Why have too many cruise ships become floating Petri dishes? As cruise lines are operating outside clear jurisdictions, their health and safety protocols are poor.
As the year 2020 experience has shown, it would seem obvious that the cruise ships should have an emergency plan for an infectious outbreak. Yet reports suggest that on cruise ships operated by at least 15 cruise companies, responses were improvised.
At least 1,972 ocean liners have U.S. ownership or operation but there's only one big luxury cruise ship registered in the U.S. - MS Pride of America, that sails exclusively in Hawaii.
One operator that carries almost half the world's cruising passengers on excursions and has a combined fleet of about 300 cruise line ships is Carnival Corporation. Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian - the second and third biggest ship operators - are headquartered in Miami. But Carnival Corp. is incorporated in Panama, Royal Caribbean in Liberia, and Norwegian in Bermuda.
Just how many passengers and crew got sick or died aboard cruise ships as the coronavirus spread across the world in early 2020? The cruise industry has largely stayed silent about the COVID-19 cases aboard their ships.
Many passengers and crew members filed last year lawsuits against cruise corporations alleging gross or even criminal negligence, which may have been caused by this business model.
When Passengers Allege Cruise Line Negligence
With hundreds, in some cases, even thousands, of people on board, all in an enclosed space and very close proximity to each other, a cruise ship is the perfect environment for a contagious disease like COVID-19 to spread rapidly. The safety of passengers should be the number one priority for the cruise industry. This includes:
- Taking all reasonable measures to provide a safe environment
- Reacting swiftly to infectious outbreaks
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, as a result of the cruise industry's failure:
- Governments prevented many cruise ships from docking
- Passengers and crew were left stranded at sea
- Passengers were not permitted to disembark for, in some cases, months
- Passengers were confined to small cabins deep in the interior of these large vessels
- Passengers may have been unknowingly exposed to COVID-19
Cruise lines are a multi-billion dollar industry and employ aggressive and experienced lawyers; therefore having an experienced lawyer on your side can help ensure the success of your case. Call The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary today. A legal advocate experienced in cruise ship personal injury will fight to obtain the compensation you deserve. We are ready to help you; call us today and speak with a cruise ship accident lawyer about your potential claim.
Cruise Companies with COVID-19 Cases
By choosing to ignore what was taking place in nearly every nation around the world in 2020, the cruise line operators below, headquartered in the U.S., decided to risk the lives of their passengers and crew to bring in a few more dollars before travel was forced to stop:
- Aurora Expeditions
- Carnival Corporation
- Disney Cruise Line
- Fred Olsen Cruise Line
- Genting Cruise Lines
- MSC Cruises
- Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings
- Phoenix Reisen Cruises
- Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
- TUI Cruises
Other international cruise companies that put business above the safety of guests and employees:
- GHK-Dream Cruises - a division of Genting Hong Kong
- Marella Cruises - British cruise line operated by TUI UK
- Pullmantur - cruise line headquartered in Madrid, Spain
- CSSC Carnival China Cruise Shipping - Chinese-American line
Do Cruise Ships Have to Keep You Safe?
Yes. Cruise ship owners and crew are responsible for protecting you while onboard their ship. The law considers cruise lines common carriers, meaning they must exercise a special duty to keep their passengers safe, similar to a train or bus company.
A cruise ship is like a floating hotel in some ways. Its owners and operators have a responsibility to protect you from danger. But cruise ships, like airlines and other carriers, can be very demanding about their legal procedures.
Cruise ships try to limit their liability and catch you off guard through:
- Extensive contract obligations like filing cases in a particular state - like Florida
- Requiring claimants to warn the cruise line they plan to file a lawsuit.
If you were seriously injured in a cruise ship accident you need to take certain steps to preserve your legal rights. Cruise line operators and their employees are trained to act in a way that protects the cruise line from legal liability. If you are an injured passenger due to the negligence of a cruise line operator, there are several things you can do to help preserve your potential legal claim for your injuries.
In the past, what to do after a cruise ship accident might not have been a topic many people concerned themselves with before embarking on a cruise. However, in light of the number of serious shipboard injuries and recent cruise ship accidents and disasters, it is an appropriate thought to have and it is a good idea to know what to do if you or a loved one are injured on a cruise. Of course, hiring a lawyer with experience pursuing legal claims against cruise lines is the ultimate course of action.
What Are Some of the Most Common Lawsuits Allegations?
The passengers' claims are personal and specific, alleging:
- Cruise lines were being negligent in not modifying their cancellation policies to allow passengers to cancel their ocean cruises
- Passengers suffered emotional distress
- Cruise lines potentially exposed passengers to various diseases (including COVID-19), which can be fatal
- Cruise lines failed to notify passengers of the high risk of being infected with viruses/ bacteria on the company's cruise ships
- Passengers were infected by contaminated food or unsanitary conditions
- Slips and falls related to wet floors, water slides, and more
- Passengers suffered the loss of civil liberties
- Passengers were assaulted aboard the ship
- Families had a loved one die from various causes (like falling overboard).
Recovering Damages by Filing a Cruise Ship Personal Injury Claim
Taking a cruise line to court is more complicated than taking most U.S.-based companies to court because, with the sale of each cruise, cruise lines impose a ticket-passenger contract, limiting where and how a passenger can sue. Some violations that occur on international waters are also governed by complex and longstanding maritime laws.
Cruise ship owners and operators owe passengers a duty of care. It is the responsibility of the cruise line to ensure that no unreasonable risks are present on a vessel that can cause injury to a passenger. When these responsibilities are not met, the cruise line or operators have been determined to be negligent, we can fight for you.
If you've been injured or experienced severe health issues from your time on a cruise ship, we may be able to pursue compensation for:
- Current and future medical costs
- Current and future rehabilitation costs
- Loss of wages (including future wages)
- Inhibited earning capacity
- Wrongful death claims
- Pain and suffering
Because every case is unique, and the circumstances regarding your injuries may be different from those of another case, the value of your claim cannot be determined until a thorough examination is conducted by our knowledgeable attorney.
If you or a family member was injured while on a cruise, our Miami injury lawyer has the experience and resources you need to fight for the compensation you deserve.