Recently, hundreds of passengers on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship were struck with norovirus, which causes gastrointestinal upset that can quickly spoil a vacation.
During the five-day cruise from Florida in mid-December, 332 people came down with cases of gastrointestinal illness. According to one report, people were vomiting in the elevators on their way to the ship’s medic office, and the wait exceeded four hours for medical treatment. Water and supplies were quickly depleted.
A spokesperson for Royal Caribbean said that only six percent of the crew and passengers were affected by the virus, and the crew sanitized the ship before leaving on its next cruise less than a week later.
This is not even close to the first time something like this has happened.
Detailing the 2017 Cruise Outbreaks of Norovirus
Another Royal Caribbean cruise between Australia and Singapore in early December had over 200 people infected by a virus, including five that required hospitalization.
Other cruise lines have experienced viral outbreaks in 2017 as well. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 10 other major illness cases besides the two Royal Caribbean cases in December.
Seven of the 10 major incidents were caused by norovirus, a highly contagious virus that causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and possible fever or headaches.
- In March, 182 members of the Princess Cruises’ Coral Princess were infected with norovirus.
- Another 24 people had norovirus aboard the Oceania Cruises’
- Holland America had five different incidents of norovirus, which affected 462 crew members and passengers.
In the other three incidents recorded by the CDC, other factors were in play. In one case, bacteria found in raw poultry and red meat was to blame.
How to Handle a Norovirus Outbreak on Your Cruise
Norovirus is a highly transmittable disease, especially among people in close quarters. It can spread through physical contact or contaminated water and food. Normally it runs its course in three or four days and does not present further issues, unless dehydration results. In certain individuals, however, dehydration can be life-threatening.
If you experience norovirus on a cruise ship, you may be able to hold the cruise line liable for damages. Here are the steps you’ll need to take if you decide to file a lawsuit against the cruise line.
Determine if the ship was negligent.
If the ship’s crew did not practice sufficient sanitary actions to prevent the spread of the disease, they may be held liable. If the ship served food or water that was contaminated with the virus, they may also bear liability for negligence.
Pay attention to the number of other cases.
If there is a large outbreak, as in some of the cases discussed above, you will have a stronger case. If many people visited the ship’s medical office for treatment of the same symptoms, you have a greater chance of winning your case.
File within the statute of limitations.
You may have only a few months to file your case. Check with an experienced attorney for the filing guidelines in your case.
To get started on holding the cruise line accountable and winning the compensation you deserve, get in touch for a free case review today.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented cruise victims who have suffered all kinds of injuries and illnesses due to negligence. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2017 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – and was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite” and as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015, 2016, and 2017.