In statements that could spell liability for Costa Crociere and more importantly, for its parent company, Carnival Cruise Lines, which is the largest cruise line in the World, court experts appointed by the Italian court to investigate the circumstances surrounding the accident have primarily blamed the ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, for the shipwreck that cost the lives of 32 people back in January of this year. In a stunt that proved fatal, Captain Schettino brought the ship off course and dangerously close to the Island of Giglio, making it run aground and capsize. He stands trial for causing the wreck, for manslaughter and for abandoning the ship before all passengers were evacuated.
Others Also To Blame
However, the worst findings of these court appointed experts (at least for Carnival) are not those related to Captain Schettino. According to nytime.com, they found that other crew members “bungled directions, did not understand orders and were not trained or certified in security and emergency drills”. More importantly, they said in their report that the ship’s owner, Costa Crociere (a subsidiary of Carnival Cruise Lines) delayed alerting coastal authorities about the incident, although the company is denying this assertion.
Lawsuits Filed In the United States
In the meantime, according to old.post-gazette.com, civil lawsuits are being filed in both State and Federal courts in the United States against Miami-based Carnival Corporation as the parent company of Costa Crociere, despite legal challenges that may ultimately force the plaintiffs to move their legal actions to Italy. Plaintiffs claim that Carnival is the corporate parent of the ship’s operator, Costa Crociere, and is therefore responsible for any safety violations.
In fact, an attorney seeking to represent businesses involved in tourism in Giglio Island that claim the disaster deterred visitors, polluted environmentally sensitive local waters and depressed property values has stated that “it is from this headquarters (the Miami offices of Carnival) that the tragic crash of the Costa Concordia could have been prevented by insisting on better training of officers, safer operation and navigation of ships, and elimination of the reckless practice of ‘sail-by salutes’. This is a direct reference to evidence that points to Captain Schettino sailing too close to the island as part of a publicity stunt and to impress the passengers.
On the other hand, lawyers representing Carnival Corporation say that the Italian Costa line is a separate corporate entity, that any lawsuits should be filed in Italy and that Carnival does not own the Costa Concordia or manage Costa Crociere’s day-to-day activities. They also contend that everything having to do with the incident (including witnesses, documents and other evidence) is much more readily available in Italy.
However, attorneys for the plaintiffs claim that Italian courts often take longer years than courts in the United States to resolve these cases and that attorneys in Italy are not allowed to work a case on contingency fees (meaning that the attorney gets paid a percentage of the winnings if and when a victory is achieved) something that allows victims easier access to justice that they could not afford if they had to pay their attorneys by the hour.
Be that as it may, it will take some time for the courts in the United States to decide whether the cases should be resolved here or in Italy and it is too early to tell what will be their decision. However, if you feel that you have a claim under this or any other case against a cruise line, maybe we can help.
The Lawyers of Greenberg Stone and Urbano Can Help
Please note that it is not uncommon for a Cruise line to pressure injured passengers into accepting a refund as compensation for their injuries. Injured passengers should not give into the company’s pressure and accept a mere refund in exchange for their injuries. If you or a loved one have suffered serious injuries or if a loved one died while on a cruise vacation, the cruise line may owe you financial compensation and we can help your family recover that compensation.
Moreover, it is important for you to remember that these cases are governed by certain conditions established in the tickets. For example, according to most tickets, claimants have only six months to give written notice of the claim to the cruise line company and one year from the date of the incident to file suit in court.
Consequently, you should contact a lawyer with experience handling these matters as soon as possible. Only the prompt legal action initiated by an attorney on behalf of your family will force the cruise line to compensate you for your past and future medical costs (including rehabilitation therapy), your pain and suffering and your lost wages. Also, please note that a Florida lawyer will handle your entire case, including the initial consultation, on a contingency fee basis. This means that you don’t have to pay your attorney anything, unless he o she wins your case.
Throughout the years the Cruise Lines Injury Lawyers of Greenberg Stone and Urbano have handled many such cases against these cruise lines and we can help you obtain the compensation you may deserve.
If you or a close relative suffered an injury while on a cruise, we urge you to contact a law firm with experience handling cruise ship injury cases. Visit our website to learn more about our firm and contact us today.