This is reason no. 4 in the series:Top 10 Reasons Not To Cruise
The primary reason our law firm is in business is because cruise lines mistreat cruise passengers after they have been seriously injured or victimized aboard a cruise ship.
Over 99% of our clients have never filed a lawsuit before, and probably over 50% of our clients don't like lawyers. Most people who have been injured during a cruise are looking for a friendly face on the cruise ship to talk to and discuss a solution to their predicament. The last thing a family from the middle-of-America who goes on a cruise wants to do is hire a lawyer in Miami to file a lawsuit for them. Only frustration and a lack of respect by the cruise line motivates hard-working-Americans far away from Miami to pick up the telephone and call me.
But we are contacted every day - every single day - by cruise passengers who have been seriously injured during cruises or who have been sexually assaulted. The one thing we hear time and time again is - "I can't believe that they treated me this way after I reported what happened!"
It is bad enough when a passenger is seriously injured and the cruise line treats them like dirt. We have seen this time after time. The cruise line refuses to release the passenger's medical records, or takes away their wheelchair or crutches at the gangway and tells them to hobble down to the terminal. Inevitably, once the injured passenger leaves the cruise ship, no one from the cruise line calls them to see how their ankle or hip surgery turned out. And if they do, the best you can expect for even the most serious case is an offer of a discount on a future cruise.
Once you file suit, prepare for the cruise line to attack you. The best example I can give you is a cruise line case highlighted in an article appearing in the National Law Journal entitled "Defense Team Found the Needle in the Haystack."
The article explains that eight elderly cruise passengers from Cunard's Queen Mary 2 visiting Tortola were seriously injured when the brakes of the excursion truck failed, causing the vehicle to crash in the side of a mountain.
Although the article explains that "odds were overwhelmingly against" the cruise line at the beginning, the cruise line defense lawyer successfully defended the case. The cruise line lawyer explained his strategy, saying "there's a saying that pigs get slaughtered * . . . If you make them look like they're greedy . . . that usually has an impact. So we tried to paint them as greedy, exaggerating, malingering." The tactic worked, as the jury decided against all of the cruise passengers and the cruise line won the case.
Its even worse when a passenger is a victim of a crime.
Once a passenger reports a crime, the cruise line's officers contacts the cruise line's corporate offices, usually in Miami, and then the cruise line's risk management and legal department go into overdrive. Incriminating evidence is not collected. The security officers on the cruise begin taking statements designed to protect the assailant crew member's legal interests and the cruise line's reputation. Everyone on the cruise ship begins to work against the victim, to look for ways to make certain that the victim's case never sees the light of day.
It is a dirty business. Cruise lines thrive on it.
When a victim files suit, it gets worse. Crime victims are treated like the injured, elderly Cunard passengers who the cruise line painted as "greedy pigs." One cruise line defense firm deposes victims in a large conference room in the entrance of the firm (photo left), filled with cruise ship models, with floor to ceiling glass walls but no curtains or blinds - while lawyers, paralegals, and secretaries walk by the conference room all day long, gawking inside.
Can you imagine if you were a rape victim forced to testify in the middle of such a glass bowl?
Yes, its rude, abusive, and demeaning. I would be embarrassed if a lawyer at my firm acted like this. But its exactly what the cruise lines want and expect.
The cruise lines treat their guests, once they are victimized, like criminals.
And cruise lines wonder why they have such bad reputations.
* Actually, the saying is "pigs get fed, but hogs get slaughtered . . ."
Tomorrow, we will discuss Reason No. 5 Not To Cruise: If You Are Retired Or A Child, The Cruise Line Considers Your Life Worthless
Photograph Maltzman Foreman P.A.