Impact of COVID-19 Impact on Cruise Ship Crew Negligence Cases

Posted on Tuesday, April 18th, 2023 at 6:34 pm    

COVID-19 Impact on Cruise Ship Crew Negligence Cases

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone in this country, but one industry where the pandemic led to many lawsuits is cruise ships. Passengers sued cruise ship companies for not protecting them enough while they were on the ship.

Also, cruise ship crew members have claims against their employers for similar reasons. In some instances, crew members can get compensation for the negligence of cruise ship companies. What is the COVID-19 impact on cruise ship crew negligence cases?

Negligence of Cruise Ships on Crew Members

There are many ways in which cruise ships might be negligent when it comes to their crew members. Some of the ways that cruise ship companies could be negligent include:

  • Not providing adequate training for the crew – Cruise ships must provide adequate training for their crew members. Cruise ships have a plethora of equipment on board and hundreds of crew members. They need to make sure that crew members receive adequate training.
  • Failing to maintain a safe vessel – Crew members must feel safe while on the ship. This is especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic, as cruise operators forced their crew members to perform dangerous duties during that time. Cruise lines did not provide crew members with Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), and many crew members contracted COVID-19 as a result.
  • Assaults by another crew member – If one crew member attacks another, the cruise ship company could be liable for the resulting injuries. During COVID-19, when stress was high, fights may have started as anxiety boiled over.

Cruise ships should be held liable for their negligence, and crew members should be able to get compensation for their injuries.

Proving Negligence in Crew Member Cases

Under the Jones Act, crew members can sue their employer, but they must prove that the cruise ship company was negligent.

The Jones Act has a low threshold for proving negligence. The crew member only has to prove that employer negligence had a role in causing the accident, not that their negligence was the primary cause of the accident.

How Crew Members Can Get COVID-19

While anyone on board a cruise ship is susceptible to contracting COVID-19, crew members could be more likely to get it. Here are some ways that crew members can contract COVID-19.

  • Cruise lines forced their employers to work under conditions that put them at risk for COVID-19. Often, crew members were not allowed to quarantine. They had to deal with passenger illnesses and other problems onboard the ship.
  • Crew members working in the restaurants were touching utensils and cups on the tables to clear them.
  • Crew members were near each other during meals and meetings.
  • Equipment used by other crew members could transmit the virus to other crew members.
  • Crew members who cleaned the ship to rid it of COVID-19 could have contracted the virus.

Who Can Sue Under The Jones Act?

COVID-19 Impact on Cruise Ship Crew Negligence Cases 2

There are two requirements for filing a claim under The Jones Act, which are:

  • At least 30 percent of your work hours on the cruise ship must be spent on navigable waters.
  • You contribute substantially to the cruise ship’s mission.

Also, you must be a “seaman.” Employees on a cruise ship that qualify as seamen are:

  • Captains
  • Housekeeping Staff
  • Waiters
  • Cooks
  • Bartenders
  • Maintenance
  • Entertainers

Proving Negligence

Crew members diagnosed with COVID-19 while onboard a cruise ship must prove that the cruise line company engaged in negligent behavior. Under the Jones Act, the seaman’s employer must provide a reasonably safe place to work and properly maintain the vessel on which the seaman works in a reasonably safe condition.

To prove the employer was negligent, the seaman must show:

  • Duty of care – The cruise line company owed the seaman a duty of care.
  • Breach of that duty – The cruise line company knew about (or should have known about) a condition on the ship that was unsafe, and they did not act to correct it.
  • Harm caused by the breach – The breach of duty led to the seaman’s injuries.
  • Actual losses – The seaman’s injuries must have led to financial or non-financial losses.

Call Louis A. Vucci P.A. for Help with Your Crew Member COVID-19 Case

If you worked on a cruise ship and contracted COVID-19, you may be able to pursue compensation for your injuries and related losses. The cruise ship injury lawyers of Louis A. Vucci P.A. can fight for your rights and work to obtain compensation from your employer for their negligent conduct. Call us at [phone number] today for your free consultation.