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.
Costa Cruise Injury Claims
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.