After the Costa Concordia disaster, news broke about some injured and severely traumatized cruise ship passengers trying to organize and take legal action against the Italian liner's owner Costa Crociere and its U.S. parent company Carnival Cruises lines. Considering how reckless the cruise ship captain was in operating the vessel and the magnitude of damage, pursuing damages through the civil justice system makes sense.
Many Costa Concordia passengers, however, are discovering that pursuing justice through the courts will be an uphill battle. Many legal experts predict that a successful Costa Concordia suit could not be litigated in the United States even if Miami, FL-based Carnival is named as a defendant. Observers predict that a successful lawsuit will have to be filed in Genoa, Italy. Why? Because of the fine print on the cruise line tickets.
Numerous cruise lines include what’s called “choice of forum” language in ticket contracts. This provision stipulates where any legal dispute must be heard. When you agree to purchase and sign on the dotted line, the cruise company takes that as you accepting all of the provisions in the ticket contract, including provisions blatantly worded in ways that allow the company to reduce or deny liability or which require lawsuits to be filed in areas where the chances of successfully bringing a claim for damages are minimal.
These onerous contractual provisions should not deter injured passengers or family members of passengers who lost their lives in the cruise ship disaster from speaking with a personal injury attorney about their legal options. Just because bringing a case may prove difficult, achieving some semblance of justice is not impossible.
In fact, firm attorney Emily Mapp Brannon is representing two passengers who were on board the Costa Concordia and suffered serious traumas. To learn more, read this Virginia Lawyers Weekly article cruise ship injury lawyer Emily Brannon and her clients
About the Editors: The Shapiro, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, which has offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as pro bono services.