Can it seriously be argued that Royal Caribbean exercised a “high care” when it sailed 4,500 passengers, including the elderly and children, into a winter storm forecast to bash the ship with hurricane strength winds and waves over 30 feet?
This is the question asked by attorney Jim Walker on his blog, CruiseLawNews.com in a well-worded post yesterday.
It’s also a question asked by passengers who were on the Anthem of the Seas cruise ship, the media, cruise industry critics and certainly by other law firms who have received phone calls from Royal Caribbean passengers.
Arnold & Itkin LLP has since filed a lawsuit (Case No. 1:16-cv-20595) against the cruise line on behalf of an injured passenger. Their client endured injuries to his face, hands, torso, and head, which could have been deadly, as he has two aneurysms. The blow to the head also caused their client to lose consciousness. If the aneurysms would have been hit during the unpredictable rolling and swaying of the ship, his “relaxing vacation” may have ended much more tragically. The medical care he received from the ship’s team was allegedly very poor following the incident—he had to wait until the next day to be seen because the medical team was caring for other injured passengers.
The firm believes it is important to file suit so that travelers can be made more aware of the rights and safeties they give up when buying a ticket for a cruise—including the limited medical capabilities aboard these ships.
While a small number of passengers reportedly suffered physical injuries during the storm cruise, many more suffered emotionally and psychologically.
Just imagine the terror and anxiety that these passengers experienced. Royal Caribbean’s decision to sail into the storm is troubling and raises concern about the decision making ability (or lack thereof) of Royal Caribbean and its Captain. Why take the risk of so many lives?
Will lawsuit sink Royal Caribbean?
Well…most likely not of course. While Royal Caribbean may face some challenging claims and lawsuits – whether individual claims or class action lawsuits — they’ll likely weather this storm.
However, Royal Caribbean will certainly not bask in the sunlight as continuing media coverage will point out their questionable decision making during this incident.
We can imagine the ‘code-red’ the public relations folks at Royal Caribbean are experiencing as the company will work to ensure they suffer as little damage as possible in the eyes of future vacationers.
And certainly it will continue to increase pressure on the entire cruise industry for stricter regulations and oversight.
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