We recognize that being the victim of a sexual assault is an extremely traumatic and invasive experience. While the physical injuries will heal, the psychological damages can last a lifetime and often require ongoing therapy. If you’ve been the victim of a sexual assault while on a cruise, it may be intimidating to contact a reputable personal injury attorney. However, this can be the first step to obtaining the compensation you deserve and holding the responsible party liable.
Rape or sexual assault is not something that the typical passenger thinks about or even imagines while planning his or her cruise. Rather, most people are thinking about getting a tan and having some fun. Yet sexual assaults of women, children, and men onboard cruise ships are rampant. The perpetrators of these vicious crimes are not only other passengers, but also may be the cruise line’s own employees. Prior cases against cruise lines include allegations such as:
- A minor passenger being raped by an assistant cruise director
- A female passenger being raped by two male employees
- A masseuse at the spa on the ship groping the passenger client
- An adult passenger luring a teenager to his cabin with alcohol and raping her
- A female employee being raped by a co-worker onboard the ship.
Recently, a cruise line employee was sentenced to more than 30 years in jail for the attempted murder and aggravated sexual assault of a passenger. These are only a few examples of many types of assault that can be committed against cruise passengers and employees.
The attorneys at the Flanagan Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Law Firm have experience handling these kinds of sensitive matters and will be with you every step of the way. We are committed to helping you get justice and hold the cruise lines accountable for these vicious assaults that occur onboard their ships.
How is the Cruise Line Responsible for a Sexual Assault?
Many cases involve an assault committed by a cruise line employee. In these situations, the law provides that the cruise line is responsible. This may be true even when the employee commits the assault off of the ship and in a port of call.
In cases where the perpetrator is another passenger, the cruise line may be responsible because they failed to take reasonable precautions to protect its passengers from sexual assaults despite being clearly aware of the problem. For instance, many cruise ships do not have surveillance cameras in passenger hallways, or perhaps their security guards do not perform regular patrols. Not only does the lack of surveillance cameras make it easier for a predator to commit an assault, but it assists the perpetrator in escaping, making it much more difficult for the police or the FBI to identify and catch the perpetrator.
What if I Didn’t Tell Anyone on the Ship About My Assault?
Provided that the statute of limitations contained within your ticket has not passed, it is not too late to take legal action. Statistics show that the majority of sexual assaults are never reported at all, and many are reported years after the fact. This is because many victims feel scared and ashamed, or possibly even guilty. Don’t be another statistic. Every person who comes forward as a victim brings awareness to this issue and protects others from becoming victims themselves. Your case can make a difference.
I was Not Raped But I was Touched Inappropriately — Do I Have a Case?
The short answer is that you may have a case. Sexual assault is not limited to rape — it includes any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient, and it may still cause significant psychological damage. As a result, if you were touched in an inappropriate manner or if you were the victim of an attempted rape, you may still have a case.
What If I was Physically Assaulted, But Not Sexually Assaulted?
In addition to sexual assaults, physical assaults also routinely occur onboard cruise ships. A physical assault, or fight, can occur if a passenger is served too much alcohol onboard the ship and becomes violent, or if the cruise line does not place a sufficient number of security guards in high-risk areas, such as nightclubs. If you were injured in a physical assault or attack onboard a cruise ship, call us today at (888) 216-8699.
Statistics Regarding the Number of Sexual Assaults on Cruise Ships
Currently, there are not any truly reliable statistics. Cruise lines routinely claim that they have few sexual assaults onboard their ships because admitting there’s a problem would be bad for business. They claim that their sexual assault statistics are posted on the Coast Guard’s website, and that these statistics show that sexual assaults are rare. What the cruise lines do not tell you is this crucial piece of information: the incidents that are disclosed on the Coast Guard’s website are only those that were reported to the FBI and closed by the FBI. This is convenient for the cruise line because not all assaults are reported to the FBI and many are left open for years. A report by the Senate Commerce Committee in 2013 found that only a small portion of alleged crime on cruise ships is ever publicly disclosed. Further, in July 2013, CNN reported that, of the staggering 959 crimes reported to the FBI since 2011, only 31 were disclosed on the Coast Guard’s website. Through litigation, we can determine the true number of assaults that have occurred on a cruise line’s ships.
If you’ve been the victim of sexual or physical assault while on a cruise, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the Flanagan Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Law Firm in Miami today to discuss your claim with a personal injury attorney.