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Costa Concordia Disaster Focuses Attention on Cruise Ship Injuries

When the cruise ship Costa Concordia ran aground off the coast of Italy in January, it tilted over and started taking on water. The 3,200 passengers struggled to escape, trying to make their way to the lifeboats, half of which were inaccessible due to the angle of the ship.

Some passengers said that there had been no emergency drills, and that the 1,000 crew members seemed unprepared for an emergency. The ship's captain (who was reportedly wining and dining one of the ship's dancers at the time of the incident) abandoned ship before the passengers were safely evacuated.

At least 17 people are confirmed dead and 16 are missing as of this writing. The first lawsuits arising from the disaster have already been filed.

Few cruise ship injuries arise from dramatic incidents such as the sinking of the Costa Concordia. More typically, cruise ship injuries are caused by:

  • Slipping on wet or uneven decks
  • Falling down stairwells, especially during rough weather
  • Being hit by improperly stowed objects
  • Food poisoning
  • Contagious illnesses such as noroviruses

Criminal activities are also too common on cruise ships. These include assault, rape, burglary, and sometimes even murder.

A lawsuit against a cruise line is different from a lawsuit involving an injury in a more "usual" setting. Maritime law often limits the liability of cruise lines. The contracts that are included with passenger tickets further limit liability. For example, ticket contracts severely restrict the amount that can be recovered for lost or stolen property unless the passenger declares that property and pays a hefty surcharge.

Whether you're able to recover damages at all, and the quantity of damages that can be awarded, for a cruise ship injury may depend on your cruise ship injury lawyer's ability to prove that the cruise ship crew was negligent.

If you or a family member have been injured, assaulted, or made ill during a cruise, including during an on-shore excursion, contact the New Jersey Law Offices of Greenberg, Walden & Grossman, LLC.

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