Coronavirus (COVID-19) Contracted on a Cruise Ship Lawyers

Recent events show the importance of taking precautions during a viral outbreak. Since reports of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States first came out, a number of individuals have filed lawsuits for medical negligence against cruise ships. Louis A. Vucci P.A. can help you if you believe medical negligence caused your coronavirus diagnosis or a loved one’s death from the viral infection.

In the early days of March 2020, the primary spread of coronavirus in the United States occurred at a Seattle nursing home. However, cruise ship travel became a serious concern for the spread of the virus, when one-third of the individuals with confirmed cases in the United States became infected on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

The cruise ship quarantined passengers after one person tested positive. The domino effect that ensued afterward led to another 45 people becoming infected and multiple individuals dying onboard. Questions arose about whether or not the cruise ship and nursing home in Seattle took proper precautions to avoid and prevent exposure of the infection to others.

Coronavirus continues to spread throughout the United States. As of the beginning of May 2020, there are over 1.2 million cases of the illness in the U.S., and already more than 70,000 people have lost their battle against the virus. Not one single state of U.S. territory has been spared the devastation of this illness. All 50 states and Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are dealing with new infections.

The elderly are primarily vulnerable to succumbing to the coronavirus because of the natural decline in immune response as we age, as well as having a preponderance for preexisting conditions like heart disease. However, the World Health Organization finds that the overall mortality rate for the coronavirus is at least 3.4 percent.

If you or a loved one were infected with or died from the coronavirus while traveling on a cruise ship, Louis A. Vucci P.A. is prepared to help you fight for compensation. Our attorneys are skilled in medical negligence law, and we are ready to fight for your rights during this unprecedented pandemic. You cannot afford to wait for compensation, so contact Louis A. Vucci P.A. at (786) 375-0344 or fill out our contact form now, to begin work on your case.

Cruise Ships’ Response to Coronavirus

Early on, it was clear that this was not an illness that should be taken lightly, and yet it seems like that’s exactly what the cruise line industry did. They ended up putting the lives of thousands of passengers and staff at risk in order to continue operating and making money. As the virus continued to spread, cruise ships turned into petri dishes, the perfect breeding ground for the virus to incubate and infect more people in close proximity to one another. At the end of April, the Miami Herald found that at least 2,592 people have tested positive for COVID-19 during or immediately following a cruise. 

The more testing that is completed, the more the entire picture starts to come into focus. Thousands who thought they were safe to travel because cruise companies, including the Norwegian and Princess cruise lines, downplayed the severity of COVID-19 are finding out just how wrong those companies were. Cruise lines put the health and safety of people at risk, and unfortunately, some are paying the ultimate price for that greed. Three Royal Caribbean crew members lost their lives to COVID-19 in a matter of just eight days.

The bad publicity that cruise lines have gained as a result of their poor handling of the coronavirus outbreak has begun to tarnish the industry’s reputation. Media outlets are already pointing to the number of ways the industry will have to change in order to continue to do business in a post-coronavirus world, however long that takes. The question is, will it be enough?

Cases like the MSC Meraviglia, a cruise ship that docked in Miami, Florida, on March 15, then allowed thousands of passengers to leave the ship, despite multiple cases of coronavirus onboard, show just how irresponsible industry has been. It is this type of reckless behavior that continues to demonstrate a serious lack of responsibility for cruise ship passengers and staff during this difficult time. Big-name cruise lines, such as Norwegian, Costa, and Princess, are all facing mounting lawsuits over their failure to protect the health and safety of their staff and passengers.

What Is Coronavirus?

The viral infection first showed up in Wuhan China in December 2019. Tens of thousands of people tested positive, and many ended up dying. Since the initial identification of the disease, coronavirus, also called COVID-19, has reached the United States and caused massive panic. As of March 19, the United States released a level four global health advisory, recommending that all U.S. citizens do not travel, unless absolutely necessary. There have also been a variety of state-based initiatives across the country to prevent the spread of the virus, resulting in schools and businesses shutting down and events getting canceled.

Coronavirus causes symptoms that range from mild to severe. In some cases, especially those involving the elderly and people with weakened immune systems, the virus ends up being fatal.

The most common symptoms develop around two to fourteen days after exposure to the virus. Those symptoms generally include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

More severe symptoms potentially requiring medical intervention include:

  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Consistent chest pain or pressure
  • Confusion
  • Blue tint to the lips or face

This particular strain is related to SARS and MERS, both of which cause respiratory problems.

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus a pandemic. A pandemic is a disease that is capable of spreading to many people across the globe in a short period of time.

Most serious diseases begin under the epidemic classification, meaning they are rapidly impacting a multitude of people. However, a disease may transform from an epidemic to a pandemic, when they rapidly spread to people across a wide geographic region.

The World Health Organization estimates that as of the beginning of May 2020, there are now over 3.7 million cases of coronavirus worldwide and nearly 260,000 confirmed deaths.

How Do I Know if I Have a Valid Legal Case?

It’s tough to distinguish medical negligence from an innocent mistake. Many law firms won’t take on coronavirus cases because there’s a lack of sufficient evidence. Others have a hard time establishing where the party failed to maintain the health of others.

Most victims who died had a compromised or weakened immune system. Older adults and those with pre-existing medical conditions seemed to suffer the worst because their body couldn’t fight off the infection. Transmission occurred from person-to-person contact.

Now that there’s a reliable protocol in place, cruise ships could be responsible if they don’t follow that protocol, and it results in someone contracting coronavirus. Ignoring requirements about containment or failing to test those exhibiting symptoms is entirely negligent.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention established guidelines for healthcare professionals, patients, and visitors that could help to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Medical facilities should follow the following preventative methods:

  • Wash hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer before and after caring for each patient
  • Always wear gloves and a gown when providing treatment or assistance to the patients, and remove the gloves and gown after leaving the room
  • Thoroughly clean every hospital room and medical equipment
  • Use Contact Precautions with patients diagnosed with coronavirus, such isolating them in a single room or allowing them to share a room with another person who also tested positive
  • Patients must stay in their room and avoid contact with other people as much as possible
  • Visitors have to wear gloves and a gown when visiting their loved ones

What Should I Do If I Test Positive for Coronavirus?

You need to take multiple steps to protect yourself and other people if you become infected with the coronavirus.

  1. Stay home. Try to come in contact with others as little as possible. Get rest and care for yourself like you would if you had the flu.
  2. Disinfect your home. Wipe down doorknobs, countertops, and additional objects you frequently touch.
  3. Keep your distance from family members. If you live with anyone, try to stay away from them, and don’t touch anything in common areas unless you wash your hands first.
  4. Hire a lawyer. If you believe your diagnosis was the result of medical negligence, you should seek legal representation. Collect all documentation available and present it to a lawyer for review.

Much like influenza, a doctor uses a nasal swab to test like for coronavirus. Unfortunately, some instances of people testing positive for both the flu and coronavirus at the same time occurred.

Medical professionals say it’s common to misdiagnose the coronavirus strain because some tests show false-negatives for certain upper respiratory specimens or multiple infections occurring simultaneously. Anyone exhibiting symptoms should request that their doctor test them for the coronavirus, even if their flu test is positive.

The Value of Your Case

The settlement amount you’re entitled to in a medical negligence case depends on certain factors. The severity of your coronavirus diagnosis and resulting medical expenses could determine the financial compensation you deserve.

In any claim or lawsuit, the insurance adjuster or jury reviews the following losses to decide an appropriate financial award to cover your costs and suffering:

  • Hospital treatment
  • Prescription medications
  • Specialized medical care
  • Missed time from work resulting in lost income
  • Emotional stress
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Lifestyle changes because of the diagnosis

Louis A. Vucci P.A. knows how to determine the fair amount of compensation to ask for in a medical negligence case. We aim to ensure you receive the maximum settlement available to cover your past costs and any future expenses.

How Louis A. Vucci P.A. Can Help Me

It’s tough dealing with the legal ramifications of another person’s negligence. If you’re unfamiliar with the process, you won’t know where to start. You’ll likely miss a strict deadline, submit the incorrect documentation, or accept a lowball offer because you’re desperate for financial assistance.

The attorneys from Louis A. Vucci P.A. won’t allow anyone to take advantage of you. We fight aggressively for all our clients to reach a favorable outcome. We believe in maintaining our clients’ rights and protecting their interests.

We understand the overwhelming feeling of developing a potentially fatal infection. It’s unfair knowing another person’s reckless actions and lack of regard for your health ended up causing your diagnosis. It’s our job to hold those people responsible and seek the justice you deserve.

What Should I Do if I Can’t Afford an Attorney?

At Louis A. Vucci P.A., we take steps to avoid adding to our clients’ financial burden. We know you’re already facing a mountain of medical bills and worried about how to pay for them. If you suffered from your symptoms for weeks or months and missed work, as a result, you probably didn’t get paid.

We work on contingency for victims of medical negligence. We don’t charge upfront costs or fees at the beginning of any case or while it’s ongoing. We don’t get paid unless you get paid.

We also offer an initial consultation to all prospective clients free of charge. There’s no risk to discuss your unfortunate situation with us and receive the legal advice you need. We’re happy to answer all your questions and let you know what your best option is to pursue compensation.

Speak with an Experienced Attorney from Louis A. Vucci P.A.

Call (786) 375-0344 or fill out our contact form to schedule your free consultation. We represent medical negligence victims throughout New York, Florida, and Boston and from cruise ports in Seattle, New Orleans, Texas, and Alaska.