Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Tragic accident highlights hidden cruise ship danger

With winter nearly upon us, many people here in Pittsburgh are already busy planning their warm weather getaways, a much-needed opportunity to temporarily escape the gray skies, falling snow and cold temperatures. For some, this may simply mean buying plane tickets to visit relatives in a warmer southern destination, while for others it may mean planning a cruise to an exotic location.

Those planning to embark on such a cruise, however, will want to make note of one very important fact beforehand: cruise ships typically do not have lifeguards on duty at the many swimming pools located throughout their decks.

While this may not seem like an issue to many prospective passengers, it can -- and perhaps should -- be a big issue to those prospective passengers planning to bring their children along on their sea voyage.

To illustrate all that can potentially go wrong, consider a recent tragedy aboard the Carnival Victory, a cruise ship that houses just over 3,000 guests and over 1,000 staff members.

According to reports, a six-year-old boy was playing with his brother in one of the larger pools located midship on the last day of a four-day trip to the Caribbean earlier this month, when passengers suddenly discovered him floating in the pool. He was immediately pulled from the water, but rescuers were unable to save him with CPR.

It is worth noting that a month before this tragedy, a 41-year-old man had drowned in a hot tub located aboard the exact same ship.

All this of course, begs the question as to why cruise ship companies don't have lifeguards on duty given the sheer number of passengers taking trips each year.

According to legal experts, this fact makes it altogether foreseeable that drowning could occur and should create a duty to keep passengers safe.

"This involves the debate between personal responsibility and corporate responsibility," said one attorney. "Yes, parents should have responsibility for watching their children but at the same time cruise corporations have a duty to watch over the parents and children and provide a reasonably safe place for them to have a family vacation."

What are your thoughts on this issue? Do you think cruise lines should be obligated to have lifeguards on staff?

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a swimming pool accident here in Pennsylvania, consider speaking with an experienced attorney to learn more about how you may be able to hold them responsible via a premises liability lawsuit.

Source: The Huffington Post, "6-year-old, drowns in Carnival Cruise swimming pool," Suzette Laboy, Oct. 14, 2013

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Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.
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Pittsburgh, PA 15222

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