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High seas adventure was nearly fatal for cruise passenger

After the Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster, investigators indicated that the inexperience and lack of preparedness of the crew may have contributed to the number of injuries among passengers as well as the death toll. One woman's experience on a different cruise raises similar questions about the crew's -- and its parent company's -- response in an emergency. The case also raises interesting dram shop law issues. To the best of our knowledge, the case has no direct ties to West Virginia.

The woman has filed a personal injury suit in federal court against the cruise line, the ship's doctors and two other employees. The complaint reads like a horror story.

The woman, her fiancé and a friend were on a cruise from Miami to Jamaica in October 2012. According to the complaint, the bartender at one of the ship's bars encouraged the plaintiff and her friends to drink Long Island iced teas. A Long Island iced tea contains four different kinds of liquor and has a reputation as a very strong cocktail. The plaintiff claims that the bartender pushed the group to drink and buy more Long Island iced teas, at some point enticing them with coupons to the ship's casino.

Soon, the plaintiff was intoxicated. She and her friend returned to their cabin. When she stepped onto the cabin balcony to get some fresh air, she lost her balance and fell over the rail. She fell two stories before hitting a life raft; the raft did not stop her fall, though, and she continued falling until she landed in the water. The drop from the balcony was more than 100 feet.

Though severely injured, the plaintiff was apparently not knocked out. She was able to swim and then to float until she was rescued.

The rescue, however, would not occur for another two hours. We'll continue this in our next post.

Source: Courthouse News Service, "Carnival Cruise Line Didn't Give a Damn, Woman Overboard Says," Marimer Matos, March 13, 2013

Our firm helps people injured in circumstances like the ones discussed in this post. If you would like to learn more about our Charleston, West Virginia, practice, please visit our website.

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