Yesterday, our Florida cruise ship accident lawyers reviewed a South Florida news outlet NBC 6 story reporting that a group of passengers that traveled on the now-infamous Carnival Triumph last year have appeared for the first time in court with regard to their lawsuit filed against the cruise line.
According to the lawsuit, these passengers are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder from being stranded aboard the Triumph in February of last year after a fire knocked out the ship’s power. The ship drifted for four day without air conditioning, and limited lights, water, food and working toilets, before it was towed to Mobile, Alabama. Several dozen of the ship’s more than 3,000 passengers are participating in the civil suit, which refers to the Triumph as “a floating toilet, a floating Petri dish, a floating hell.”
Carnival initially moved to dismiss the suit, arguing that the passengers’ tickets clearly state passengers cannot file class actions. Judge Donald Graham overruled Carnival’s motion, opining that, although the ship ticket does not actually guarantee a seaworthy vessel, good food and sanitary conditions, Carnival was negligent in maintaining the equipment that caught fire.
According to reports by CNN and the Associated Press, Carnival knew that the Triumph posed a substantial risk of fire due to delays in the maintenance of its diesel engines and fuel lines, but allowed the ship to set sail anyway. The Triumph’s captain admitted in a November 22, 2103, deposition related to the lawsuit that he had been notified by Carnival that there had been problems with the ships flexible fuel hoses leaking and that he believed Carnival had known about the leaks since March of 2012.
Carnival has publicly denounced the passengers’ lawsuit, stating “The current litigation by a handful of individuals is an opportunistic attempt to benefit financially…principally based on claims of alleged emotional distress.” Carnival has also claimed in court documents that the Triumph’s equipment was properly maintained and the fire was accidental.
Carnival’s current debacle is yet another in a seemingly never-ending string of cruise mishaps, made worse by cruise liners’ continued policy of denial and concealment of such issues. Cruise companies have a duty to provide a safe environment for their passengers and the failure to do so may entitle the injured party to compensation. Despite enhanced safety measures and new policies designed to ensure passenger safety, cruising can be a risky activity.
Cruise ship accidents are becoming more and more common, rendering the need for experienced legal counsel increasingly important for those injured in such accidents. Because cruise ship accidents are subject to different laws and much shorter statutes of limitations, sometimes as short as one year, they are best handled by experienced Florida cruise ship accident attorneys.
The Miami personal injury attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. specialize in cruise ship and maritime accident cases. If you or someone you know has been injured in a cruise ship accident, contact the Florida maritime accident attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, PA.