The Costa Concordia tragedy in January has been a source of controversy and concern for both surviving victims and the loved ones of those who perished in the capsizing of the vessel after it ran aground. While those involved in the cruise ship accident may be entitled to a large settlement due to the liabilities associated with the Captain’s actions, a recent CNN discussion of the accident may lead surviving victims and their families to believe they may not qualify for the full compensation the rightfully deserve.
The EU has proposed a regulation that would make the Athens Convention of 1974 applicable to all members, including Italy, where the Concordia cruise ship accident took place. The Athens Convention established a system that governs the liability of cruise ship operators from personal injuries and property damage that are sustained by passengers.
As part of the Athens Convention, the carrier in question is allowed to limit its liability for personal injury accidents with passengers or fatalities, but the carrier loses its right to limit liability when the damage resulted from an intent to purposefully cause damage or where a reckless action took place, where the person responsible was aware that such damage would likely result – and in the Concordia case, the captain is being accused of negligence and abandoning ship before passengers were safe. When personal injuries or death result, the liability is limited at 46,666 Special Drawing Rights (SDR) per carriage, which is about $70,000. The 2002 Protocol, when it goes into effect on Dec. 31, 2012, will introduce compulsory insurance to raise the limits of liability to 250,000 SDR per passenger.
However, the issue in question stems from the fact that Italy is not a signatory of the Athens Convention or of the 2002 Protocol. CNN commentators have noted that the death claims are limited to about $70,000, information which is incorrect and misleading to victims and their loved ones. The Concordia flew the Italian flag, and as such, the limitation imposed by the Athens Convention does not apply. Not only is Italy not governed by the regulations of the Athens Convention, but even when the 2002 Protocol does go into effect, the claims will be limited to 250,000 SDR, not 46,666 SDR.
In light of this misinformation, we encourage victims to seek the help of a Costa Concordia lawyer with our firm to ensure that you obtain the full spectrum of benefits that you rightfully deserve. The laws governing maritime accidents can be extremely complex, but our attorneys are available to offer assistance and help you file a claim for the personal injuries you or your loved ones suffered due to the Costa accident.
Filing a Costa claim requires that the case be brought in Genoa, Italy. Our firm has already successfully handled cases against Costa Crociere in both Genoa, Italy and in the United States and our lawyers work diligently to ensure the successful recovery of damages for victims of Concordia claims and have the experience and knowledge of maritime law that will aid in trying to recover damages for you and your loved ones.