Coronavirus, Cruise Ships, and Your Legal Rights

Posted on Friday, May 1st, 2020 at 3:52 pm    

What was supposed to be a one- to two-week cruise for sun, fun, and a little R&R has turned into an extended nightmare for many people who embarked on a cruise recently. Ships are the perfect environment to foster the spread of infection, and the recent coronavirus outbreak has proven that fact.

It is hard to keep tabs on the number of people who have contracted coronavirus while on a cruise because the numbers just keep going up. What is not hard to track, however, are the ways that cruise line companies are trying to dodge their responsibility when it comes to compensating passengers who contracted the disease while aboard one of these ships.

Louis A. Vucci P.A. breaks down why it can be difficult to hold cruise lines accountable and what you can do about it.

Why Is Suing a Cruise Line So Difficult?

It can be very difficult for passengers of cruise liners to protect their legal rights when something goes amiss aboard a ship. Why is that? Unfortunately, many cruise lines have legal protections because they are not, in fact, U.S. companies. These companies are incorporated in foreign countries, which means they are not bound by U.S. employment standards, Occupational Safety and Health Act regulations, and other food and safety regulations.

The rules that have been put in place to protect Americans at work, on the roads, or at businesses, simply don’t apply to cruise lines. This isn’t just a niche problem that applies to small-time cruise lines either. News reports highlight the fact that Carnival is incorporated in Panama, Royal Caribbean is incorporated in Liberia, and Norwegian Cruise Lines is incorporated in Bermuda.

Major cruise lines have skirted U.S. laws and regulations by incorporating outside of U.S. jurisdiction, and that makes it more difficult for Americans who have suffered at their hands to seek justice.

What Can be Done to Help Cruise Line Passengers?

While being incorporated outside of the U.S. makes things more difficult and complicated for passengers and their attorneys, there are still ways to hold them accountable. It’s possible to recover damages by arguing to a judge that the cruise line in question knew their actions were “unreasonable under the circumstances.”

Cruise lines may have been negligent by ignoring the mounting evidence about the dangers the coronavirus pandemic posed to the public and failing to adequately warn their passengers and take steps to protect them.

There are even some maritime laws that could come into play like the Death on the High Seas Act. While it is an extraordinarily old law, attorneys are using every resource available to them to help passengers impacted by the coronavirus while out at sea. It may seem like an uphill battle, but it is a battle worth fighting.

Contact a Coronavirus Cruise Ship Lawyer Today

Louis A. Vucci P.A. is committed to helping people impacted by the coronavirus protect their legal rights from massive cruise line companies more interested in profits than people. While this virus may have changed the nature of how we work, it hasn’t changed how hard we work. We are here to fight for your rights and give you legal advice about all our options.

Contact Louis A. Vucci P.A. at (786) 375-0344 for a free consultation or fill out this form online. You may be eligible to recover compensation if you contracted coronavirus while aboard a cruise line.


Help for Coronavirus Cruise Ship Passengers

Posted on Thursday, April 16th, 2020 at 6:37 pm    

Louis A. Vucci P.A. is here to help those who have been affected by the coronavirus while aboard a cruise ship. Many ships have spent weeks at sea, unable to dock, and as cases have proliferated onboard, many cruise ship passengers have become seriously ill or died as a result of the virus. We know that many passengers impacted by the coronavirus are struggling to understand their legal rights.

If you were affected by the coronavirus while aboard a cruise ship, you may be entitled to compensation. We are available to review your case and can help you decide if filing a lawsuit is right for you. You can rest assured that at Louis A. Vucci P.A., we are continuing to work hard on our cases while practicing social distancing to minimize the spread of the virus.

If you are a current client, please use email as your primary method of contacting us. If you are a prospective client who has been impacted by coronavirus on a cruise ship, please fill out this form so that we can set up a 100% free consultation either via phone or email.

What Is the Coronavirus?

Coronavirus is a viral infection that emerged in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. Since then, it has spread across the world. As of April 14th, 2020, nearly 2 million people have tested positive, and over 120,000 have died, according to estimates by the World Health Organization.

The most common symptoms of coronavirus usually develop two to fourteen days after exposure to the virus. These symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

More severe symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain/pressure
  • Confusion
  • Blue tint to lips/face

If you experience coronavirus symptoms, it’s important to contact your physician right away, and always call in advance before going to a medical facility.

Coronavirus on Cruise Ships

Coronavirus spreads very easily, and cruise ships have become viral hotbeds due to the large number of people in close proximity to each other. In February and March of 2020, dozens of cruise ships began to report suspected and confirmed cases of coronavirus among their passengers and crew. Many countries were hesitant to let these ships dock at their ports due to fear of the virus spreading, resulting in confusion and delayed responses.

Cruise ship company responses to the coronavirus raise many legal issues. While it is notoriously difficult to prevent the coronavirus from spreading, there are steps that cruise ship operators could have taken early on to diminish or prevent the spread of infection. Cruise ships have a duty to take reasonable steps to protect their passengers from harm. There is evidence that several cruise ship operators were slow to respond to outbreaks by continuing to sail during the outbreak and not implementing social distancing measures.

Contact A Coronavirus Cruise Ship Lawyer 

At Louis A. Vucci P.A., we understand the impact that the coronavirus has had on cruise ship passengers who were aboard during coronavirus outbreaks. We are working tirelessly to continue to fight for our clients, and are exploring new and innovative ways to stay in contact with our clients during these difficult times.

As of April 12th, 2020, thousands of passengers remain stuck at sea aboard cruise ships. If you were or are currently aboard a cruise ship during the coronavirus pandemic, contact Louis A. Vucci P.A. today by filling out this form to set up a free consultation to talk about your options. You may be eligible for compensation.


Coronavirus and Cruises

Posted on Wednesday, March 4th, 2020 at 4:48 am    

A cruise should be one of the most relaxing ways that you and your family can vacation. Every cruise line bills their cruise experience as a refreshing one – with exciting excursions, onboard entertainment, and an endless supply of tropical beverages.

According to the Cruise Line International Association, more than 32 million passengers are expected to board in 2020. While millions have booked their deposits and counted down the days on their calendars, cruises in 2020 aren’t as fun as they might seem.

The coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is a rapidly evolving virus causing respiratory disease and, in extreme cases, death. While the first case appeared in Wuhan City, China, the virus is spreading across the world, with cases popping up even in the United States. On January 31, the Health and Human Services Department declared the virus a public health emergency.

The CDC has confirmed that the virus appears to be spread person-to-person. That means that any location where people from across the world cross paths, such as airports or cruise ships, is going to be extremely dangerous for the general public.

Unfortunately for cruise-goers, the highly contagious virus has already affected numerous cruise lines. With people from all over the globe gathered in one enclosure, touching every guardrail, coughing in closed rooms, and shaking hands with every stranger – it’s no wonder cruise ships are a hotbed for spreading disease.

Affected Cruise Ships

On February 14, Carnival Corporation, one of the most massive cruise lines in the world, docked its Westerdam ship in Cambodia to the relief of many. The cruise ship had been denied entry to multiple ports after concerns of the virus spreading. They finally were allowed port in Cambodia, and the cruise-goers seemed to feel as if all was in the clear.

However, just two days later, an American passenger tested positive for the coronavirus. Who knows how many others came into contact with the American while on the ship? And now, all of those passengers are dispersed across Asia, heading to various airports in an attempt to get home.

Carnival is in even hotter water for another ship currently affected by the coronavirus. The Princess Diamond, a luxury cruise ship parked outside Yokohama, Japan, has been quarantined for two weeks. Thousands of people, both sick and not sick, have been stuck in their rooms, receiving meals by mask-wearing cruise employees. There are more than 540 confirmed cases aboard the ship, and quarantining the infected with all of the other passengers leaves room for hundreds of more passengers to be potentially infected.

One lawyer, an expert in global health law, has suggested that the quarantine has turned the ship into a “boiling pot of transmission.” Many other health experts question the measures that Carnival is currently taking.

The fear of spreading the coronavirus has led to many situations like these popping up over the last few months. In Italy, 6,000 passengers are currently being quarantined on their cruise ship even after preliminary tests show that there is no confirmation of the virus. One couple in question had recently been in Hong Kong, and the cruise line worried that allowing anyone off the ship could further spread infection.

What Should You Do?

Before you ever board a cruise ship, it’s important to call your healthcare insurance and see what kind of coverage you have for offshore medical occurrences. If you’re not covered, it might be a good idea to purchase travel insurance in the unfortunate case of needing medical assistance in a foreign country.

It’s also good to take a look at the medical accommodations provided by the cruise line. All cruise ships are required to have at least one medical professional on board. American-docking cruises have even stricter guidelines, demanding that the ship also provide an examination room, an intensive care room, and lab processing equipment.

It’s important to note that while the ships are required to have a doctor on board, they won’t usually have a specialist, nor will they likely have someone prepared to deal with something as medically intense as the coronavirus.

Another essential step to take pre-boarding is to look up the cruise ship with the VSP. The VSP, or the Vessel Sanitation Program, is run by the CDC and inspects ships for infection outbreaks. They then rank the ships from 1-100 for sanitation safety. Anything under a score of 85 is not recommended. The VSP also requires that ships report any outbreaks 24 hours before docking in an American port.

Once on the ship, it’s important that you do everything you can to keep yourself from getting sick. Because of the number of people that touch everything inside the ship, it’s crucial that you wash your hands frequently. If you notice someone who appears to be ill, alert a staff member immediately and go back to your room until the possibly infected area has been properly sanitized.

Were You Hurt or Did You Become Ill on a Cruise?

Cruise lines have a legal and moral imperative to ensure that they are keeping their passengers safe from contracting illnesses while onboard. Especially in light of the coronavirus, cruise ships should be taking all precautionary measures possible.

The big cruise lines make billions of dollars a year, and the least they can do is ensure the safety of their passengers.

If you or someone you love has become ill on a cruise ship due to the negligence of a cruise line, call us today at (786) 375-0344, and we can help you recover your losses. You could be entitled to damages to cover medical bills, loss of wages, emotional distress, and more.

At Louis A. Vucci P.A., we have been helping individuals go up against big corporations since 1997. We know that legal costs can seem daunting, which is why we represent clients on a contingency-fee-basis. That means that we won’t charge you a dime until we get you a full and fair settlement.

Call us now at (786) 375-0344 to schedule your free initial evaluation.