If You Get Ill on a Cruise Ship, Can You Sue?

ISTOCK IMAGE ID 14061479If you get ill on a cruise line, you may be able to sue the cruise line for your medical expenses. Much like other personal injury lawsuits, your case depends on the cruise ship’s liability. The cruise ship may be liable if one of the employees was somehow negligent, and if that negligence was the cause of your illness.

Negligence occurs when someone violates their duty to provide reasonable care for your safety. In order to bring a personal injury lawsuit, you must show that the cruise ship did not provide reasonable care, and prove that the cruise ship’s failure led to your illness.

There are usually 3 types of illnesses contracted on cruise ships, with varying levels of severity. The cruise ship may be liable if you come down with one of these illnesses.

  • Norovirus, sometimes called the stomach flu, may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and sometimes headache and fever. Norovirus is extremely contagious contagious, just like a common cold virus. It can spread easily through physical contact with an infected person or with something that the person touched. A norovirus can also be spread by contaminated food and water. Norovirus is very common on cruise ships, so it may be more difficult to sue if you contract norovirus. ou will have the prove the ship caused the illness due to negligence.
  • Food Poisoning is i also often the result of negligence. For example, as also very common on cruise ships, and is usually due to negligence. It could easily be caused by an ill food preparer on a cruise ship negligently failing to wash their hands properly.
  • Legionnaires’ Disease is a very serious condition. It can affect survivors for years after. Legionnaires’ disease has a fatality rate of approximately 15%. The disease comes from the Legionella bacterium, which grows best in warm water, like in hot tubs, and thrives in large, complex heating and plumbing systems like in hotels, office buildings, and cruise ships. It is killed by hot water.Because the bacterium grows in such specific ways, a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak on a cruise ship can often be the result of cruise ship negligence, such as, not sufficiently heating pools and hot tubs.

Proving negligence for your personal injury lawsuit may be difficult if you were the only one to get ill. People get ill all the time and the ship may not be the cause if there is not a mass outbreak of the illness. If you get ill on a ship, pay attention to things like:

  • how many others on board got sick and what their symptoms were
  • whether the crew seems to be taking additional precautions against illness
  • whether there are a large amount of people in the ship’s hospital
  • whether the crew makes any health announcements or warnings
  • whether any passengers seem to be quarantined
  • whether the cruise ship deviates from its original itinerary

Remember that you must prove not only that the cruise ship staff was negligent, but also that their negligence led to your illness. It is also important to note the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit against a cruise ship. The statute of limitation may be as short as one year on a cruise ship. Also, some cruise ships require that you notify them before taking any legal action against them.


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