Hurdles Facing Cruise Ship Passengers in Coronavirus Lawsuits
You’ve likely read at least one article in the past few months discussing the fateful voyages of the Grand Princess and Princess Diamond. These were among the first two cruise ships reporting coronavirus cases in the United States. Passengers aboard both vessels have filed lawsuits against Princess Cruises and their parent company, Carnival Cruise. Of all the major cruise lines in the world, Carnival is facing the most coronavirus lawsuits.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs have found a clause in the ticket contract that will allow them to pursue damages for their clients. Since the ticket stub states that Carnival is liable in cases where it places its passengers in danger, the clause could be interpreted favorably for pursuing coronavirus lawsuits. However, that isn’t the only obstacle that’s facing plaintiffs in these lawsuits. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the laws that are being discussed in Congress and how they could impact coronavirus lawsuits.
Immunity from Coronavirus Lawsuits
Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, wants to give businesses immunity from coronavirus lawsuits. This would include lawsuits filed by employees that would typically be covered by workers’ compensation insurance and lawsuits filed by visitors to a business who contract the virus. In other words, if you contract coronavirus at work or on a cruise ship, you would be barred from any type of recovery.
This legislation, if passed, would destroy the coronavirus plaintiffs lawsuits against Carnival and a host of other companies, including Walmart and Tyson Foods, Inc. that have lost workers during the pandemic. Essentially, it would take away the plaintiff’s chances of filing a lawsuit and recovering damages if they lost a loved one due to coronavirus.
Negligence in Coronavirus Cases
Carnival is accused of knowingly allowing passengers aboard their ship after allowing passengers with symptoms of coronavirus disembark from a previous voyage. The passengers aboard the second voyage are the ones who have filed lawsuits against Carnival. Of course, this was in the early days of the virus. No state of emergency had been declared and there was only one shelter-in-place order in San Francisco at the time of the initial outbreak. Nonetheless, Carnival had foreknowledge of the fact that cruise ships are often vectors for infectious illness and we knew what the symptoms of the virus were prior to that voyage. Finally, the virus was wreaking havoc in China and Italy at the time the second voyage set sail.
Plaintiffs believe that Carnival put the interests of their pocketbook ahead of the interests of their customers. They would have had to refund tickets and close down the ship. Instead, they allowed the passengers aboard and watched as hundreds became infected and several died.
Talk to a Florida Maritime Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured aboard a cruise ship, the process for filing a lawsuit is somewhat different than other lawsuits. You need an attorney who is specially trained to deal with maritime cases. Call Miami admiralty & maritime lawyer Michael F. Guilford today to learn more about how we can help.