The Coronavirus has swept across the country and has already resulted in over 12,000 deaths. Some of the first illnesses occurred at sea during cruise ship excursions. Massive cruise liners have quarantined thousands and sickened hundreds of people. Some have even died. Cruise ships have been stranded off the coast of the U.S. and not allowed to disembark. Many of these quarantines lasted weeks as passengers became sick with the virus. The Princess Cruises are one example. The boats suffered two onboard outbreaks. Several people died.
If you contract the novel Coronavirus on a cruise ship, you may wonder if you can sue the cruise lines for compensation. The answer is complex. To understand your legal options, you first need to understand the Coronavirus and how cruise ship liability is limited due to an intricate web of international and maritime laws.
The Coronavirus, called COVID-19, originated in China. It is closely related to the SARS virus. The respiratory virus causes difficulty breathing and pneumonia in some patients. It is highly contagious. Seniors over the age of 60 are more vulnerable to suffering fatal complications after contracting the virus.
By April 7, 2020, more than 12,000 Americans had died of the Coronavirus. Another almost 400,000 tested positive for the virus. This pandemic has resulted in numerous travel restrictions, as well as stay-at-home orders in nearly every state.
According to the CDC, thousands of cruise passengers on more than 20 different ships may have been exposed to the Coronavirus in February and March.
The Anthem of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean cruise ship is kept docked for days due to a Coronavirus scare in February 2020. That same month a Diamond Princess cruise ship was kept in quarantine in Tokyo Bay because of a Coronavirus outbreak onboard. More than 650 confirmed cases of the virus were linked back to this ship alone.
To help passengers identify if they might have been exposed, the CDC put together a list of the 21 ships that dealt with coronavirus. Some of the industry’s biggest ships are on the list, including two Royal Caribbean ships, Symphony of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas. MSC Cruises’ Meraviglia was also on the list. Each of these large ships can carry more than 4,500 passengers.
On the list is also the Grand Princess which docked in Oakland, California. At the time, there were 21 confirmed cases of Coronavirus on board. Since then, 103 people have tested positive and two people have died from the illness.
On March 13th Cruises Lines International Association suspended all operations for at least 30 days. Princess Cruises stopped all sailings for at least 60 days.
On April 4, 2020, the Coral Princess docked in Miami, Florida after two people died onboard from the coronavirus. The ship contained 1,020 passengers and 878 crew members. It had originally left for Chile on March 9th. The cruise was supposed to dock in Argentina on March 19th. However, the outbreak of the Coronavirus kept the boat and guests from disembarking. At least a dozen people onboard have tested positive for COVID-19.
There are still several other cruise ships out at sea that are unable to return home due to Coronavirus concerns.
If you contracted the Coronavirus while on a cruise ship, filing a claim is not easy. The Supreme Court has stated that the relationships between passengers and cruise lines are contracts. When you book your ticket, you agree that the cruise line is limited in their liability. You also agree to when and where you can file a lawsuit against the cruise operator. There are still ways to file an injury lawsuit against a cruise line. However, you must comply with the rules and limitations on your ticket.
Unfortunately, many cruise ships are incorporated in foreign countries. This means there are even more gray areas when it comes to liabilities and passenger safety. As such, international and maritime laws may prevent injured passengers from filing claims.
Even though passengers face an uphill battle, that does not mean they shouldn’t seek compensation. One elderly couple that suffered from the Coronavirus onboard the Grand Princess recently filed a $1 million lawsuit against the cruise lines. However, you must act quickly. As the virus spreads, it may be more difficult for your attorney to clearly establish that you contracted the virus from exposure on your cruise.
In order to win your case, your attorney must prove that the cruise ship did not take necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the virus or to contain it. This is a difficult but not impossible task. With extensive investigation and preparation, you may win your liability claim if you act quickly. That is why it is imperative that you speak to an experienced injury lawyer immediately.
If you contracted the Coronavirus on a cruise ship, you may be able to file a claim. The faster you act, the better your chances of success. As such, you need an experienced and dedicated Miami Beach personal injury lawyer on your side immediately.
The Dante Law Firm is dedicated to helping Coronavirus cruise ship survivors obtain justice. We offer remote services during the Coronavirus outbreak to help answer your questions and review your legal options.
We believe in justice for all. That is why we offer free consultations and reviews from the start. We also work on a contingency basis, so we don’t get paid until you do.