As South Florida’s pre-eminent cruise ship injury attorneys, we have handled many cases involving cruise lines that fail to maintain the standard of care they owe to their passengers. Our United States Supreme Court announced the rule of law that cruise lines must follow to protect their passengers while in navigable waters over 50 years ago. The high Court ruled that the owner of a ship owes to all persons on board a duty of reasonable care under the given circumstances. The cruise ship must have notice of the potential danger, and the danger must be one that is not limited to the dangers of the sea, such as being swept overboard by a rogue wave. Rather, the ship owner has the duty to protect passengers from injuries that occur on the boat that could also occur on land, as long as the danger was not open and obvious. One example is slipping and falling on a wet deck.
The ship owner’s obligation to protect passengers extends to ports and activities at the ports as well. Cruise ships have a duty to warn passengers about dangers they may encounter off the boat. Again, however, the cruise line must have some form of notice of the danger and extends to places where the ship’s passengers are likely to visit. For example, a passenger could get hurt on an excursion sponsored by or associated with the cruise line and be liable for the passenger’s injuries. If, however, the passenger fell into a volcano while trespassing, then the cruise line is not responsible. The example is a bit absurd, but it proves the point.
The Zika virus has infected many ports of call serviced by cruise lines departing from Miami. The virus is a terrible disease that affects pregnant women and their unborn children. Mothers pass the disease to their unborn children through the blood. A child born infected with the Zika virus can suffer horrific birth defects. The United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued a warning for women traveling to a number of countries. For example, the Zika virus was observed in The Bahamas, Aruba, Barbados, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Brittish Virgin Islands to name a few. The CDC cautions women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant to avoid areas infected by the Zika virus. If travel to those areas is unavoidable, then the CDC counsels women (and men) to guard against mosquito bites.
The spread of the Zika virus is well documented. Not only has the CDC issued travel warnings but at least one cruise line has issued a travel warning as well. Norwegian Cruise Line issued a travel advisory in January of 2016 warning passengers about the risks associated with a mosquito bite. The notice advises expectant mothers to postpone travel to infected areas. The cruise line offered a refund to those women who wished to change their schedule. Additionally, the cruise line is honoring cancellations due to the fear of infection from the Zika virus for all passengers who purchased travel insurance.
The danger associated with a mosquito bite while on a cruise ship is not present on the ship. Rather, the danger is at the ports of call. Therefore, Norwegian Cruise Lines, being aware of the serious health risk, discharged its duty to advise passengers about the risks of traveling to an area infected by the Zika virus. The cruise line still has a duty to protect its passengers on board and at ports of call. Norwegian has taken the first step toward protecting its passengers by issuing the warning.
South Florida’s Top Personal Injury Law Firm Is Ready To Help You With Your Cruise Ship Injury Case
Let South Florida’s Top law firm – as voted by the Miami Herald – Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, represent you or your loved one for injuries or wrongful death caused by a cruise line’s failure to protect its passengers from danger, especially the Zika virus. Call the South Florida Cruise Ship injury attorneys at Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano – an AV-rated firm by Martindale-Hubbell – today at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 to schedule your free consultation. The attorneys at Greenberg, Stone, and & Urbano have over 130 years of combined legal experience at your service. They will fight to help you maximize your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve.