It has been in the news a lot lately that the sunken cruise ship, Costa Concordia, is being refloated and will head on its final voyage to a scrapyard soon. It was a tragedy that stemmed from a bizarre series of incidents and miscalculations which tragically cost people their lives. But it is a tragedy that will not go away, at least financially, for Carnival Cruise lines the ship’s owner. A recent lawsuit filed in Florida shows that although the ship is going to be scrapped, the survivors of the wreck are not scrapping their rights to sue the Florida based cruise operator.
The fatal accident took place on 13 January 2012 when the hulking cruise ship struck a reef which tore a 160 foot long hole in its hull below the water line. The ship which was carrying 4,252 people at the time had deviated intentionally from its planned route to sail closer to the shore. The Costa Concordia started to take on water and list and the crew was unable to keep it from running aground again a little later. In the aftermath and evacuation, which many described as unorganized and chaotic, it was later discovered that a total of 32 passengers aboard the ship had tragically lost their lives. It was also later discovered that the Captain had left his reading glasses in his stateroom, had his girlfriend and others on the ships bridge distracting him at the time of the accident, and he was also one of the first ones to abandon ship.
The lawsuits are not surprising with how the cruise operator first handled things in the following weeks after the accident. The cruise operator first offered the surviving passengers a full refund and 30% off a future cruise, I am sure a future cruise was the last thing on the survivor’s minds after the highly traumatic experience. It was almost a mockery after what had happened. Since the initial offering they have upped the ante and subsequently offered the passengers each $14,400 apiece in total compensation, which one third of the surviving passengers have accepted at this point.
Now a group of six survivors has brought a lawsuit which seeks $460 million in damages. These six surviving victims sought legal counsel and decided not to be victims of the cruise operator a second time. It was bad enough they had to go through this tragic and traumatic accident in the first place, but to suffer through the casual treatment afterwards makes it even worse. It shows the importance of getting sound legal advice anytime you feel you have been taken advantage of after an accident or anything else.