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Virginia Couple Files Lawsuit Against Royal Caribbean After Severe Burn Injuries


A Virginia couple has filed a lawsuit against Royal Caribbean and an excursion company after they sustained major burn injuries after a volcano erupted. Erupting volcanoes and other natural phenomena are major tourist attractions to cruise lines that offer voyages to see the Northern Lights and other natural events.

In this case, the cruise line passengers were visiting the White Island Volcano in New Zealand. On December 9, 2019, the volcano erupted. Twenty-one people were killed while others suffered severe burn injuries. The Virginia couple was on their honeymoon when the volcano erupted. They told the press that they sustained burns to 54% and 23% of their body.

Where’s the Negligence? 

If you agree to go to an island where a volcano is about to erupt, it’s hard to blame anyone else when you get burned, right? Well, informed consent is the key here. Not only would the cruise-goers need to know that the risk of death or injury was high but also agree that they accept that risk.

So, this is basically a “failure to warn” lawsuit. The cruise company is alleged to have exposed its passengers to unnecessary danger that they were not prepared for.

“Active” Volcano 

The White Island brochure advertises the volcano as “one of the most active in the world”. That could mean that it’s erupted once over the past 10,000 years. This particular volcano had erupted multiple times over the past 10 years and scientists were aware of increased volcanic activity. The cruise line also failed to tell passengers there was a considerable earthquake in the area that could contribute to another eruption.

The lawsuit notes that Royal Caribbean has an active duty to warn passengers about potential dangers they may be exposed to during the voyage. In this case, Royal Caribbean is alleged to have failed in that duty of care and will face several wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits for its failure.

Assessing Damages 

The couple will be entitled to recover damages related to any medical expenses they incurred as a result of the volcano burns. They will also be entitled to recover damages related to lost wages and missed time from work they would have received had they not been injured.

But the majority of their judgment will be determined by two questions. The first is: How do their burn injuries impact their overall quality of life? As an example, let’s say the couple can no longer have sex. Loss of consortium is a compensable injury under the law. Permanent disfigurement is another consideration. Lastly, burn injuries are quite painful, so the jury will consider their physical pain and suffering when determining compensation.

Talk to a Miami Maritime Lawyer Today 

If you’ve been injured at sea, call Miami admiralty & maritime attorney Michael F. Guilford, P.A. today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.



  • American Association for Justice
  • Florida Justice Association
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  • American Association for Justice

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Michael F. Guilford, P.A.

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