What You Need To Know Before Cruise Ships Sail Again
Before you or your loved ones set sail this winter, it’s important to bear in mind that COVID-19 lawsuits filed by crew or passengers are now nearly impossible to win. So those who contract the virus while on the cruise will not be able to accuse the cruise line of failing to protect them, at least not in the form of a lawsuit.
The COVID-19 immunity legislation passed by the Florida legislature requires all proprietors to be in “substantial compliance” with CDC recommendations. However, at the same time, the legislation prevents lawsuits so long as the proprietor can prove that they were in substantial compliance with CDC recommendations. However, even as the law requires proprietors to comply with CDC guidelines, the Governor of Florida is threatening to defund any school that requires students to wear masks. This has created a ball of confusion in which the law requires institutions and proprietors to follow CDC recommendations while the Governor of Florida is threatening to punish them if they do. So, the chances are very bad for any COVID-19 lawsuit.
Why haven’t the original lawsuits been dismissed?
Most of the original lawsuits stemming from the first infections are still active. Some lawsuits have been dismissed on the grounds that the plaintiffs could not prove physical injury. In other words, the plaintiffs who did not contract the virus and/or die on the voyage had their lawsuits dismissed. Why? Well, most states do not allow plaintiffs to sue only for emotional injuries unless the conduct is so egregious that it offends society’s delicate sensibilities (ie: never). So patients who contracted the virus and can show significant injury will be able to sue the cruise line to recover damages so long as they can prove negligence.
Cruise ships are Petri dishes for infectious disease
For those who are concerned about contracting an infectious disease, cruise ships have long been known to be major vectors, not just for the coronavirus, but any of a number of infections that break out on the cruise ship. Norovirus and stomach flus are among the most common outbreaks that occur aboard cruise ships. So something like COVID-19 that is highly infectious could break out aboard the cruise ship.
Meanwhile, the numbers of cases continue to escalate even as the vaccine is rolled out. The delta variant continues to fill hospital beds in the southern states and without social distancing or mask protocols in effect, the number of beds in these states are rapidly diminishing.
Those who do go on cruises need to be aware that even if they are vaccinated, they can still fall ill with the virus. They likely won’t be able to sue the cruise line unless they’re dumped overboard. So be careful on your next cruise and don’t go unvaccinated!
Talk to a Miami Maritime Lawyer Today
If you’ve been injured aboard a cruise ship as a passenger or crew member, you’ll need a Miami admiralty & maritime attorney to file your case. Call Michael F. Guilford today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.