Miami Attorney for Victims of Rape & Sexual Assault on a Cruise Ship

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    Miami Attorney for Victims of Rape & Sexual Assault on a Cruise Ship

    People go on cruises to have fun and enjoy themselves. An unfortunate number of people each year see their trips turn traumatizing after passengers, crew, or staff violate their rights and personal safety by committing sexual assaults or rape on board. When this happens, victims can seek compensation via a lawsuit.

    Rape and sexual assaults are some of the top causes of injury among passengers and crew members of cruise ships in Miami. When these terrible events occur, victims can often sue the cruise line and the individual assailant for their damages. Do not assume that your case will be filed in Miami, as the jurisdiction might vary, depending on the cruise line and where the incident occurred. Common evidence used in these claims includes medical records, eyewitness statements, and surveillance footage. Do not hesitate to report your sexual assault to law enforcement or get medical attention for your injuries. By suing an assailant or cruise line in court, you can recover compensation for economic damages as well as pain and suffering.

    When you call Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. at (305) 204-5369, you can schedule a free and confidential case review with our Miami attorneys for victims of rape and sexual assault on a cruise ship.

    Prevalence of Rape and Sexual Assault on Cruise Ships in Miami

    Unfortunately, instances of rape and other sexual assaults aboard cruise ships are relatively common. Although American cruise lines are required to report information on such incidents to the U.S. Department of Transportation, not all sexual assaults are properly documented.

    According to data compiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation, there were 87 reported instances of sexual violence across various cruise lines in 2022. Most often, passengers are the victims of such assaults. Crew members might also be sexually assaulted while aboard these vessels. Generally, crew members, passengers, and other individuals who are not affiliated with a cruise line are the perpetrators of such acts of sexual violence.

    While the U.S. Department of Transportation requires American cruise lines to submit information about sexual assaults and other similar incidents on a quarterly basis per the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act, this does not always happen. One reason is that not all sexual assaults that happen on cruises are reported to staff. Another reason is that broadcasting the lack of safety that leads to sexual assaults on cruise ships might make specific cruise lines less appealing to prospective passengers. So, some cruise lines might underreport sexual assaults.

    A contributing factor to sexual assaults on cruises is the isolated nature of these vessels. Sexual assaults may be more common on ships owned by cruise lines that fail to run background checks on crew members or take reports of similar acts of violence seriously.

    If you were sexually assaulted while aboard a cruise in Miami or elsewhere, it is important that you report the incident to the cruise ship and local authorities. Then, inform our attorneys for victims of rape and sexual assault on a cruise ship so that we can begin investigating your case. Most likely, you can file a lawsuit to recover compensation for damages caused by an act of sexual violence.

    Suing a Cruise Ship in Florida for Sexual Assault

    Victims of violence or sexual assault on cruises are typically under maritime law during their trips. This means that instead of having your case governed by the laws of Florida or your home state, your case will typically be handled under federal laws that govern American ships anywhere in American waters and on the high seas. These laws give victims the right to take their abusers to court, but they typically work a bit differently than other laws.

    Generally speaking, you always have the right to sue someone who intentionally harmed you, but the process and manner in which you sue might change. For injuries sustained during a cruise, victims can usually sue the party who directly harmed them. This means that if you were assaulted by another passenger, you can sue that passenger. Similarly, if you were assaulted by a cruise worker, crew member, or staff member, you can sue them – and potentially their employer – for the abuse you suffered.

    The cruise line, the ship captain, the staff, and other parties are often responsible for the events that happen aboard a ship. You can typically sue the cruise ship company for violence or negligence committed by its employees. This means that you can take the individual assailant and the cruise liner to court if you were assaulted by an employee. However, you may also be able to take them to court if you were assaulted by another passenger. The cruise ship, its captain, and its crew may be responsible for keeping you safe by providing security and other safety measures on board the ship. These failures could mean the cruise line shares responsibility for what happened to you and can be taken to court for its contributions to your injuries.

    Where to Sue for Cruise Ship Injuries and Sexual Assault

    Cruise ships are generally sued in federal court in the state where their home port is located. Determining the proper jurisdiction for your claim is important so that you can file your lawsuit as soon as possible following a sexual assault.

    Most cruise ships in the United States operate out of Florida, which means that our Miami maritime attorneys are perfectly situated to handle your case. Many cruise lines also use contractual language in their tickets to govern where any lawsuits must take place, placing many of the cases under the jurisdiction of Florida instead of federal court.

    Suing in Florida may mean that you have to travel to handle your case. Our attorneys can help communicate with you and work with you if you have to travel or handle your case remotely throughout much of the process.

    Filing Deadline for Cruise Ship Sexual Assault Lawsuits in Miami

    Depending on where a sexual assault took place, victims might be beholden to different filing deadlines. It is important to identify which statute of limitations applies to your case so that you can properly hold a defendant accountable.

    If the jurisdiction for your sexual assault lawsuit is Miami, and you were sexually assaulted as a cruise ship passenger as an adult, you will have four years to bring your claim. In cases involving child victims, the statute of limitations is generally longer.

    Some cruise ships put caveats in the fine print of passenger tickets, requiring passengers to bring lawsuits in specific jurisdictions. So, even if you were assaulted off the coast of Miami, you might have to file your claim in another state if you are suing the cruise ship for damages. This could mean that you have a shorter filing deadline than you initially anticipated. Similarly, if you have to bring your claim to federal court because of the location of the sexual assault, the statute of limitations might also change.

    Because of this, it is important to consult with our attorneys for victims of sexual assault and rape on a cruise ship immediately so that you can ascertain the jurisdiction of your claim and the proper filing deadline. If you fail to bring your case before the clock runs out, you will be unable to file a civil action against a cruise line or an individual assailant in Miami.

    Evidence in Miami Cruise Ship Rape and Sexual Assault Claims

    To prove liability for a sexual assault, you will need to provide evidence of fault. While the availability of some types of evidence is out of victims’ hands, there are some things victims can do to ensure certain evidence of sexual violence exists.

    Incident Reports

    Victims can start by reporting a sexual assault. While reporting can be understandably challenging for survivors of sexual violence, it is important to establish that an attack occurred and that you informed the necessary parties. For example, you should call the local law enforcement agency if you were assaulted while docked at a foreign country. Cruise lines rarely have law enforcement on board. However, they do typically have procedures for incident reporting. So, you should take the necessary steps to inform the cruise line itself of the sexual assault as well.

    Medical Records

    The next important step is going to the hospital. Sexual assaults can lead to physical injuries that require treatment. Such incidents might also leave physical evidence that can be useful to your case. You can visit the cruise line’s medical staff if you are not docked at a port when the assault takes place. Then, whenever you can safely visit a hospital, do so. Be sure to get such medical attention as soon as possible; do not wait until you get home. Our attorneys for victims of rape and sexual assault on a cruise ship can then obtain your medical records to use as evidence in your claim.

    Other Evidence

    Once contacted about your case, our attorneys can launch an investigation to gather additional evidence of a sexual assault. This might include eyewitness statements, security camera footage, and photographs. We might also uncover proof that a cruise line did not properly background check the crew member who assaulted you or ignored prior instances of sexual violence by the crew member.

    Whether your claim is against the individual assailant or the cruise ship, clear evidence of fault will be necessary. Fortunately, the burden of proof in civil claims is lower than that of criminal cases, meaning you only have to prove that it is more likely than not that a defendant is responsible for your damages.

    Damages for Rape and Sexual Assault on a Cruise Ship

    Rape and sexual assault are some of the worst things that one person can do to another person. As such, survivors of sexual violence are often entitled to substantial damages for the emotional and physical harm inflicted upon them. In many cases, you can seek damages for medical expenses, counseling, lost wages, and pain and suffering related to the assault.

    Many cases of rape and sexual assault need immediate medical care. Aboard a cruise, you may not have immediate access to the care you need, and it may take the cruise ship additional time to dock near a hospital where you can be treated. Should this happen, you might potentially require additional medical care to handle the effects of delayed care. After the assault, you may also seek therapy or mental healthcare to help you cope with what you experienced. These damages can often be covered in a lawsuit against the assailant and the cruise line.

    If your injuries and recovery caused you to miss work, you may be entitled to lost wages. These damages can be paid in full and can also cover future lost wages if you suffered serious permanent injuries during the assault.

    The mental and emotional suffering caused by rape and sexual assault is often severe. These kinds of events can be extremely traumatic, and you may be entitled to compensation for the physical pain and discomfort, the emotional distress, and the mental anguish of the assault.

    In most cases, these damages can be claimed against the assailant directly. In cases where the assailant was an employee on the ship, the ship might be responsible for covering the damages. The cruise ship can also be responsible for their own errors, such as negligent security, negligent hiring, medical malpractice, or delayed treatment related to your injuries.

    Call Our Miami Attorneys if You Were Sexually Assaulted on a Cruise Ship

    To get a free case evaluation from Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A., call our attorneys for victims of rape and sexual assault on a cruise ship at (305) 204-5369.

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