If you and other passengers have recently been on a cruise and have a coronavirus diagnosis, the cruise lines may be responsible for passengers who caught coronavirus, although the outcome of the case will depend on many factors.
Viruses have the ability to spread quickly among passengers and crew on cruise ships due to close quarters and many common areas. A study by the Emerging Infectious Diseases journal found that in one instance, the presence of norovirus on a cruise ship extended over six different cruises, despite sanitization of the entire ship and extensive cleaning.
Likewise, the coronavirus outbreak at the beginning of 2020 made it difficult to contain on the ships once passengers or crew introduced the virus, leading to rising infection rates and prolonged quarantine causing hardship and upset for many passengers.
Generally, you cannot just assume that a cruise line is responsible for every illness or virus you catch onboard a ship, especially if you are the only one who has an illness. The cruise line can argue that you may have already had the illness or infection before boarding. However, in the case of coronavirus that you and many others caught onboard, you may have a case.
Did the cruise line do everything it could to prevent you from catching coronavirus, for example, by implementing screening protocols for embarking crew and passengers, and by ordering employees to wear protective clothing, and sanitizing rigorously? If you can prove that the company, or employees, did not take the necessary precautions and acted in a negligent manner, and that this caused you to contract the coronavirus, you might be able to sue the cruise line for your expenses relating to the coronavirus infection.
The Spread of Coronavirus on Cruise Ships
Looking at just one ship, the Diamond Princess operated by Princess Cruise Lines, what started as a handful of people infected with coronavirus ended with more than 700 people infected and 13 dead, according to a May 2020 article by USA Today. Is the cruise line responsible for passengers who caught the coronavirus on board the Diamond Princess? Some passengers, who had to deal with the consequences of a coronavirus infection and a quarantine on the ship, believed the cruise line is responsible, and initiated lawsuits against Princess Cruise Lines, according to NBC News.
After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a warning in early March 2020, telling travelers to avoid cruise ships, cruise lines continued on their schedules, even leaving on new voyages, instead of immediately ceasing all operations and returning to home ports while they could still do so.
When the CDC then issued the no-sail order on March 14, 2020, many cruise ships actively sailing were denied entry to ports and to dock. Meanwhile, coronavirus continued to spread on ships despite quarantines.
Passengers from all over the world were left stranded on ships, enduring long quarantines and forced to stay in their cabins. Many were left in the dark about when they could hope to return to their loved ones or work commitments, with ships floating off coasts unable to dock.
If this happened to you, you may have legal recourse. Speaking to a cruise ship coronavirus lawyer can help you find out about your legal options.
Proving Responsibility of the Cruise Line
Cruise lines can somewhat hide behind their contracts and international law when it comes to responsibility and liability. When you sign a vacation contract with a cruise line, it typically includes liability waivers and restrictions on filing lawsuits, as well as time restrictions for such lawsuits. The contracts can also attempt to limit the amounts a cruise line will pay out in personal injury and other cases.
However, a court of law may not always uphold these clauses. If you can prove negligence of the cruise line without doubt, and you have gathered evidence and witnesses, you may be able to hold the cruise line responsible for your illness and damages.
Generally, for you to be able to bring a lawsuit forward, you will need to prove that the cruise line had a duty of care to you, that they breached this duty of care, and that your injury and damages were the result of this breach.
If you are successful with your lawsuit, you could receive a number of compensatory awards, such as costs for medical bills and future medical bills, lost wages and future lost wages, physical pain and suffering, and others.
Taking on a large cruise line can be daunting, but you are not alone. If you suffered adverse health effects from coronavirus, or your loved one died from catching coronavirus on a cruise ship, you could receive compensation. We are here to help you fight for justice. We can assist you with all aspects of building your case and represent you in court. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm now for a free consultation to determine whether you have a case: (800) 794-0444.