Can You Sue if You Caught Coronavirus on a Cruise Ship?
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The coronavirus pandemic is still reaching its peak as of the writing of this article, and the CDC has halted all new cruises as of March 14, 2020. However, many cruises have already been quarantined because of coronavirus on board. This means that many passengers and crew members have already been exposed to coronavirus – and many more might still be exposed. It is up to cruise lines to ensure proper quarantine and screening procedures are followed. As such, a cruise line’s negligence could mean that you were wrongfully exposed to the coronavirus. The cruise ship injury and illness lawyers at Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. explain how some passengers and crew members might be able to sue cruise ships if they caught coronavirus on board.
Can You Sue Cruise Ships for Spreading Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Many passengers on cruise ships have already contracted coronavirus from their time on various ships. Lawsuits against Princess cruises have already been filed, and other lawsuits against cruise lines are likely to follow as more information comes out and more sick passengers are quarantined.
It is important to understand that a pandemic like the one we are going through with COVID-19 is unprecedented. As such, ideas about what a cruise ship should reasonably do in response are shifting. Cruise ships often have to deal with illness spreading on board, and many cruises have experience dealing with norovirus and other dangerous illnesses. If the cruise ship acted reasonably and worked to stop the illness from spreading, then there might be nothing you can due to sue the cruise. However, if they committed serious errors, they might be directly responsible for allowing the virus to spread.
To prove that the cruise ship did something wrong that allowed you to catch coronavirus, you must show that their actions were unreasonable. Unreasonable decisions could lead to injuries to cruise ship crewmembers and passengers. Many of these decisions will be left to the cruise line, but other mistakes could be considered captain errors that caused injury or illness. In legal terms, unreasonable actions that lead to injury are often considered “negligence.”
On top of showing that the cruise line or the captain did something unreasonably negligent, you must also show that that negligence directly caused your injuries. In some cases, nothing the cruise ship could have done would have prevented the spread of coronavirus, in which case the cruise line can’t be held responsible. However, if the only reason you caught coronavirus was because the cruise line did something wrong, you should be entitled to compensation.
If the coronavirus spread on a ship because the cruise line failed to order quarantines, failed to adequately clean the ship, or failed to screen passengers and crew before letting them on board, the spread of illness might be their fault.
Suing a Cruise Ship for Injuries While in Quarantine for Coronavirus
One major concern for many cruise ship passengers is not that they caught coronavirus in the first place. Instead, many passengers – both sick and healthy – may have faced injuries and neglect while in quarantine on cruise ships.
Cruise lines are still required to reasonably provide food, safe drinking water, medical care, and cleanly conditions on a cruise ship while passengers are in quarantine. If there is negligent medical care on a cruise ship, if the cruise line does not feed its passengers, or if the passengers are left in dangerous conditions, the cruise line could be responsible.
These kinds of issues can affect passengers who actually caught the coronavirus as well as healthy passengers stuck on a ship during a quarantine. If there is notable negligence that you can point to as the cause of your injuries or mistreatment, you might be able to hold the cruise line responsible.
These lawsuits will once again be based on legal issues of negligence. That means proving that the cruise line acted unreasonably given the situation. If the cruise ship is unable to make port to take on supplies, it might have been impossible for them to get the passengers clean food and water. However, if they did not work reasonably hard enough to get the quarantined passengers off the ship or they ignored warnings to cancel the cruise, they could be responsible.
Damages for Getting the Coronavirus on a Cruise Ship
If you did get sick from the coronavirus while you were on a cruise or you were mistreated while in quarantine, you might be entitled to damages. Some cases have already been filed claiming at least $1 million in damages, but it is unclear if these damages are reasonable. It is important to discuss your case with an experienced cruise ship injury and illness lawyer who can help you determine whether you have claim and what your case is worth.
Many cruise injury and illness cases entitle passengers to claim damages for any expenses they faced because of the negligent treatment. This could include damages for medical care and lost wages related to your injuries or illness. In addition, you can often claim compensation for the pain and suffering you faced. In cases where the cruise line was especially negligent, you might also be able to claim additional punitive damages against the at-fault cruise line.
Call Our Cruise Ship Injury and Illness Lawyers for a Free Case Consultation
If you contracted coronavirus on a cruise because the cruise line or the crew was negligent, you might be entitled to sue the cruise line. Moreover, if you suffered injuries because of negligent conditions in quarantine on a ship, you might be entitled to damages. For a free legal consultation on your case, call Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. Our cruise ship injury and illness lawyers can be reached at (305) 204-5369.
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Brett Rivkind is a lawyer that not only cares but also a lawyer that makes a difference. Whether its speaking in congress to help promote safety awareness in legislation or representing clients in court seeking compensation for their injuries, Brett Rivkind is passionate about his dedication toward both promoting safety at sea and helping clients in need who have been harmed at sea.