South Florida is the cruise ship capital of the world. Each day, thousands of people board megaships out of the Port of Miami and Port Everglades in hopes of enjoying the vacation of a lifetime. But nobody ever expects to get sick. Unfortunately, the Zika virus has become a major threat to passengers and cruise ship companies will need to take notice.
The virus has become the biggest health topic of the year. It is almost impossible to watch a local newscast without the word Zika mentioned–and for good reason. The disease is transmitted by mosquitoes and is known to cause severe birth defects in pregnant women. It has even been known to cause paralysis in some cases. In just the past year, Zika has spread from South America all the way to South Florida. With countless passengers traveling to the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America the risks of contracting the disease increase significantly.
Cruise Ship Companies Need to Take Preventative Action
Miami is home to both Carnival and Royal Caribbean Cruiselines-two of the largest companies in the industry. Zika is not just spread by mosquitos. It can also be transmitted through sexual contact. A few infected passengers aboard a cruise ship can quickly spread the disease. To make matters worse, many cruise ship destinations have already reported cases of Zika, including Jamaica, Mexico, The Bahamas and St. Kitts. A large portion of passengers fly into Miami to board their ships. Failing to take preventative measures could result in premises liability lawsuits.
How Are Cruise Ship Companies Liable?
The cruise ship industry has long dealt with threats of widespread illness. Over the years, there have been many cases of large numbers of passengers contracting legionnaires disease, a serious type of lung infection caused by bacteria. Many have resulted in cruise ship lawsuits. Whether it is the preparation of food, poor maintenance or improper safety procedures, cruise ship companies have a lot to lose. Here is how cruise lines could face liability.
- Cruise lines are responsible for warning passengers of any dangers at various ports.
- If a cruise ship company has knowledge of Zika, or any illness at its destinations, the company must notify all travelers who have booked a cruise immediately
- Cruise lines must post information on their website about any threats of Zika to help potential guests make informed decision for their vacation plans.
If a pregnant woman is bitten by mosquito and is infected with Zika and her baby is born with the disease, the cruise ship company is liable if it did not provide any advanced warning. Maritime laws require cruise lines to provide reasonable care under these circumstances. Failure to provide proper care is classified as negligence and can result in a personal injury lawsuit.
If you have been injured or suffered a serious illness due to the negligence of a cruise ship company, it is vital to seek immediate legal representation an experienced Miami personal injury lawyer to recover the compensation to pay for your medical expenses and account for your lost wages. To learn more, contact the law offices of Neufeld, Kleinberg & Pinkiert, P.A. and schedule a free initial consultation.