Can I Sue a Cruise Line if I Get an Illness on Their Ship?

Can I Sue a Cruise Line if I Get an Illness on Their Ship?

Can I Sue a Cruise Line if I Get an Illness on Their Ship?Cruise ships are meant to bring fun and excitement for those seeking a getaway from home. However, as with anything, things can go wrong – and in this case, that could include becoming ill on a cruise ship due to many different causes. Recently, a California cruise ship known as the Celebrity Infinity made news headlines when Gastrointestinal Illness (GI) gripped 112 people on its decks. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that these people were suffering vomiting, diarrhea, and other symptoms at the hands of norovirus. Celebrity Cruises took immediate action and increased cleaning and disinfection procedures, but the fact of the matter remains that people ended up sick during a time in which they were supposed to be enjoying themselves. So what happens when these unfortunate events take place?

When Too Much is Too Much
Even one report of GI on a cruise ship is seen as a bad thing, because these lines work together to prevent these unfortunate happenings as much as possible. However, these are certain procedures to take. Cruise ships often participate in what is known as the Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP). They are required to report the total number of GI cases reported by the medical staff before one of their ships arrives at a U.S. port when sailing from a foreign port. Updates from cruise ship outbreaks are posted if they fall within the purview of VSP, are sailing on voyages from 3-21 days, are carrying 100 or more passengers, are cruise ships where more than 3% of passengers reported GI symptoms, or are GI outbreaks of public health significance.

The CDC has a helpful manual in which standards are placed for determining how well ships are operated and maintained as far as sanitation standards are concerned. Keeping people healthy is a huge priority. VSP inspectors are urged to constantly be on their toes about these inspections and following the best standard of care.

Negligence on Cruise Ships
When a person becomes ill on a cruise ship line, negligence may be the cause. There are typically three main diseases that can occur on cruises that are the result of negligence including nororvirus, food poisoning, and Legionnaire’s Disease. The following are reviewed here:

  • Norovirus: This is also known as the stomach flu, though it is not related to influenza. It is very contagious and can quickly be spread from person to person, which is especially bad news for a cruise line. It can also be spread by contaminated food and water.
  • Food Poisoning: The direst result of negligence, this unfortunately common thing happens sometimes when an ill food preparer has negligently failed to wash their hands properly and proceeded to handle the food.
  • Legionnaire’s Disease: This disease has a fatality rate of 15% and effects can be felt for years if survival occurs. It comes from a bacterium that grows in warm water (such as hot tubs) and can be killed by hot water. One of these outbreaks on a cruise ship can be the result of negligence, if perhaps heating pools and hot tubs are not heated sufficiently.

So, How do I Prove My Case?
Let’s say the unfortunate happened and you ended up getting ill on a cruise ship during what was supposed to be a fun vacation. It may be extremely hard to prove your case due to the fact that people become sick everywhere and all the time. Unless there is a mass outbreak on the ship, then it may be difficult to prove how you got sick. You must be able to prove that the ship was negligent and that the negligence played a part in causing your illness. For this, it is important and essential to gather great evidence. You may want to pay attention to how many other people have gotten sick on the ship as well, whether the crew seems to be taking precautions against illness, whether the crew makes any health announcements, or whether any passengers seem to be quarantined.

It is also a good idea to pay attention to the statute of limitations on being able to file a claim against the cruise ship. This is a deadline for filing a lawsuit against the defendant and is often anywhere from two to six years. It can be a lot stricter in cases where a cruise line is involved. You should pay special attention to when you need to give formal written notice of your claim and more. This is why it is vital to speak to a personal injury attorney about your case. You can call WTW today for a consultation. Being located in California, they have the experience and knowledge you need to handle your cruise line illness case. Tons of cruise ships leave from California each year and accidents can be inevitable at times. We are looking forward to hearing from you!


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