When it comes to cruise passenger rights and the damages they are entitled to for injuries or emotional trauma suffered at the hands of a negligent cruise operator, the line between what should be done by cruise companies to compensate passengers and what will they will actually provide victims is drawn.
As Carnival Triumph passengers make their way home following what many have called the cruise vacation from hell, it is important for all who were onboard following the cruise ship fire to understand what their rights are and what they are entitled to as far as recoveries.
According to a statement on Carnival’s website, the following compensation will be issued to Triumph cruise passengers: Full cruise refund, reimbursement for transportation expenses and certain onboard purchases, future cruise credit, and $500 per person.
Unfortunately, not everyone is satisfied with what the company has offered.
The question then remains: Do Carnival Triumph passengers have a right to seek more in damages than what the line is offering? According to Lipcon’s maritime accident attorney, Michael A. Winkleman, the answer is YES.
On an interview this morning on Fox Network’s Fox & Friends seen HERE, Mr. Winkleman discussed the rights of Triumph passengers to receive better compensation.
According to Mr. Winkleman, passengers may be able to obtain a larger recovery than Carnival has allotted and explained that the $500 the company has offered to guests is “laughable.”
Mr. Winkleman went on to explain that following another Carnival Corp. subsidiary’s accident, the tragic Costa Concordia capsizing on Jan. 13, 2012, every passenger onboard the vessel – even those that were not injured – were offered roughly $15,000 in compensation.
Although 32 people died in the Concordia cruise ship accident, Mr. Winkleman explains passengers onboard the Triumph had to endure five days worth of hazardous conditions, including non-working toilets, overflowing waste and sewage and meager food provisions.
Yet, as unsanitary and traumatic as these conditions were, Carnival is trying to limit the amount of compensation for victims, which Mr. Winkleman explains results from the fact that the company is not a U.S. corporation.
“[Carnival] can avoid U.S. Laws. Carnival is a Liberian corporation with headquarters in Miami, but is not subject to U.S. taxes or labor laws,” explained Mr. Winkleman, adding that as a result, the company prevents victims from making a full recovery following cruise ship accidents and injuries.
There are also unique legal issues involved in the case because of the line’s passenger ticket contract – a tool which Mr. Winkleman says Carnival and other cruise lines use to limit passenger rights to file emotional distress claims and class action lawsuits, forcing them to go into arbitration, instead of presenting their case in a U.S. court of law.
There are ways around these limitations but it takes an experience and knowledgeable cruise line lawyer to increase the chances of success. Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman P.A. have approximately 80 combined years of experience suing cruise lines including Carnival.
Knowing this, the help of an experienced cruise ship lawyer is absolutely critical for the protection of passenger rights.
The attorneys at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. work diligently to protect the rights of all passengers and crewmembers involved in accidents onboard cruise ships and endeavor to obtain the maximum recovery possible for their pain and suffering.
Michael A. Winkleman will also be discussing the Carnival Triumph cruise ship fire accident and passenger rights on two of the network’s other programs: The O’Reilly Factor, airing tonight, Feb. 15, at 8 p.m. EST, and Justice with Judge Jeanine, airing on Saturday, Feb. 16, at 9 p.m. EST.