6-year-old Boy From Florida Dies In Tragic Cruise Ship Accident

Child Drowns on Carnival Cruise Ship  In an incident that has rekindled attention to the matter of safety while swimming aboard cruise ships sailing the high seas, a six-year-old boy from Florida drowned on Carnival’s Victory cruise ship while heading back home on a four-day cruise. The boy, Qwentyn Hunter, was in the company of his ten-year-old brother, Jermaine Hunter, at the time of the incident. Qwentyn and his brother had pleaded with their father, Caselle Hunter, to be allowed to take a last dip in the ship’s pool, and their father allowed them since it was probably the last chance they were going to get before finally hitting land. There were no lifeguards at the pool and no other swimmers except for the two boys. Caselle watched the boys for a while but was carried away by a discussion with one of his wife’s church friends and took his eyes off them for a minute. His attention was to be sadly brought back to them when the DJ, who had been setting up for a performance as the kids entered the pool, suddenly shouted for someone to pull a drowning kid out of the water. A stranger jumped into the pool and pulled out the boy while Caselle turned around only to see the stranger carrying the boy out of the pool. It turns out that his elder brother had stepped out of the pool to dance to the DJ’s first few songs of the session and had left Qwentyn alone in the pool. Once Qwentyn was out of the water, other passengers and crew from the ship tried...

A closer Look at Daycare Contracts: Suing For Negligence

Accidents and Injuries in Day Care Centers Hectic schedules often force parents to juggle fast-paced jobs with family, posing a difficult problem for most. Many parents today rely on the help of day care centers for their children so that they can find time for other important things. Entrusting a child care facility with your child’s life is a serious decision and requires a good amount of research. Unfortunately, not all day care centers in Florida are 100% safe, and sometimes accidents can occur that leave children with injuries. At such times, who bears responsibility for the injury? Are you, as a parent, entitled to any compensation? How can you ensure your child’s safety? To answer these questions, consider the following concepts. Daycare Inspections As in other states in the US, Florida’s regulations and codes of conduct govern the operations of day care centers within the state’s jurisdiction. Authorities conduct inspections of the day care facilities and issue citations to day care centers that violate code. Accidents and injuries that occur in day care centers with code violations on record are prima facie cases, with the day care center automatically assumed negligent leading up to the injuries. This, in turn, makes pursuing compensation a straightforward affair.  However, things may not be as clear when there is no obvious code violation and, in such situations, additional legal concepts and discussions pertain. Daycare Contracts and Release Forms Most day care centers provide special release forms that parents are supposed to sign before leaving children in their care. Although each day care center can design its own release forms, many of the...

Near Drowning Aboard RCCL’s Anthem of the Seas Ship

It appears that most cruise lines do not want to spend the money needed to protect young passengers from drowning in their pools.  If it is not that they are trying to save money, I cannot understand the reason why they continually resist hiring and placing trained and competent lifeguards at their pools. Perhaps they argue that they would be exposed to even greater legal liability by not positioning the lifeguards in the proper places, not training them correctly, or for their failure to respond quickly enough. However, if they can find people qualified to get a massive mega cruise liner with 6000 passengers and crew from Miami to Cozumel three times a week, they can hire some Red Cross-approved teenagers who want to make some money and live on a cruise ship for three months–and most importantly save some lives. Unfortunately, until the cruise industry–Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Celebrity, and Carnival–puts passenger safety ahead of profit, parents will need to make sure they put their vacation on hold whenever their kids want to enjoy the pools. Cruise lines simply prefer to place the responsibility for pool safety on untrained parents who have been plied with unlimited drink packages and spa days, and can easily fall asleep or be distracted from maintaining constant visual contact with their kids who are splashing around in overcrowded swimming pools with dozens of strangers. For example, last week RCCL’s Anthem of the Seas was forced to make an emergency return to port shortly after it left the Port of Bayonne, New Jersey, after an eight-year-old Dutch boy nearly drowned in one of the ship’s...

Disney Facing Potential Wrongful Death Lawsuit After Alligator Attack?

Tragedy strikes in Orlando, FL, yet again as the remains of two-year-old Lane Graves have been discovered after the child was reportedly attacked and pulled into the water by an alligator at Walt Disney World’s Grand Floridian Resort. The incident was said to have happened while the toddler and his mother were attending an outdoor movie night at the resort. Witnesses of the incident said that they saw the mother with the toddler, who was wading on the edge on the lake, which seems to resemble a small beach. At approximately 9:00 p.m., Lane Graves was attacked and pulled into the lake by an alligator reported to be four-to-seven feet in length. His father’s attempts to dive in after him and force the alligator’s mouth open to release the child were unsuccessful as the boy had already been pulled under the murky water. Tragically, his remains were discovered, 12-15 yards from where the attack occurred, by an Orange County dive team after a grueling 16-hour search of the property. His body was found intact with a few puncture wounds and, while an autopsy has yet to be performed, it is likely that the cause of death was drowning. Disney World commented on the incident by saying that in the 45 years since the canals have existed there has never been a report of an attack like this. The Seven Seas Lagoon, as the lake is called, is a man-made body of water that separates the resort from the Magic Kingdom park and stretches into a series of canals that wind through the entire Disney property. While the hotel did...

Is There Insurance Coverage for a Summer Camp Accident?

Summer camp is just around the corner for millions of children across the State of Florida and around the country. Our Miami injury lawyers are frequently asked if there is insurance coverage for injuries when kids are hurt traveling to and from summer camp and on camping field trips. The acid test for every Miami children’s injury lawyer who sues summer camps–or cruise lines, and other businesses–is did the injury occur “in the course and scope” of the counselor’s duties? For nearly 25 years I have battled insurance companies on this issue and have learned that commercial insurance policies are designed to protect the insurance company’s profits–not the camps, not the counselors, and certainly not the injured campers. Camp Volunteer Causes Head-On Traffic Accident Recently a “Registered Volunteer” camp counselor for Troop 370 of the Boy Scouts of America, Alan Norton, was involved in a terrifying head-on collision. Mr. Norton was driving back from a Florida cemetery where he had been supervising a Boy Scout who had, over the course of eight visits, assisted in cleaning up a Florida cemetery, in hopes of earning an Eagle Scout Merit Badge. On the last and fateful visit, Mr. Norton had forgotten to photograph the cemetery to verify the Scout’s work, so he drove home to retrieve his camera with the intention of returning to the cemetery to take pictures. Photographing the work was mandated to verify that the Scout had in fact met his requirements. On the return drive, Mr. Norton hit Chris Hubner head-on, seriously injuring Mr. Hubner and himself. Mr. Hubner sued the Boy Scouts of America for his...

Suing Disney Cruise Lines

A cruise on the Disney Line’s Dream turned into a nightmare for a 13-year-old female passenger who was molested during her family’s vacation onboard the ship. Crew member Ahmed Sofyan, a resident of Jakarta, Indonesia, was arrested in Florida by the Port of Canaveral Police after being accused of molesting the child during their four-day cruise to the Bahamas. According to reports, he was arrested on two counts of lewd or lascivious molestation and one count of false imprisonment. Sofyan is currently incarcerated at the Brevard County Jail Complex. How long the crew member worked for Disney and the nature of his duties aboard the Dream are unknown at this time. Following his arrest, Disney’s issued the following statement: “We have no tolerance whatsoever for the behavior alleged in this incident . . . . We are sorry that anything of this nature could have occurred on one of our ships. We place enormous value on the trust our guests have in us, and nothing is more important to us than the safety and security of each and every one of our guests.” The case should serve as a warning to all parents that they must be vigilant aboard cruise ships just as though they were vacationing with their family at a hotel in a large city. Cruise ships often appear to be safe playgrounds, and parents–also in need of a vacation–want to believe that their children, teenaged and younger, are safe to wander the ship. As a lawyer who sues Disney, I recommend never leaving children alone and without parental supervision while onboard a cruise ship. Our thoughts...
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