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Coronavirus Cruise Ship Lawyers Handling Cases Nationwide

Coral Springs, Florida: For many people, taking a cruise is a wonderful way to unwind and get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But the recent outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has dramatically changed all of this. Many people have fallen ill on cruises, and some have even died as a result of likely COVID-19 infections.

If you or a loved one became ill from coronavirus on a cruise ship, you should contact our Coronavirus Cruise Ship Attorneys immediately for a free consultation. Since we continue to operate remotely throughout the pandemic, you don’t even have to come into our office. Our attorneys can speak with you over the phone and send you documents via e-mail so you can stay safe in the comfort of your own home.

As injury lawyers located in South Florida, we are very familiar with cruise ship injury cases. Many cruise ships depart from Miami or Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale. And generally, lawsuits against cruise ships must be filed in the location designated in your ticket. This frequently means that venue lies in the federal court in Miami, Florida. So even if you don’t live in Florida (or even the United States), there is a fair chance that any lawsuit against the cruise line would have to be filed in the federal district court in Miami-Dade County. Our attorneys are conveniently based in Coral Springs, Florida, which is only about an hour away from the Miami district court.

Coronavirus has Spread Among Passengers on Numerous Cruise Ships

In recent months, we have heard countless reports of people becoming ill with flu-like symptoms on cruise ships. For example, on the Holland America ship Zaandam, nearly 200 passengers and crew members fell ill, many potentially as a result of coronavirus. Tragically, multiple passengers passed away while the ship was out at sea. Numerous other ships have had passengers test positive for COVID-19, including the Grand Princess, Ruby Princess, Ovation of the Seas, and many others.

Cruise ships are often referred to as floating petri dishes because of the rapid spread of germs and illnesses on the ships. Infectious disease doctors had spoken of the risk of gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases on cruise ships even before coronavirus. Long before the coronavirus outbreak, cruise ships had widespread health problems. Over the past decade alone, thousands of people reportedly became sick with vomiting or diarrhea on multiple cruise ships. And in the last few years, a number of cruise ships experienced norovirus outbreaks. As a result of the way norovirus spread so easily and rapidly on cruise ships, cruise lines knew or should have known that the same threat - if not worse - would be posed once coronavirus was known to be present on cruise ships.

Unfortunately, cruise ships are hotbeds for the transmission of coronavirus. Due to the close quarters on cruises, COVID-19 can be easily and quickly spread from passenger to passenger (or crew member) on the ship. Whether in living, dining, or recreation areas, people are packed so tightly together on cruises (where social distancing is essentially impossible) and thus at increased risk of becoming infected.

One of the disconcerting things about coronavirus is that people don’t even have to come into physical contact with one another in order to transmit the virus. It can spread through droplets such as mucus or saliva. Let’s say an infected person coughs or sneezes and one of those droplets get onto some surface (like a steel railing or a dining table) on the cruise ship, the virus can live on that surface for hours or longer. During that time, any number of people on board might touch the surface and be in danger of infection.

Sadly, the cruise ships are often ill-prepared to provide adequate medical treatment to persons who become sick during the cruise. And we’ve seen that many ships failed to take adequate precautions to contain the spread of coronavirus. Some ships even neglected to quarantine or evacuate ill passengers and instead allowed them to travel freely throughout the ship, potentially leading to further unnecessary spread of the virus. Some ships were slow to report the potential outbreak of coronavirus on their ship, and they failed to ensure timely testing of passengers. The numerous failures of various cruise ships potentially led to many additional persons becoming infected.

Our Coronavirus Cruise Ship Lawyers are available to handle cases where persons have become ill or even died after contracting COVID-19 on board a cruise ship.

Cruise Lines are Responsible for Their Negligence or Recklessness

Even in these uncertain times, it is important to remember that cruise lines - whether Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Princes Cruises, or any of the others - are responsible for maintaining reasonably safe conditions on the ship for their passengers and crew members during the entire duration of the trip. This means that if you became sick after becoming infected with coronavirus on a cruise ship, you may be entitled to financial compensation if your illness was caused by the cruise line’s negligence or recklessness. Our Coronavirus Cruise Ship Attorneys are able to speak with you about the damages you may be able to pursue against the cruise line, including for medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Many Cruise Ships Failed to Cease Operations Even After Warnings About Coronavirus

On February 4, 2020, coronavirus was confirmed to have spread on the Diamond Princess cruise ship. The Japanese government ordered the ship quarantined at that time. By February 20, there were 634 confirmed cases of coronavirus on the Diamond Princess. Thus, cruise companies were on notice back in February 2020 of the risk of coronavirus spread on board their ships. Nonetheless, most companies continued regular operations for nearly another month, potentially putting their passengers at increased risk of catching coronavirus.

Even after the U.S. State Department issued a warning on March 8, 2020, instructing persons to defer cruise travel due to an increased risk of coronavirus infection, many companies continued operations until March 13 (and some even refused to give refunds, opting instead to offer only future credits).

Call us to Discuss Your Legal Rights Against Cruise Lines

Unlike most cases where a person is injured due to the negligence or recklessness of others, your legal right to bring a claim against a cruise line is largely governed by your contract with the cruise line. The fine print on your ticket contains extremely important language concerning your legal rights.

In most instances a lawsuit against a cruise line must be filed in the jurisdiction and court designated in your contract. Oftentimes, per the terms of the contract, jurisdiction lies in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami-Dade Division.

Additionally, your contract likely has a time limit on when you can file a lawsuit against the cruise line. And these time limits, which are known as statutes of limitations, are strictly enforced by courts. Because of the shortened time period in which you can file a lawsuit, it’s important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible. Further, your ticket also likely limits the time within which you must first notify the cruise line of your claim for injuries.

At Law Offices Cytryn & Velazquez, P.A., our attorneys have extensive experience representing clients in cruise ship claims. We are presently accepting new cases of persons who contracted coronavirus on cruise ships. Regrettably, cases based merely on emotional or psychological distress are usually not viable in court, due to the terms of your agreement with the cruise line. In many instances, cases against cruise lines will be limited to those cases where actual physical injury (such as contracting COVID-19) occurred. Therefore, if you or a loved one traveled on a cruise ship in February or March 2020 and contracted coronavirus, contact our Coronavirus Cruise Ship Attorneys at (877) 853-7466 for a free consultation to discuss your legal options.

Please remember that the information on this page and throughout this law firm website does not constitute and is not intended to be taken as legal advice, but instead is for general informational purposes only. If you are interested in learning more, please contact our attorneys today for a free consultation.