Francesco Schettino, the disgraced captain of the “Costa Concordia”, the cruise ship that ran aground and capsized off the Italian coast last January killing 32 people attended a hearing yesterday to hear the evidence against him. According to sgvtribune.com, although it was a closed-door hearing, the victims and the families of those who perished were allowed in the theater that had to be turned into a courtroom to accommodate all those who had a right to be there.
Captain Schettino has defended his actions by saying that when he guided the stricken ship into shallower waters near the port of Island of Giglio, he in fact saved lives. He has also claimed that another officer was at the helm at the time of the accident, despite the fact that the timeline in the experts’ report clearly shows that he had assumed command six minutes prior to the ship sticking the reef.
Who Else Is To Blame?
As discussed in our last post, experts appointed by the Italian court have issued a 270-page report of their findings. Their report is based on an analysis of data recorders, ship communications equipment, testimony and other evidence. Although these experts placed much of the blame for the accident on Captain Schettino, they also found that others were to blame. In fact, there is evidence against eight other crewmembers and officials from the company that owns the ship, Costa Crociere SpA, a subsidiary of Miami based, Carnival Corporation.
Victims’ Lawyers Also Blame Shipowners
Attorneys for the victims have emphasized that many of the problems related in the experts’ report place the blame at the corporate level. For example, Peter Ronai, a lawyer for the family of a Hungarian violinist who according to survivors gave his life vest to a child before perishing himself, has stated that: “The reason people died was not the captain alone, there was no reason for anyone to die.” He subsequently added that: “the reason people died was because the corporation was negligent in practices and safety procedures.”
In fact, passengers have repeatedly described a chaotic and delayed evacuation, with crewmembers giving contradictory orders, some not understanding Italian and without current safety and evacuation certifications.
Passengers Get Injured In Many Ways
A sinking ship is not the only way cruise ship passengers get injured on board a cruise ship. They often get injured as a result of their participation in the following land-based activities:
- Slip and Falls
- Food poisoning
- Assaults by other passengers or a crewmembers
- Accidents while diving, surfing, boating, parasailing, jet skiing, hiking, ZIP lining or while on excursions on bicycles, motorbikes or 4X4 vehicles like Jeeps, etc.
Greenberg Stone and Urbano Can Help
Typically, the cruise line will try to “low ball” and injured passenger into accepting a refund as compensation for his or her injuries. Don’t let the cruise line take advantage of your situation and pressure you into accepting their low offer.
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 taking a cruise, the cruise line may owe you financial compensation. However, unless you immediately hire a law firm with experience handling these matters, they may never give you the compensation you may deserve. Please note that these cases are usually governed by the conditions established in the tickets, which usually provide for 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 cruise line.
Consequently, it is essential to hire a lawyer as soon as possible. If you are concerned for the costs, please note that a Florida lawyer will not charge you for the initial consultation and will work your case on a contingency fee basis, which means that you will not be charged at all, unless the lawyer wins your case. The Cruise Lines Injury Lawyers of Greenberg Stone and Urbano have handled many such cases against these cruise lines over the years and can help you obtain the compensation you may deserve.
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. Visit our website to learn more about our firm and contact us today.