Archive for May, 2010

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Tips To Help You Avoid A Cruise Ship Accident

May 27, 2010

The cruise season is just ramping up and thousands of people are starting to focus on their upcoming ocean vacation. They are reading their brochures, checking out the ship’s itinerary, and thinking about what to pack for their fun week at sea. The one thing most people aren’t thinking about, though, is reading the seven to ten pages worth of restrictions that come with their cruise ship tickets, or the limitations and requirements that need to be followed if they are involved in a cruise ship accident or injury. 

There are many types of accidents that can occur on the high seas, ranging from accidents that passengers caused to accidents due to weather or engineering problems. The four main types of accidents are:

Weather-Related – Rough seas, rain, and high winds can all contribute to the risk of a cruise ship accident. To help minimize potential accidents, be sure to:

  • Hold on to handrails when walking on board during rough weather.
  • Stay below decks and don’t go outside during inclement weather.
  • Watch out for falling objects that might fly out of your cabin closets or drawers and doors that may suddenly swing open.
  • Stay in your cabin or the location you are in if the ship loses power and wait for further instructions from the crew.

Cruise ship-Related – Cruise ships can be subject to any number of problems such as fires, malfunctioning stabilizers, and faulty engines. These problems could potentially cause the ship to list to one side suddenly, run aground, or slow down. You can help yourself, the crew and your fellow passengers the most during a cruise ship-related problem by:

  • Knowing where yourr muster station is.
  • Following crew directions immediately.
  • Not hampering the crew with questions until the problem is resolved.

Passenger Related – People on vacation often are enjoying the day and not paying as much attention as they should to things that are happening around them. Be sure to:

  • Refrain from overindulgence of alcohol.
  • Use the ship’s sporting equipment, lounge chairs, and other items only for their intended purposes.
  • Follow all crew instructions, including posted warning labels.
  • As mentioned before, be sure to use the handrails on stairways, gangways, and while near the edge of the deck in case the ship suddenly lists or turns.

Shore Excursion-Related – Shore excursions bring a visit to another country to life, but they can also be risky. When on a shore excursion, be sure to:

  • Listen to the instructions of the tour operators and follow them carefully.
  • Be honest about your ability and your prior experience for more strenuous tours such as horseback riding, diving, climbing, or hiking.
  • Behave responsibly to avoid causing potential accidents or injuries.
  • Wear your seat belt on tour buses and taxis and use car seats for young children. Also wear life vests on ship’s tenders, if provided.

If you are the victim of a cruise ship accident you will help your case by:

  • Insisting that you get a report detailing the incident from the cruise ship personnel.
  • Keeping your cruise ship ticket after your injury. It provides details on some of the "special requirements" that govern your cruise and cruise ship accident, and your attorney will need it.
  • Getting the names and contact information for any passengers that may have been witnesses or may know about the accident.
  • Getting the names and identification information for any cruise ship personnel that may have been a witness or may know about the accident.
  • Documenting the area where the accident occurred, including any defective conditions that may have contributed to the accident.
  • Seeking medical attention and complaining about any part of your body that was injured, no matter how severe or minor.
  • Requesting that the ship personnel preserve any materials or evidence that is related to the accident or injury. It is best to make this request in writing and keep a copy for yourself. Your request should include the preservation of any on board video tape surveillance.

For more information, contact cruise ship accident lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 or email him today. Mr. Maus provides a free, no obligation consultation to answer your questions and help you determine if you have a claim against your cruise line. He is an experienced Florida cruise ship accident attorney who has handled thousands of claims ranging from slip and trip and falls, sexual assault, cruise ship viruses and violations of safety and cleanliness standards, injuries during onshore excursions, and many other types of claims which are related to cruise ships.   His office handles claims on a contingent basis which means there are no attorney’s fees charged unless a recovery is made on your behalf. Mr. Maus is licensed to practice throughout the State of Florida, in the Southern and Middle Districts of the United States District Court, and is licensed to practice before the United States Supreme Court and is an “AV” rated by Martindale Hubbell, the highest legal ability rating awarded, and the highest ethical rating awarded to attorneys.

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Are You Working Overtime in South Florida And Not Being Paid For It?

May 15, 2010

Because of the current recession, many employees have been laid off. Their co-workers, while happy to still have a job, have been forced to pick up the slack left after the former employee’s departure. As a result, millions of American workers are now doing “double-duty” at work and putting in lots of overtime. To add insult to injury, the Department of Labor estimates that approximately 70 percent of employers are not complying with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which requires non-exempt workers to be paid overtime wages if they work more than a standard 40 hour work week.

Since 1937, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has set the labor standards and guidelines for employers. The FLSA established 40 hours per week as the legal work week and requires overtime pay to be due to an employee for hours worked beyond the standard 40-hour work week. The FLSA also set the rate for overtime wages at 1.5 times the regular hourly wage for each hour worked beyond the 40 hour week.

Often, employers try to get around paying this overtime. They misclassify workers as exempt by giving them important-sounding job titles or by paying them salaries instead of hourly wages. The labors laws have gray areas, though, and there are certain salaried employees who are entitled to overtime pay and certain job titles that are non-exempt even though it sounds like the employee is in an executive or administrative position. A job title alone does not exempt a worker from overtime pay.

People in certain occupations are also routinely denied overtime pay even though they are entitled to it. As an example, nurses are generally thought of as exempt employees because they are considered “learned professionals.” But, licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses who are paid hourly may be entitled to overtime pay. Additional violations can come up regarding breaks and meal times for nurses. Some employers and staffing agencies automatically deduct these breaks and meal times from a nurse’s weekly hours even if he or she is too busy to take a break, but many courts have ruled that these policies are also in violation of the FLSA.

To qualify for the learned professional employee exemption, all of the following tests must be met:

• The employee must be compensated on a salary or fee basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $455 per week;

• The employee’s primary duty must be the performance of work requiring advanced knowledge, defined as work which is predominantly intellectual in character and which includes work requiring the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment;

• The advanced knowledge must be in a field of science or learning; and

• The advanced knowledge must be customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction.

Registered nurses who are paid on an hourly basis should receive overtime pay. However, registered nurses who are registered by the appropriate State examining board generally meet the duties requirements for the learned professional exemption, and if paid on a salary basis of at least $455 per week, may be classified as exempt.

Are you owed overtime pay? You are qualified to collect overtime in South Florida if you work more than forty hours in a week, even if:

  • You are paid a salary
  • You are a tipped employee
  • Your job title is manager, but you do very little managerial wo
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Cruise Ship Accident: 5 Ways to Protect Your Rights

May 10, 2010
With the recent Carnival Cruise ship accident that injured 61 passengers when the cruise ship violently listed some interesting topics have been brought up that many people are unaware of. For example, did you know that you have a year or less to file your claim? Or, did you know that the fine print on your ticket dictates the location where a suit can be brought? To help you out we have compiled a list of 5 things you need to know to protect your rights when involved in a cruise ship accident.
1.) Know The Location Where You Need to Sue:
Maus says: “Cruise lines designate within their passenger tickets the only location where they can be sued. (Take a look at the tiny print on the back of your ticket). Most of the major cruise lines are based in Miami, Florida and designate Miami, Florida as the location where they must be sued.” This means that if you live in Maine and vacation on a cruise, you may have to litigate in Miami at considerable cost and time to you.
Knowing where you need to take your case is imperative so that your claim won’t be dismissed. Be sure to know the location where you can bring you case. It is not necessarily where the ship left either, so check you ticket before suing.
2.) Know How Long You Have to Bring A Lawsuit:
Maus says: “Cruise lines often insert special provisions into their passenger tickets that shorten the time in which a passenger may file a law suit against the cruise line to one year. (The normal statute of limitations for admiralty and maritime matters is three years; for a typical car accident claim it is four years!)”.
Once again, reading the ticket is key. This will give you the timeframe for which you can bring a suit against the cruise line.
3.) Cruise Ship Accidents Can Happen On Dry Land:
Most people don’t think much about it, but cruise ship accidents can happen at any time during their vacation: when they are boarding or disembarking the ship, when they are walking up or down stairs on the ship or down a hallway, when they are getting on and off a launch or tour bus in an exotic port, or during a ship-sponsored tour or trip into a foreign city.
4.) Document Your Accident:
When the victim of a cruise ship accident be sure to thoroughly document the incident. This includes the following:
  • Insist a report detailing the incident is prepared by the Cruise Ship personnel
  • Obtain the names and contact information for any other cruise ship passengers that may be witnesses or have knowledge about the incident.
  • Obtain the names and identification information for any cruise ship personnel that may be a witness or have knowledge about the incident.
  • Take photographs of the area where the accident occurred, and any defective conditions that may have contributed to the accident.
  • Seek medical attention and complain about any part of your body that was injured, no matter how severe or minor.
  • Request the ship personnel preserve any materials or evidence that is related to the accident or injury. It is best to do this in writing and keep a copy for yourself. Your request should include the preservation of any on board video tape surveillance.
This evidence and information will help you immensely with a case.
5.) Talk to an Accident Injury Lawyer:
Speak to an experienced cruise ship accident injury lawyer. Cruise ship accident and injuries can often involve state, federal or international laws that may be very different from the laws in your area. It is best to speak with a cruise ship accident injury lawyer as soon as possible following the incident to protect your rights.
This article is not meant to turn you away from that long-dreamt-of cruise vacation. Rather, it is meant to make cruise line passengers aware that cruise ship accidents require navigating through confusing and archaic laws. If you are injured while on a cruise, talk to an experienced cruise ship accident lawyer as soon as you get back to dry land so you can protect your rights.
If you have a question or need information on Cruise Ship Accident, contact Florida Cruise Ship Accident Attorney Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 or email him today for a free consultation.. The Law Office of Joseph M. Maus and Associates has handled some of the largest Florida overtime wage claims. Attorneys in their offices were recently appointed in Federal Court as lead counsel in an Overtime Class Action against a large Fortune 500 Company.
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