth.

Cruise lines are charged with the legal duty of exercising reasonable care for their passengers' safety. This includes placing warning cones and even cordoning office areas of the ship that pose unreasonable tripping hazards. When a passenger is hurt when a cruise lines fails to exercise reasonable care, that injured passenger is often times entitled to compensation for pain, disfigurement, medical expenses and lost wages.

Viking Cruises is headquartered in California and operates several river cruises throughout Europe, Asia and Egypt. The company specializes in river cruising. Though only formed in 1997, Viking has over 60 cruise ships.