A dream Mediterranean cruise came to an abrupt end when Costa Cruises’ “Costa Concorde” ran aground off the island of Giglio, Italy. At this time, three people are confirmed dead and forty injured, while scores of the 3,200 passengers and 1,000 crew members are still missing, according to CNN.
Pandemonium seems to be the word that most accurately describes what happened aboard the ship immediately after it hit submerged rocks off the island’s coast. The rocks opened a 160 feet gash alongside the bottom of the ship, causing it to immediately tilt and end up resting on its side. The initial announcement that there was a fire on board, was soon followed by an order to abandon ship. The lights had gone off and the darkness of night made it impossible to see the rocks onshore, just a few feet away. As the ship continued to rapidly tilt – passengers recall – panic set in… “As the ship tilted further, it became increasingly difficult to get the passengers (and crew) into the lifeboats and rafts on the only usable side of the boat”, stated Rosalyn Rincon, a crew member that worked as a dancer in one of the shows onboard.
The safety of passengers is supposed to be a primary concern for the crew of a cruise ship. However, there are confusing accounts of what happened during what’s best described as a chaotic situation that followed the ship running aground. According to Ms. Rincon, crew members had to “let the passengers go first”. Yet, passenger accounts tell of the crew first being unwilling, then unable to lower the lifeboats as the ship listed. Some passengers talk of being left alone for more than three hours queuing for the lifeboats, while some fistfights broke out among the panicking people.
Whatever the results of the ensuing investigation, the fact is that the Italian captain of the ship, Francesco Schettino, was arrested and is being investigated for abandoning ship and manslaughter.
Don’t Expect Much From The Cruise Line
When disasters like this happen, don’t expect much from the Cruise Line…. At best, they will likely try to low-ball you and your family with an offer for a future “discounted” cruise. In the case of an injured passenger, they may offer a full refund in compensation for his or her injuries. Don’t allow the cruise line to take advantage of your situation and pressure you into accepting a refund as compensation right away. If you or a loved one have suffered serious injuries or death while on a cruise vacation or have been the victims of serious crimes while on a cruise ship vacation, you may be entitled to financial compensation by the cruise line.
Even if your injuries do not seem serious at first, but you continue to have pain or discomfort you should wait until you have seen a doctor and talked to an attorney specializing in this kind of cases before deciding on a course of action. If you hesitate to talk to an attorney because of costs, please note that a Florida lawyer will not charge you for the initial consultation and will work your case on a contingency fee agreement, which means that he or she will not charge you at all, unless they win your case.
Therefore, if you or a close relative suffered an injury while on a cruise, we urge to contact a law firm with experience handling cruise ship injury cases. Please note that these cases are usually governed by the conditions set forth in the tickets which usually establish a term of six months to give written notice of the claim and one year from the date of sail to file suit against the company. Needless to say, over the years the Cruise Lines Injury Attorneys of Greenberg Stone and Urbano have handled many such cases against these cruise lines and can help you obtain the compensation you may be entitled to. Please note that our practice has been extended with a new satellite office in Aventura to better serve clients that reside in Ft. Lauderdale, Hollywood, Hallandale Beach, Dania & Dania Beach, Miramar, North Miami, North Miami Beach, Aventura, Miami Beach, Surfside, Sunny Isles and Miami Gardens. Visit our website to learn more about our firm and contact us today.