Cruise ships have a certain reputation for being less-than hygenic at the best of times. Some people have even referred to them as “floating Petri dishes” because they essentially put a lot of people together into small spaces and keep them there for a few weeks. That makes it easy for disease like COVID-19 to thrive and spread.
Naturally, cruise ships don’t really want to advertise this particular problem with their services. However, the saga of the Diamond Princess may have brought this knowledge into the public consciousness. After a passenger who had been onboard was discovered to have the novel coronavirus, the roughly 2,500 remaining passengers were sent on an extended (and forced) cruise for the next two weeks — in quarantine. It wasn’t a pleasant experience. Essentially the same thing happened a few weeks later with the Grand Princess.
If you’re exposed to a viral outbreak and you suffer a serious injury onboard a cruise ship as a result, can you sue? At least one couple already has.
A Florida couple is suing the owner of the Grand Princess over their experience, claiming that the ship’s employees were negligent when they assessed the risks of disease to the ship’s passengers. According to the suit, they did little more than ask everyone to sign a statement saying they weren’t sick without further inquiries about where they might have been exposed to the coronavirus (which was already a known issue) or what symptoms they might have.
Cruise ships like to evade liability for injuries and accidents whenever they can. They can be successful at it, too, unless you have experienced legal assistance at your side.