As news of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spread throughout international media, so did stories of passengers trapped aboard cruise ships stricken with this serious illness.
If you or a loved one were among those infected on a cruise ship, then you should:
- Ensure that you receive the medical attention you need
- Take necessary precautions to minimize the risk of exposing others to the coronavirus
- Consider whether legal action is warranted based on the actions (or inactions) of the cruise line responsible for your condition
- Call a lawyer to undertake any legal action that you believe is justified
If your case is successful, you may be able to recover the cost of your medical bills and other associated losses.
Cruise Ships Abide by a Different Legal Standard
When you board a cruise ship, you generally become subject to a legal standard that is, in some ways, different from the legal code on America’s mainland. The Death on the High Seas Act has been in effect since 1920, and it generally limits the liability that cruise ships––and many other vessels––face in the wake of a passenger’s death.
If you decide to move forward with legal action against the cruise line, your lawyer will need a comprehensive understanding of maritime law and how it applies to your situation. The crux of your case will rest on negligence. Your legal team will need to show that because the cruise line did not take necessary precautions to prevent your illness, they are responsible for your losses.
Several cases have emerged in which cruise line companies:
- Failed to warn passengers about previous cases of the coronavirus that occurred onboard
- Failed to respond to emerging outbreaks in a timely fashion, either by canceling trips or implementing proper social distancing methods
- Were unprepared for a virus outbreak of this magnitude, which makes decisions to postpone quarantines a sign of negligence
- Put passengers at danger of infection or death because of one or more poor decisions regarding the coronavirus and their passengers
While cruise ships are typically protected from class-action lawsuits, some clauses allow passengers to sue in situations where they are placed in immediate danger. In this ever-evolving legal landscape, cruise lines could be held responsible just for exposing passengers to the infection, according to an article from USA Today.
Cruise lines have a duty of care not to put their passengers at risk of harm. By allowing ships to knowingly transport passengers who were infected, the cruise line could be found negligent for breaching their duty of care. For this reason, they could be responsible for travelers’ incurred losses.
Coronavirus Infections Take a Large Toll
The cost of you or your loved one’s coronavirus infection may be even greater than most if you are in a high-risk group.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), groups at higher risk of severe illness include people who:
- Have preexisting cardiovascular or respiratory health conditions
- Qualify as obese
- Are 65 years or older
- Have diabetes
- Live in high-concentration environments, such as a nursing home
- Have kidney or liver complications
One of the ways that cruise lines could have promoted passenger safety was by barring these populations from traveling. Yet, because they did not, these higher-risk people may be able to collect compensation from the cruise line by proving that the company did not take measures to promote their safety.
Coronavirus Can Result in Both Economic and Noneconomic Damages
Contracting the coronavirus can impact more than just your health; it can have far-reaching effects on your finances, emotional wellbeing, and quality of life.
If your case is successful, you may be able to collect the following losses:
- Medical bills, likely stemming from a prolonged hospital stay and extensive treatment
- Lost wages, since you were probably unable to return to work right away
- Reduced earning capacity, if the disease left you with impairments that prevented you from returning to your preferred place of employment
- Pain and suffering for the emotional trauma the illness has placed on you and your family
The uncertainty that may arise from being infected and stuck on a cruise ship could also be factored into any legal action that you ultimately bring. While cruise ships can be held liable for economic damages under maritime law, it is unclear how courts will treat coronavirus-related infection cases.
Call Our Team at Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers Today
Our loved ones were passengers on a cruise ship where a coronavirus outbreak occurred, and we take every case of infection personally. Our partners will provide honest representation that feels like you are working with family.
If you or a loved one caught coronavirus on a cruise, call our team at Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers today at (855) 529-0269 for a free consultation.