Cruise Operator Negligence at the Core of Recent COVID-19 Lawsuit
One of many early signs that the novel coronavirus COVID-19 would develop into a pandemic was the explosion of cases among cruise ship passengers, both on trips originating in the US and in other countries. It may not come as a shock to find that some of the sick guests have resorted to legal action to recover various losses they suffered as victims. ABC News covered one such case in a May 18, 2020 article, which outlined the experiences of a New York couple who spent weeks aboard a ship allegedly carrying infected passengers. Many other plaintiffs have joined in the suit that was recently filed in a Miami federal court, requesting class action status in the case.
Whether injuries result because of a cruise ship accident or under the extraordinary circumstances of COVID-19, passengers do have rights. They might seem on the surface to be typical personal injury cases, but these claims are far more complicated – which is why retaining a Florida cruise ship injuries lawyer is crucial. A summary of the lawsuit and relevant legal issues may be helpful.
Factual Background and Allegations of Negligence: The named plaintiffs in the recently filed lawsuit expected to spend two weeks on the cruise ship, then fly back home from their final port-of-call in Chile. Their harrowing experience began when they were refused entry, since officials were only allowing Chilean citizens to come ashore. The couple was forced to remain aboard for a month, during which time they witnessed numerous acts that they allege establish a breach of duty to ensure the safety of passengers. Specific acts of negligence alleged include:
- Not making changes to the cruise itinerary in light of coronavirus becoming a pandemic;
- Noncompliance with guidance on COVID-19 that was issued weeks in advance;
- Refusal to enforce physical distancing measures;
- Allowing passengers to dine at buffets;
- Continuing with regular social programming for dances, comedy shows, nightclub events, and other entertainment;
- Neglecting to quarantine passengers and crew that exhibited symptoms;
- Not requiring crew and passengers to wear masks;
- Going forward with an all-hands salute to health care workers, which many passengers attended – elbow-to-elbow with crew and other staff; and,
- Many other forms of negligent conduct.
Damages in a Cruise Injuries Claim: If you were hurt or developed a medical condition because of conditions aboard a cruise, you can recover many of the same damages as other personal injury cases. By establishing the elements of negligence, it’s possible to obtain amounts for your medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering, and more. However, you should note that there are strict time restrictions that are typically shorter than state statutes of limitations. It’s likely that your contract for passage requires you to notify the company and file a claim within 60 days.
A Florida Cruise Ship Injuries Attorney Can Provide Additional Information
If you suffer from a medical condition related to COVID-19 or any other hazardous conditions aboard a cruise ship, time is of the essence to consult with an experienced Florida cruise ship accident lawyer. Our team at Freidin Brown, P.A. is knowledgeable in the relevant laws and legal concepts, so please contact our firm to learn more about your options. We can set up a free consultation at our offices to review your situation.