Can You Sue if You Were Exposed to Coronavirus on a Cruise?

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The coronavirus pandemic already claimed the lives of thousands and brought millions across the world under its effects. In the early weeks of the outbreak, cruise passengers became some of the first to face widespread quarantine. Many incidents reported in news coverage raise questions about how the quarantine was handled, how the passengers were treated, and whether the cruise lines committed any negligence. If the cruise lines were indeed negligent, that might make them liable to passengers who contracted coronavirus (COVID-19). Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind’s cruise ship injury and illness lawyers explain how these lawsuits might work and how victims of the coronavirus might be able to seek compensation from cruise lines.

Can You Sue a Cruise Line for COVID-19 Exposure?

As of the writing of this article, exposure to the coronavirus on cruise ships has affected hundreds of individuals, but only a few lawsuits have been discussed in the news. It is unclear what the facts of each case are and whether any cruise lines were negligent in their handling of the coronavirus so far. However, as the spread of COVID-19 continues and more facts come to light, it might become apparent that cruise lines committed serious errors that could allow victims of injury and illness to sue.

When you set foot on a cruise ship, the owners and operators owe you a duty to act reasonably and avoid injury through reasonable precautions. Illness can easily spread among the close quarters of a cruise ship, and hundreds of people get sick on cruise ships each year. Cruise ships are used to preventing the spread of disease through quarantine, cleaning, and other reasonable precautions.

With the coronavirus, those reasonable precautions are being put to the test. A cruise ship could potentially be negligent in handling passengers with the virus in a few ways. Any of these could potentially lead to a lawsuit if the facts of your case show serious negligence that led to additional passenger injuries or crew member injuries:

  • Failing to screen sick passengers
  • Allowing passengers or crew that they know have coronavirus to come aboard
  • Failing to clean the ship after sick passengers leave
  • Failing to warn new passengers that the last group of passengers had coronavirus
  • Allowing healthy passengers to mingle with sick passengers
  • Failing to obey national or international calls to quarantine passengers or cancel cruises

Many of these decisions are left to the captain and the cruise line to make, not the individual crewmembers. Injuries caused by a captain’s error can often lead to lawsuits against the cruise line. Additionally, if a loved one passed away from coronavirus that they would have avoided if the cruise ship had been more careful, then you might be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit for cruise ship injuries.

Suing a Cruise Ship for Mishandling Coronavirus Cases

If you were on a ship and did get coronavirus because of it, it might not have been because of negligence. If the cruise line acted reasonably but you got sick anyway, that might not be something you can sue for. However, after the cruise ship knows you are sick, they might still need to meet certain standards in how they treat you. Failing to do so could constitute negligence that you can sue for.

Once the crew of the ship knows you are sick, they might be required to give you proper medical treatment aboard the vessel. Failing to do so could allow you to sue for medical malpractice on a cruise ship.

If you are put into quarantine, the ship and the crew will usually still need to take reasonable steps to feed you and offer you sanitary conditions and clean water. Failing to do so could further put your health and safety in jeopardy.

Damages for Being Exposed to Coronavirus (COVID-19) on a Cruise Ship

So far in the news, there have been very few cases reported regarding lawsuits for the way cruise lines have handled coronavirus cases. Various news outlets have reported a lawsuit against Princess cruises claiming $1 million in damages for injuries and illness related to how they handled the coronavirus on one of their ships. Other similar lawsuits are to be expected from other passengers of the Diamond Princess, which was quarantined off the coast of Japan. The same is true of other cruise ships and cruise lines embroiled in quarantine problems.

If you got the coronavirus because of negligent handling by a cruise line, the damages in your case might not be the same as this $1 million claim. Each case is unique, and our attorneys should review your claim to help you determine how much your case might be worth.

In many cases where a passenger is injured or falls ill because of negligence, they are entitled to damages for the expenses the injury causes them. They might also be entitled to additional damages for the pain and suffering of the injury or illness. This could mean receiving compensation for the medical expenses you faced while dealing with the coronavirus, damages for lost wages, and independent damages for the suffering of being sick. Additionally, if the cruise line committed serious negligence, you might be entitled to additional punitive damages.

Call Our Cruise Ship Injury and Illness Lawyers for a Free Case Consultation

The coronavirus pandemic is a serious issue. The CDC has suspended cruise ship travel after March 14, 2020, to ensure safety and prevent transmission. Still, many issues have already occurred that could constitute negligence on the part of various cruise lines. For help understanding whether you can sue for getting the coronavirus on a cruise ship and what the damages in your case might be worth, call us. Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind’s cruise ship injury and illness lawyers might be able to help with your case. Contact us at (305) 204-5369 to schedule a free case consultation.

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