If illness has ruined your well-deserved vacation on a cruise ship, you may wonder if you are entitled to sue the cruise line for medical expenses and other damages which occurred as a result. Just as with any personal injury case, your ability to file a lawsuit against the cruise line depends on if you can prove that 1) The cruise line or one of its employees was negligent (did not exercise reasonable care), and 2) That negligence caused your illness.
There are three main causes of illness on a cruise ship that can often be attributed to negligence on the part of the cruise line and/or its employees due to poor sanitation and/or hygiene.
- Norovirus- Norovirus is a very contagious illness which causes headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. It can be spread by contact with a sick person or with something that person has touched, including food and water.
- Food Poisoning- This is caused by ingesting any food or beverage containing disease-causing pathogens. A cruise ship food preparer who is ill and fails to wash his or her hands properly can be ground zero for spreading food poisoning.
- Legionnaires’ Disease- This disease is caused by the Legionella bacterium, which thrives in warm, moist environments such as hot tubs and heating and plumbing systems.
If you fall ill on a cruise ship and believe it to be due to negligence on the part of the cruise line, it is important to take good notes. Investigate to see how many others on board are ill and what their symptoms are, if the crew seems to suddenly be taking additional precautions against illness, if anyone is quarantined, if any health announcements are made, and if the ship deviates from its original itinerary.
Filing a lawsuit against a cruise line can be tricky. The statute of limitations on filing can be less than a year in some cases, and some cruise lines require formal written notice of a lawsuit within a very short period of time. If you fall ill on a cruise, it is advisable to contact a seasoned personal injury attorney as soon as possible for advice.