Thus far in 2016, there have been a few outbreaks of norovirus aboard cruise ships. Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that causes intense stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. This illness can prove dangerous, especially for young children and older adults. Common complications of norovirus include dehydration, malnutrition, and rarely even death. Our cruise ship accident lawyers have found that cruise ships are potential sites of norovirus contamination due to the sheer number of people aboard and close quarters.
In January, the first norovirus case of the year occurred on a cruise ship out of Los Angeles. Approximately six percent of passengers aboard the Crown Princess contracted the illness, leaving over 3,000 sick. The Crown Princess has been the site of several norovirus outbreaks in previous years.
More recently, passengers aboard the Oceania Riviera took ill with norovirus. About ten percent of the passengers are experiencing nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and the like. The ship will be evaluated upon its return to Miami to attempt to determine the cause of the outbreak and whether the ship followed sanitation protocol.
Can a Cruise Line Be Held Liable for a Norovirus Outbreak?
A case called Kermarec v. Compagnie Generale gave us a seminal rule for cruise ships—cruise lines have the duty to provide reasonable care to their passengers. This includes taking all reasonable precautions to prevent a norovirus outbreak. The winter months are a peak season for norovirus and other serious illnesses. As such, cruise lines must anticipate and guard against outbreaks by following stringent cleanliness and isolation protocols.
However, norovirus cases can be difficult to prove. A recent U.K. class action lawsuit demonstrated the difficulties faced by cruise ship passengers when attempting to sue for contraction of norovirus. The case involved several passengers severely sickened while aboard a U.K. cruise ship. The passengers claimed they were ill and distressed, having to deal with blocked toilets and flies on top of sickness. These claims, however, were ultimately dismissed when the court determined their evidence was insufficient to prove negligence.
The crucial determination when it comes to norovirus cases will be whether the cruise line acted in a reasonable manner to prevent and deal with the illness. Cruise lines cannot always stop an ill passenger from boarding, but they can and must take steps to properly sanitize the ship, isolate potentially contagious passengers, and provide appropriate medical care in order to control the spread of the illness.
Contact the Cruise Ship Accident Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano Today For Your Free Consultation!
Cruise ship illnesses can be debilitating and, at times, even dangerous. If you or a loved one has taken seriously ill aboard a cruise ship, contact the Miami Cruise Ship Accident Lawyers at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano. Our outstanding cruise ship accident attorneys will diligently fight for your full recovery. We have over 130 collective years of experience representing cruise ship accident victims across South Florida and will put our considerable experience to work for you. Contact our firm as soon as possible to protect your legal rights. Our firm is proud to have received an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and is ranked as a top firm in South Florida by the Miami Herald. Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or you can visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.