Frequently Asked Questions
- Is it more expensive for me to hire a firm like your firm that has so much experience in maritime, personal injury and wrongful death cases?
- If the company is speaking with me and appears to be interested in taking care of my claim, why should I hire a maritime, personal injury and wrongful death attorney?
- Is the fact that I got hurt on the job mean for sure that I am entitled to compensation for my injuries like Worker’s Compensation laws?
- What are important factors in your opinion to consider when choosing a maritime, personal injury and wrongful death attorney?
- What type of questions should I ask before deciding which maritime, personal injury and wrongful death attorney to hire?
- What are the common defenses the cruise line likes to assert in a cruise ship case?
- What is the standard of care that a cruise ship company owes to its passengers during a cruise?
- Where do most of the lawsuits against cruise ship companies have to be filed?
- The cruise ship company has my medical records when I was treated onboard the ship and also a statement they took from me regarding how my accident happened. Will you be able to get those medical records and my statement?
Answer: No, we work on a contingency fee basis, which means we charge the standard percentages pursuant to contracts approved by our Florida bar. If we do not recover money for you, we do not get paid.
Answer: It is always better to have someone with knowledge of the area you are discussing help you. It is the same as buying or selling a house, or entering into a contract. If you are not experienced with the issues, you can make mistakes and be taken advantage of. The cruise lines hire experienced claims representatives to talk with you and try to resolve cases before you hire an experienced attorney. They are trained to be friendly and appear to want to help you. However, they work for the cruise ship company and are very experienced with the legal aspects of your claims. They have a big advantage. By hiring an experienced maritime attorney you can feel more secure that your rights are being properly protected.
Answer: If you are crewmember hurt on the job, you are likely entitled to what is called maintenance and cure benefits. In order to receive further benefits, such as damages for pain and suffering and disability, an experienced maritime attorney will have to review your situation to determine if there is legal liability beyond maintenance and cure. You may be entitled to damages for pain, suffering, disability, lost income, mental anguish and inability to lead a normal life. However, these damages are not automatic, and a maritime attorney will be able to evaluate your rights to such damages.
Answer: We believe that in addition to the experience of the attorney, that you should find out if the attorney you are hiring is actually the attorney who will handle your case. There are other attorneys who spend their time advertising their services and the fact that they have handled many maritime claims. However, often times, theses attorneys actually do not handle the case. They associate another attorney to handle the case. At RPM, all three of our attorneys have over 27 years of experience. You will get one of the partners to handle your case. We do not have associates nor will we need to associate co-counsel to handle your maritime case. This is a very important factor. In addition we believe the fact that Mr. Rivkind was an attorney representing cruise lines for several years early in his career provides an additional advantage in litigation against the cruise lines. This type of experience is also an important factor to consider.
Answer: Ask who the attorney is that will actually do the work on your case. Talk to him. Make sure you are comfortable with him. If you can’t meet in person, try to do a video conference over the phone. You should ask the attorney why he feels he is the right lawyer for you. Ask him if he has experience on the defense side as well as the plaintiff’s side. Ask how many years experience the other attorneys in the office have. Ask if your case might be handled by an associate in the firm or another attorney that you have not considered when reviewing a website or any other type of media advertisements.
Answer: There are many. Usually in a lawsuit we see 20 or more affirmative defenses asserted. An experienced maritime attorney will be able to determine which defenses are of concern, and the best ways to combat them.
Answer: Under Maritime law, any owner of a ship that is in navigable waters owes its passengers a duty of reasonable care under the circumstances. A failure to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances is negligence and a breach of the duty of care owed to the passengers. Each case will present its own set of facts, and there will have to be proof that there was a breach of this standard of care. The reasonable care under the standard required of owners of ships, including cruise ship companies, requires that the cruise ship company has actual or constructive notice of the condition a passenger is claiming was unsafe that caused an injury. Notice does not have to be proved if the cruise ship company actually created the alleged dangerous condition. However, if the dangerous condition is something the company did not create than the standard of care owed is not violated unless the cruise ship company had actual or constructive notice of the condition creating the risk of injury. The care required can be heightened and more is required when the hazard is one unique to sea travel and not a hazard typically encountered on land. Our experienced maritime attorneys have analyzed thousands of claims by injured passengers, and often utilize maritime experts to assist in proving a violation of the standard of care required of a reasonably careful and prudent ship operator.
Answer: Most of passenger tickets are requiring suit to be filed where the cruise ship company is based. Most of the major cruise lines are based in Miami, and suit typically must be brought in Miami in the federal district court. However other cruise lines not based in Miami have other requirements. The key is to have an experienced maritime attorney who knows about the provisions in the tickets and the legal enforceability of such provisions.
9. The cruise ship company has my medical records when I was treated onboard the ship and also a statement they took from me regarding how my accident happened. Will you be able to get those medical records and my statement?
Answer: You have a legal right to your records and any statements you provided. An experienced maritime attorney will know not only how to get you those records but other important records the cruise lines maintains that will contain material information for your claims.