Nashville may seem a long way from Wuhan in China, the epicenter of the global coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak which has now spread to countries and killed over 2,000 people. Nashville residents may take comfort in the swift actions of the U.S. government that has probably prevented, or at least slowed down, the arrival of the virus in any numbers on home soil. However, the situation is changing daily. There is still too little known about the virus, how it first got into the human population and how it is transmitted. There is now concern that people may still be capable of transmitting the virus even if they show no symptoms after what has been the generally agreed self-quarantine period of two weeks.
Some cruise ships have become “incubators” – who is to blame?
Anyone who has been watching the news would have noticed that many cruise ship tourists have unwittingly been caught up with the spread of COVID-19. The daily drama on board Princess Cruises’ “Diamond Princess” marooned just off the coast of Yokohama in Japan has often made headline news as the number of guests on board that were found to have been infected with the disease increased dramatically every day. By the time that the U.S., Europe and Australian governments sent planes to get their citizens off the ship, over 630 had been diagnosed (out of a ship passenger total of around 3,000) with the virus and sadly 2 had died. It seemed that the ship had indeed become an incubator for the disease. In the case of the Diamond Princess, the source seems to have been a single infected the guest who had boarded the ship in Hong Kong.
Did the company do the best it could have done after the first cases of the disease had been diagnosed? Could the death of the 2 elderly cruise ship guests been prevented? There are so many questions and accusations flying around the very fluid, current situation that there is no firm answers to questions like this.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans go on cruise holidays every year, including, no doubt, many resident of Tennessee. The vast majority of cruise ship tourists have a great relaxing vacation and come back home with fond memories. However, there have also been many cases when things haven’t gone to plan and some guests end up in hospital, seriously injured or even dead. Modern cruise ships are often equipped with accommodation for thousands of people at one time, like floating small cities, but that doesn’t mean that they always have adequate medical and emergency facilities to cope with a situation like the current one.
Filing a claim against a cruise line for negligence:
One of the more challenging aspects of a claim against a cruise line company is that if you get sick or are injured outside of U.S. territorial waters, you may not be covered by U.S. personal injury laws, even if the cruise ship sails out of a U.S. port like Miami or New York. In fact, you may have to fight your case, however justified you think it is, through an overseas court. Cruise lines have often justified inaction over claims against them in the past by referring to clauses and small print in their travel agreements that exonerate them because of “an act of God.”
Proving negligence is the key to any cruise line claim
The key to the potential success of any claim against a cruise line because of an injury or illness that has occurred dung a tour is whether it can be proved that negligence has occurred. According to a report by Bloomberg, the number of claims against cruise lines with headquarters in U.S. coastal cities has actually dropped off since the heights in the period from 2001 to 2006, when there were over 400 federal lawsuits against cruise lines per year. 188 lawsuits were filed in federal courts in 2017, although it seems that litigation may now be on the increase again.
You have a right to feel safe and secure on a cruise ship
No-one in their right mind thinks that they will get sick or injured on a cruise ship, but injuries and illnesses do unfortunately happen. Sometimes it is the cruise line’s fault and you then have the legal right to sue the company for negligence and seek damages to pay for unexpected medical care, lost earnings and the pain and suffering experienced. If you are a resident of Tennessee, contact an accident attorney at the Keith Williams Law Group for aggressive representation on your behalf. You can contact Keith Williams at (615) 313-3999.