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Miami Cruise Ship Injury Attorneys Discuss Liability for Failing to Warn Passengers of Risk of Outbreak of Serious Illness

While a cruise to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia might sound like a dream vacation, the trip became a tragedy for a grandmother who passed away in her stateroom during the cruise.  The 79-year-old seasoned cruise passenger was a grandma traveling with her daughter and grandson when she fell sick during the ten-day cruise.  The onboard doctors suggested she probably contracted the illness before boarding the ship.  According to media reports and as reported by our Cruise Ship Injury Lawyer, she was upbeat, in good health, and a veteran of seven cruises over the last decade.

After the grandma passed away, her surviving family members contended that their loved one contracted the gastroentroenteritis infection that caused her death during the cruise.  Although the cruise line vehemently denied that the elderly passenger contracted her illness onboard, the two family members that accompanied her on the cruise also contracted the illness despite not sharing her stateroom.  An autopsy had been scheduled to confirm the cause of death according to news sources.

Following the senior’s death, P & O cruise line defended its actions in not warning passengers by arguing that there was no basis to advise passengers of the potential risk.  P & O claimed that Australian authorities confirmed that the passenger’s death resulted from natural causes.  The cruise company also claimed to have received no information about an onboard outbreak of the infection.  However, several other passengers fell sick during the cruise.  One passenger became so ill during the trip that emergency evacuation of the patient was necessary.

Although the cruise line claimed that it had no obligation to warn passengers of the outbreak, reports of other passengers becoming ill while traveling on the ship might have created such a responsibility.  The cruise line has a legal duty to protect passengers from harm when P & O knows or should know of a potential danger that poses an unreasonable risk of harm to passengers.  Because multiple passengers became sick with the condition that ultimately claimed the life of the senior who died during the cruise, this might have provided sufficient notice of the outbreak of a potentially fatal disease.

When you are injured during a cruise, the cruise line will explore many strategies to avoid compensating you for your injuries.  In this instance, the cruise line claimed the plaintiff was ill when boarding the ship and that the cruise line had no legal duty to warn passengers that others were becoming seriously ill on the ship.  Cruise lines are prepared for lawsuits of this nature, so they use the passenger ticket contract, forum selection of federal court in Miami, independent contractor relationships with ship personnel and medical staff, and other strategies to avoid compensating victims for the harm caused by their negligence.

A wrongful death lawsuit against the cruise line could be based on the cruise line’s failure to provide  notice of an apparent outbreak of a serious illness.  A wrongful death lawsuit has two components that result in distinct forms of damages: (1) damages incurred by the estate; and (2) damages incurred by designated surviving family members.

Estate damages:

Funeral and Medical Expenses of the Decedent

Lost Net Accumulations

Loss of Decedent’s Earnings


Survivor Damages

Funeral or Medical Expenses (if paid by a survivor)

Loss of Parental Guidance, Companionship, and Instruction

Loss of Household Services and Support

Mental Pain and Suffering

Loss of Protection and Companionship of a Spouse

Greenberg, Stone,  Urbano: Seeking Minimum Recovery for Damages Sustained Due to Negligence 

If you or your loved one are injured during a cruise or your loved one is taken from you prematurely, our Florida cruise ship lawyers provide our clients with clear explanations of their rights and navigate the special challenges presented by admiralty law, passenger ticket contracts, and other special issues involved in cruise ship accident lawsuits.  If you are injured while on a cruise, our Miami cruise injury lawyers at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano will tenaciously pursue the fullest financial compensation.  For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our skill and dedication have earned us an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.



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