Many will have heard by now of the horrifying Carnival Cruise where the passengers were forced to deal with overflowing toilets, hours spent waiting for spoiled rations of food, stifling heat, and bad smells. The ship was finally towed into port in Mobilelast Thursday after enduring four days of these revolting conditions. Now, at least one passenger has filed a lawsuit, reports the Chicago Tribune, and many more could follow in the next few days.
Unfortunately for these passengers, the tickets they purchased are binding contract that limits the cruise liners liability significantly and define specifically how a passenger can sue the cruise company. These tickets are extremely one sided and essentially prohibit lawsuits from passengers against the company unless they suffer major injuries or negligence by the cruise operator. However in this case it is very likely that the passengers are facing a difficult uphill battle in pursuing their lawsuits against Carnival. Carnival is offering these passengers $500 as well as reimbursed transportation costs and a credit toward a future cruise in an amount equal to the cruise they just took.
Cruise company tickets also include forum selection clauses which requires cruise goers to sue in one single court which gives the cruise industry a significant amount of leverage when defending lawsuits against it. Cruise companies also limit their liability by hiring outside companies to handle their activities like parasailing and outside excursions, so if someone wants to sue, they cannot sue the cruise company but only the other companies. Even a significant number of the staff are independent contractors including doctors or masseuses so if they make a mistake the passengers must sue those individual people and cannot bring suit against the cruise line.
Cruise tickets have all but eliminated their passengers right to sue them, and have almost entirely blocked their paths to the courtrooms. It is important for our courtrooms to stay open and available for injured parties, like the passengers of the recent Carnival Cruise. Our Chicago boating accident attorneys have represented clients who have been injured in all types of accidents on the water. We understand that boating requires the utmost standard of care and that negligence should not be tolerated. Our experienced lawyers are available to handle all types of boating cases to help victims recover fair and reasonable compensation for the harms caused. While it may be the case that the Carnival passengers have to accepted Carnival’s version of justice for their ordeal, if you or a loved one has been seriously injured due to the negligence of another while on the water, you may have a viable personal injury claim and should seek action.