Did the cruise industry endanger the lives of passengers by continuing to operate during the coronavirus pandemic?
The cruise industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Some of the first cases of coronavirus involving United States citizens were among cruise ship passengers. Currently, all major cruise lines have shut down to help stop the spread of coronavirus, but some of the last passengers to board certain cruise ships have relayed horrific experiences. Thousands of passengers were exposed to the coronavirus while traveling on cruise ships, hundreds contracted the potentially serious virus, and some died. Passengers who suffered while aboard a cruise line are now pondering the potential legal repercussions stemming from their exposure, quarantine, or sickness.
Couple Sues the Grand Princess
Recently, one couple who boarded the Grand Princess in San Francisco have filed suit against the cruise line. The Weissbergers boarded the Grand Princess on February 21st and headed to Hawaii. The ship was on its way back to California when it received word it would need to anchor off the coast because several people aboard had tested positive for coronavirus.
After being anchored off California for several days, the ship allowed passengers to disembark. They were then sent to military bases to be quarantined. The Weissbergers filed suit against Princess Cruise Lines, claiming that the company acted negligently in exposing them to COVID-19 and failed to take adequate steps to keep passengers safe.
Per the lawsuit, the Grand Princess had carried passengers to Mexico before the Hawaii passage. Several people fell ill on that trip and tested positive for coronavirus. The passengers headed for Hawaii were not informed of such before boarding the ship. Further, the ship did nothing to screen passengers besides passing out a survey asking if passengers were sick.
While this is the first lawsuit filed against Princess Cruise Lines, it is not likely the last. Princess Cruise Lines is one of several cruise lines to have ferried passengers with the coronavirus. The passengers who suffered due to exposure, as well as those who actually contracted the virus and became sick or died, may have a viable cause of action against the cruise lines for negligence. Cruise ship passengers on a coronavirus exposed voyage or the loved ones of deceased passengers should seek the assistance of a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.