Disney Faces Four Federal Lawsuits Related To COVID Exposure During Cruise
Disney Cruise Line is facing four federal lawsuits with plaintiffs in Utah and Arizona alleging that they and their children contracted the coronavirus aboard a Disney cruise. The incident occurred last March, apparently, just before the country-wide lockdown was put into place. Early reports of the virus in the U.S. came from cruise ships that had tracked the virus to the United States. Similar incidents in Australia also tracked the origin of the virus to cruise lines. However, the virus would have eventually made its way to our shores regardless of whether the cruise lines tracked it here. So then the question becomes, how do you prove that the cruise line was negligent?
It’s typically quite difficult to prove how or where you contracted a virus. A cruise ship is one place where it isn’t difficult at all to prove. Because the cruise ship is a self-contained ecosystem, the cruise line has precious few options when it comes to fabricating a defense. A restaurant, for example, can claim that you got food poisoning at home or from somewhere else. But a cruise line can’t claim that you contracted a virus in your home. Hence, contagion lawsuits are much easier to prove when a cruise ship is involved than other situations.
Elements of Negligence
When you can prove where you acquired a contagious illness, you then have to prove that the party was negligent and therefore responsible for your illness. A successful claim for negligence would show that the cruise line had reason to believe that their passengers or crew members were ill with the virus, and they boarded more passengers regardless. The crew of a cruise ship is not expected to have medical knowledge of a novel virus. However, the company should have had a policy in place for dealing with the burgeoning outbreak. Instead, they boarded more passengers exposing them to illness. While we don’t know if that’s the case with Disney Cruises, we do know that a successful personal injury lawsuit against Disney Cruises would require the plaintiff to show that an injury to guests was foreseeable. In other words, the passengers can argue that the cruise line’s staff should have known better than to board another voyage while places like China and Italy were triaging patients to ensure medical services didn’t run out.
If the plaintiffs can prove that the negative consequence was foreseeable, they can then prove negligence against the cruise line. Meanwhile, the cruise line will start right at the beginning and force the passengers to prove that they most likely acquired the disease aboard the ship, and the cruise line staff failed to take adequate safety precautions.
Talk to a Miami Maritime Attorney Today
Incidents that happen on the high seas require specialized lawyers to file lawsuits on behalf of injured plaintiffs. Michael F. Guilford is an experienced Miami admiralty & maritime attorney who has helped both crew and passengers recover damages related to their injuries. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.