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Monday, April 21, 2014

Recent maritime disasters have called into question the long standing tradition of ship captains verifying that all people are safely off the ship before abandoning a sinking ship themselves. The most recent example of this troubling trend came when a South Korean ferry sank recently. Despite the fact that over 300 people are thought to have perished in the disaster, the captain is notably alive and well.

Though captains are not necessarily expected to literally go down with their ships, they are supposed to do everything in their power to help those who are in distress before saving themselves. But recent maritime disasters have seen ship captains abandon time and time again. For example, in another case of tragedy which recently struck a major ocean going vessel, the Costa Concordia in 2012, its captain was famously scolded by an Italian Coast Guard official when it was discovered that the captain was aboard a life boat, fleeing the capsizing ship even as passengers scrambled to get the ship’s other life boats to function properly. 32 people died in that particular disaster.

Whether or not abandoning ship is a crime depends on the laws governing the ship and the captain involved. In the cases of both the most recent tragedy and the Costa Concordia, both captains were under legal duty not to abandon ship as they did. Former captain of the Costa Concordia, Francesco Schettino, is currently undergoing a legal process to determine his guilt or innocence of several charges related to the incident, one of which being abandoning ship. And the captain of the ill-fated South Korean ferry which sank days ago does not seem to be in a position to fare any better.  In fact, the president of his country compared the captain’s actions, which included abandoning ship, to murder. 

tags: miami cruise attorney, cruise ship injury, miami injury attorney
Thursday, April 17, 2014

A 7 year old boy was electrocuted to death in North Miami over the weekend, leaving his family and investigators wondering what went wrong.

The boy was reportedly playing in the family's pool when he was suddenly electrocuted with a shock so strong that it threw him from the pool. Investigators were abel to quickly determine that the cause of death was electrocution. But as yet they have been unable to determine what caused the electrical shock in the pool. Police are focusing on a light socket which appears to have been burned, and are trying to determine if it may have been defective.

The boy's father says that the family noticed several months ago that the light socket in question was not properly illuminating, and called a contractor to fix it. According to the Miami Herald the father's brother was told by electricians that it appears the light had not been properly grounded, meaning that the full 120 volts could have been sent through the pool when the boy was electrocuted.

The city of North Miami requires that all electrical work, such as the work reportedly done on the pool, be done only after the issuance of a permit, and even then are subject to inspection. The Herald reports that a search of city records failed to turn up an indication that a permit was issued for the work, and the required inspection apprears not to have been done either. 



Hickey Law Firm, P.A. –Miami Injury Attorneys handle cases of personal injurycruise ship injury and sexual assault, and other personal injury cases

tags: miami injury attorney, miami electrocution death
Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A ferry that was on its way to a tourist island off the southern shore of South Korea sank early Wednesday morning leaving four people dead, 55 injured, and hundreds unaccounted for. The ferry was mostly carrying high school students who were on a class trip to the island and dozens of ships and helicopters have been spending hours trying to locate and recue as many passengers as possible. It is one of the biggest ferry disasters in South Korean history and depending on how the search-and-rescue efforts play out, it could end up being the biggest disaster since 1993 that saw nearly 300 people lose their lives.

More than 160 Navy and Coast Guard divers have spent hours frantically searching the area where the ferry sank and have also searched inside the ship’s wreckage. The ferry set off from the South Korean city of Incheon on Tuesday evening but sent out a distress call just three hours from its destination after it began listing heavily to one side. The listing became increasingly severe until eventually the ferry sank. It has not been determined why the ship began listing or what ultimately caused it to sink but officials are more concerned right now with rescue efforts than investigating the reasons for the incident.


Hickey Law Firm, P.A. –Miami Injury Attorneys handle cases of personal injurycruise ship injury and sexual assault, and other personal injury cases

tags: miami injury attorney, miami cruise attorney, how to sue a cruise line
Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Brooks Robinson, a Major League Baseball Hall of Famer who played for the Baltimore Orioles in the 1960s, is considered by many to be greatest outfielder that ever lived. While at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in 2012, helping help raise money for Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Robinson fell twelve feet from a stage, suffering severe injuries. Robinson’s fall was the result of a deceptive stage setup, which had a curtain in the back but no wall behind it. In fact, a person had fallen about an hour before Robinson, but no corrective action was taken to ensure that no one else would be affected.

Robinson is now demanding that the Seminole Tribe in South Florida award him with compensation of  $9.9 million for the permanent injuries he sustained from the fall. But, the tribe appears to be attempting to hide behind the law in order to avoid paying just compensation. The Tribe is seeking to avoid responsibility for their gross negligence by arguing that there is a cap on damages under their tribal immunity and under their agreement with the State of Florida.  This cap, the Tribe says, applies to everyone on the premises of the property. 
The attorneys for Brooks and Connie Robinson, John H. (Jack) Hickey says that the cap does not apply.  In fact, there is no tribal immunity for anything according to the Robinson’s counsel.  He says that the Seminole Tribe of Florida does not fall within the definition of what should be a “Federally recognized Indian tribe”.   If that is true, the Tribe should not be allowed to have gaming on their property and certainly has no immunity from suit. 

We are requesting that the tribe waive the liability limit and compensate our client to the tune of $9.9 million for surgeries, physical therapy treatments, and medication. Both we and our client believe this case exposes a flawed agreement between the state of Florida and the Seminole Tribe as it relates to liability.

Brooks Robinson, now 76 years old, is still experiencing bleeding on his brain as well as spinal cracks as a result of the fall. He has also lost several inches in height as a direct result of the injuries. Robinson has aged at least 10 years since the accident occurred on the unsecured stage at the casino. We call on the Tribe to the right thing an issue just compensation to our client. 

Hickey Law Firm, P.A. –Miami Injury Attorneys handle cases of personal injurycruise ship injury and sexual assault, and other personal injury cases

tags: brooks robinsion fall, miami injury attorney
Saturday, April 12, 2014

100 people were recently sickened aboard Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas in an outbreak which is suspected to have been caused by norovirus.

Norovirus outbreaks have come at a fast and furious pace in 2014.  So far this year thousands of people have been affected by the bug, which tends to spread like wildfire aboard cruise ships.  In the latest outbreak about 100 people, including passengers and crew, were sickened aboard the Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas, sailing out of Baltimore Maryland.  This latest outbreak has many questioning of it is safe to cruise.  Though norovirus kills thousands of people every year, in general the illness is not deadly.  Its major symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and extreme nausea.

But, norovirus is a significant enough illness to ruin a cruise.  Those who contract the bug while on vacation generally have to be quarantined, and hence miss much of the fun and activities which they intended to participate in while on the ship.

Norovirus outbreaks have been proven to occur in unsanitary conditions.  So, perhaps one of the most troubling signs given by a norovirus outbreak aboard a cruise ship is that perhaps the ship is not as well sanitized as it should be.

Hickey Law Firm, P.A. –Miami Injury Attorneys handle cases of personal injurycruise ship injury and sexual assault, and other personal injury cases

tags: miami injury attorney, how to sue a cruise line, norovirus cruise ship
Friday, April 11, 2014

Over the past several years Johnson & Johnson, one of the country's largest pharmaceutical companies, has suffered a series of disturbing and embarrassing recalls and lawsuits.  In particular the company's transvaginal mesh (TVM) product has been the subject of numerous lawsuits -stemming from the fact that its defective design has caused serious injury in numerous women.  Last week Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay home one million dollars in compensatory damages to a woman who was injured by the product.

On April 4 court in Dallas Texas ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $1.2 million to a woman who had been seriously injured by the TVT-O mesh sling, also called a "bladder sling." A jury found that the product was flawed as a result of a defective design.  The plaintiff contended that the transvaginal mesh had eroded inside of her, causing serious pain and injury.  The verdict is the first involving a bladder sling product.

Transvaginal mesh has been found to cause significant injury in thousands of women who have been implanted with it.  Though this is the first such verdict involving transvaginal mesh, it does portend to open the product’s manufacturers to additional lawsuits, which may result in hundreds of millions of dollars in damages when all is said and done.


Hickey Law Firm, P.A. –Miami Injury Attorneys handle cases of personal injurycruise ship injury and sexual assault, and other personal injury cases

tags: miami injury attorney, how to sue for transvaginal mesh
Thursday, April 10, 2014

The pharmaceutical industry has been implicated in a series of disturbing scandals involving their drugs, some of which have been found to cause devastating side effects including death.  For example, years ago the anti-pain drug Vioxx was found to have caused as many as 60,000 deaths before it was pulled from the markets.  Now, a pair of major pharmaceutical companies is being ordered to pay a record settlement as a result of its own scandal.

Last week a Federal jury in Louisiana ordered that drug makers Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. and its partner Eli Lilly pay a record $9 billion in punitive damages after it was found that their drug, Actos, causes cancer.  The companies knew about cancer, but that did not disclose the risks to the public.  The drug's dangers came to light after the companies were sued by the plaintiff, who had developed bladder cancer after taking Actos.  The plaintiff was awarded $1.5 million in damages.

This continues a disturbing trend in which major pharmaceutical companies deliberately mislead the public in order to continue selling dangerous drugs which doubtlessly took millions of dollars and years to develop.  If you or anyone you know has been sickened or injured by drug, call us immediately.


Hickey Law Firm, P.A. –Miami Injury Attorneys handle cases of personal injurycruise ship injury and sexual assault, and other personal injury cases


tags: miami injury attorney, how to sue for actos, florida injury attorney
Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Cruising has become one of the world's favorite vacation past times.  While the vast majority of people who go on a cruise rarely have any serious problems, there are nevertheless significant issues which can arise. Here we will take a look at the most serious issues affecting cruise ship passengers.


Illness outbreaks are the most common cause of cruise ship injury.  Passengers aboard cruise ships often have to contend with outbreaks of norovirus, which is a highly contagious virus which causes vomiting, diarrhea, and extreme nausea.  In 2014 there have already been 8 outbreaks of norovirus in just the first few months.


Assaults of various kinds, including cruise ship sexual assaults, do happen all too often aboard cruise ships.  The most vulnerable to cruise ship assaults tend to be women and children.  Predators have been known to cruise specifically with the intention of victimizing women and children.


Slip and fall, drownings, and other injury causing accidents are all dangers cruise ship passengers face when they board the ship.  And these dangers do not abate once a passenger has gotten off of the cruise ship.  In fact, every year dozens of people are injured when taking a cruise ship sponsored excursion.

Hickey Law Firm, P.A. –Miami Injury Attorneys handle cases of personal injurycruise ship injury and sexual assault, and other personal injury cases

tags: miami injury attorney, how to sue a cruise line, cruise ship excursion injury
Friday, April 4, 2014

The modern day cruise industry employs billion dollar ships which sail around the entire globe.  Due to the complexities involving ship registration and international maritime law, it can sometimes be difficult to know just who to sue or how to sue when someone is injured aboard a cruise ship or by a cruise ship.  For example, yesterday we ran a story about two men who were killed on the island of Saint Kitts as a result of an accident involving a Royal Caribbean cruise ship.  Though this accident happened in the Caribbean, it turns out that the families of these men will have to sue in the United States.

Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Lines, and Norwegian Cruise Lines –among others- have all done everything legally possible to ensure that any lawsuits they will face will be filed in Miami, Florida.  So, in the cases of those who are injured or killed aboard cruise ships belonging to those companies, Miami must be the venue of any legal action filed, even if the injury or death occurs outside of the United States.

Those who have been injured aboard a cruise ship belonging to one of the previously mentioned cruise lines, or the loved ones of those who have been killed, must remember that not only do they have to file their lawsuits in Miami, but they must also file quickly.  This is because it is common practice for cruise lines to have a six month to one year liability limitation clause in the cruise contract.

If you or someone you know has been injured aboard a cruise ship, on a cruise ship excursion, or in any other way in relation to cruise activity, contact our office immediately.


Hickey Law Firm, P.A. –Miami Injury Attorneys handle cases of personal injurycruise ship injury and sexual assault, and other personal injury cases

tags: cruise ship injury, miami cruise attorney, how to sue a cruise line
Saturday, April 5, 2014

Distracted driving has been linked to a growing number of serious auto and truck accidents over the past five years.  The reason for this trend is likely due to an increase in the number of smart phones and tablets being used by drivers while behind the wheel.  In order to call attention to this growing problem, April has been designated National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Several studies indicate that driving while distracted can be as dangerous as, or even more dangerous than, driving while intoxicated.  Common sources of driver distraction include:

  • Talking on the cell phone
  • Texting
  • Eating while driving
  • Pets
  • Using a GPS or other technology

In honor of this month's theme, we would like to encourage all Miami and Florida drivers to pledge to limit distractions as they drive for the month of April.  Not only do we hope that you find the practice to be a safer way of operating your vehicle, but we also hope that you find that it is a practice that you can commit to continuing well after National Distracted Driving Awareness Month is over.


Hickey Law Firm, P.A. –Miami Injury Attorneys handle cases of personal injurycruise ship injury and sexual assault, and other personal injury cases

tags: miami injury attorney, Miami accident attorney, miami truck accident attorney