A Costa Cruise accident reportedly killed at least 9 passengers and injured dozens more when the ship began to list, or tilt on its side. According to the BBC, a witness reported hearing a loud bang as the first indication that something was wrong. Following the bang, hours of panic began among the 4,000 people on board the cruise ship.
According to Italy’s Ansa news agency, passenger Luciano Castro told them, “We were having supper when the lights suddenly went out. We heard a boom and a groaning noise. All the cutlery fell on the floor.” Some passengers were allegedly told there were electrical problems on the ship.
After the passengers return to safe ground, or the families of those killed begin coping with the loss of their loved ones from the cruise accident, the next step will be holding Costa Cruises responsible for the accident.
As a cruise injury lawyer, I’ve handled many cruise injury claims. One of the biggest mistakes cruise passengers make is finding a lawyer in their own state to file a claim on their behalf. Most, if not all, of the popular cruise lines have a provision in their contract stating exactly which court can hear a lawsuit against the cruise company.
Carnival Cruise Lines, for example, generally requires a lawsuit to be filed against them in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division. This is so specific that a lawyer who files the lawsuit in the Ft. Lauderdale division, just 30 minutes or so away, can risk having the entire lawsuit thrown out and the claim barred forever.
Costa Cruise Lawsuits in Italy or Miami
Costa Cruise’s contract generally requires lawsuits to be brought in either Miami or Italy. The language of the contracts change frequently, so you must review your contract to see which place a lawsuit must be brought. Costa Cruise’s Passenger Contract breaks down the proper venue into two places, depending on where the cruise touched: Voyages that Depart from, Return to, or Visit a U.S. Port, and ones that did not.
Voyages that Depart from, Return to, or Visit a U.S. Port
Here, Costa’s contract states that all such claims involving physical or emotional injury, illness or death in which the amount in controversy exceeds seventy five thousand U.S. dollars (US$75,000) shall be filed only in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida located in Broward County, Florida, to the exclusion of the courts of any other county, state or nation. All claims brought in small claims court shall be instituted only in the small claims courts of Broward County, Florida.
Voyages That Do Not Depart from, Return to, or Visit a U.S. Port
All claims, controversies, disputes, suits and matters of any kind whatsoever arising out of, concerned with or incident to any voyage that does not depart from, return to, or visit a U.S. port, or to this Contract if issued in connection with such a voyage, shall be instituted only in the courts of Genoa, Italy, to the exclusion of the courts of any other county, state or nation. Italian law shall apply to any such proceedings.
Since the Costa Cruise that recently sunk did not depart, return to, or visit a US port, the proper venue will likely be in Genoa, Italy.
Every case is unique. The facts and circumstances of your case may differ. You should not rely in any way on any of this as legal advice. It is for general information only and is subject to change at any time. The contract discussed herein may not be a current contract or the specific one used in your cruise.
To discuss the facts of your cruise injury case, please call me at 800-337-7755 for a free consultation.
MIAMI, FLORIDA – A lawsuit was recently filed against Carnival Corporation a/k/a Carnival Cruise Lines after a passenger was injured after a slip and fall on a cruise.
The case highlights the rights of cruise passengers who put their trust in the cruise lines to provide a safe and enjoyable vacation experience. Cruises are often motivated by profit, stressing the overindulgence of alcoholic beverage consumption, late night partying, dance parties, sail away parties, drinks with the Captain, excursions and the casino.
Cruise ship injuries are often governed by your Passenger Contract and Maritime Law
When you purchase your cruise, you are generally agreeing to the Cruise Passenger Contract. The contract consists of several pages of fine print which may affect your rights and duties.
In general, most cruise lines require you to notify them of your intent to make a claim within 6 months with a brief description of your allegations and injuries. This is sometimes referred to as a Statement of Particulars. You may also be required to file a lawsuit within 1 year of the incident.
Where must a cruise lawsuit be filed?
Most cruise lines state the Court in which a cruise lawsuit must be filed in the Passenger Contract. Carnival Corporation, for example, generally requires a lawsuit to be brought against in in the United States District Court for the Southern District Court in the Miami District. This means that your case could be dismissed if you file the lawsuit against Carnival Cruise in Fort Lauderdale, just 30 minutes away. Royal Caribbean generally requires a lawsuit against them to be filed in either State or Federal Court in Miami-Dade County. Since Federal Maritime Law applies, or diversity jurisdiction applies, most lawsuits may be filed in Federal Court. If filed in the wrong court, the cruise can move to dismiss your lawsuit and it may be barred forever.