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Suing Costa Cruise Lines – A Maritime Lawyer’s Perspective

Costa Cruise Line’s Fleet:

Costa Cruises is an Italy-based cruise line with many ships in its fleet. These include:

Classica Class:

Vessels: Costa neoRomantica
Year Built / Entered Service: 1993
Gross Tonnage: 56,769

Victoria Class:

Vessels: Costa Victoria
Year Built / Entered Service: 1996
Gross Tonnage: 75,166

Fortuna (Triumph) Class:

Vessels: Costa Fortuna
Year Built / Entered Service: 2003
Gross Tonnage: 102,587

Vessels: Costa Magica
Year Built / Entered Service: 2004
Gross Tonnage: 102,587

Concordia Class:

Vessels: Costa Serena
Year Built / Entered Service: 2007
Gross Tonnage: 114,500

Vessels: Costa Pacifica
Year Built / Entered Service: 2009
Gross Tonnage: 114,500

Vessels: Costa Favolosa
Year Built / Entered Service: 2011
Gross Tonnage: 114,500

Vessels: Costa Fascinosa
Year Built / Entered Service: 2012
Gross Tonnage: 114,500

Luminosa Class:

Vessels: Costa Luminosa
Year Built / Entered Service: 2009
Gross Tonnage: 92,700

Vessels: Costa Deliziosa
Year Built / Entered Service: 2010
Gross Tonnage: 92,700

Diadema (Dream) Class:

Vessels: Costa Diadema
Year Built / Entered Service: 2014
Gross Tonnage: 133,019

Venezia (Vista) Class:

Vessels: Costa Venezia
Year Built / Entered Service: 2019
Gross Tonnage: 135,225

Excellence Class:

Vessels: Costa Smeralda
Year Built / Entered Service: 2019
Gross Tonnage: 185,010

Future Fleet:

Vessels: Costa Firenze
Year Built / Entered Service: 2020
Gross Tonnage: 135,225

Vessels: Costa Toscana
Year Built / Entered Service: 2021
Gross Tonnage: 185,010

Duty Owed by Costa Cruise Lines to its Passengers

While you are on a cruise with Costa Cruises, you should be able to relax, knowing that your safety and wellbeing will be preserved. All cruise lines owe the duty of “reasonable care under the circumstances” to provide a safe place and to undertake procedures in a “reasonably safe” manner. These duties include the obligations:

  • to prevent the creation of an unsafe condition,
  • to remedy in a timely fashion an unsafe condition, and
  • to warn of non-obvious unsafe conditions.

Importantly, if the unsafe condition is beyond, meaning off, the vessel, say for example in a port of call, the duty of reasonable care can include a duty to warn of known dangers beyond the point of debarkation in places where passengers are invited or reasonably anticipated to go. Costa has not been spared when it comes to marine disasters. Case in point, the Costa Concordia (2006-2012) which ran aground of the coast of Giglio Island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, capsized and partially sunk on January 13, 2012. More than 4,200 passengers and crew were rescued from the vessel, though 32 people died. Several of the ship’s crew, notably Capt. Francesco Schettino, were charged with various crimes. Capt. Schettino was charged with manslaughter as well as causing the wreck and abandoning ship. He was subsequently found guilty of all charges and sentenced to 16 years in prison. The Concordia was later deemed a total constructive loss and the shipwreck was later removed and dismantled for scrap in Genoa. For all intents and purposes, the Concordia was a modern-day Titanic.

If you suffer an injury or get sick, you may be able to recover compensation from Costa Cruises. It is important to consult a seasoned maritime attorney about the viability of your claim. At the Brais Law Firm, our Costa Cruises injury lawyers may be able to help you.

Ticket Limitations: “Written Notice,” “One-Year Time Suit Limitation,” & “Forum Selection Clause”

Like other cruise lines, Costa Cruises issues a ticket with a number of restrictions on passengers’ ability to sue or recover damages. First, under the terms of the ticket, a passenger needs to provide Costa Cruises with written notice of a claim with full details within 185 days after the date of an illness, injury, or death. Second, no legal proceedings can be maintained unless the lawsuit is filed within a year of the injury, illness, or death date, and unless valid service is made upon Costa Cruises within 120 days of commencing the proceeding. Finally, all cruise lines, Costa included, now include within their Cruise Ticket Contract a “Forum Selection Clause,” that requires Costa be sued only in a geographic location (aka “forum”) of its choosing and in a particular court within that forum. Costa requires all suits brought against it must be filed in Genoa, Italy. Brais Law Firm regularly assists cruise passengers with the selection of highly qualified maritime Genoa counsel, at no additional cost to the client.

Examples of Unsafe or Dangerous Conditions Resulting in Cruise Ship Injury Claims

Dangerous conditions on a ship can result in serious injuries or illnesses. Conditions that can result in injuries or illnesses include slippery floors or decks, badly designed decks or corridors, foodborne illnesses, lack of guardrails or barriers, unmarked obstructions, falling cargo, improperly secured equipment, loose ladders, lack of safety training, improper housekeeping procedures aboard the vessel, and lack of non-skid paint. If, for example, you are on board a Costa Cruises ship, and someone spills a slippery substance on the deck, and hours later, you slip and fracture your ankle, you may be able to recover damages as a result of your slip and fall. The Cruise Line will argue, “But we are not insurers of a passenger’s safety, and the plaintiff bears the burden of proving that we [Costa] either knew or should have known [because the condition existed for a sufficient period of time] of the alleged unsafe condition and had a reasonable opportunity to warn of or remedy the condition.” In short, a personal injury plaintiff, in most cases, bears the burden of proving “notice” on the part of a cruise line as a precondition to successfully bringing suit. In most cases, there are ways of proving up “notice” and this burden of proof illustrates the need for hiring an experienced maritime practitioner.

Damages Recoverable by Cruise Ship Passengers

The nature of the injuries will affect the compensation that is available to an injured passenger. Generally, in cases brought under maritime law, it may be possible to recover compensation for medical care for the injuries that you sustained, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The damages may include both past and future losses.

However, if you are a crewmember who is injured aboard a cruise ship, you may have claims under the Jones Act and general maritime law. A maritime employer has the legal obligation and duty to provide employees, such as crew members, with a safe working environment on a seaworthy vessel. If this does not happen, a Costa Cruises injury lawyer may be able to help you recover damages for medical care, maintenance and cure, lost wages, pain and suffering, rehabilitation and therapy, and mental and emotional anguish.

Hire a Knowledgeable Board Certified Maritime Attorney

If you were injured or if a loved one was killed on a Costa Cruises voyage, you should consult an experienced maritime attorney. At the Brais Law Firm, our Costa Cruises injury attorneys have decades of experience and strong credentials, including an “AV” Preeminent Rating from Martindale Hubbell and a Board Certification in maritime law from the Florida Bar. Call us at 800-499-0551 or Contact Us and complete a confidential and free online consultation form.

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Your case will be handled by experienced personal injury attorney who know what it takes to get the results that you deserve. The practitioners at our firm have over 70 years of collective trial experience. Our credentials and qualifications are extensive including an “AV” Preeminent rating by Martindale-Hubbell and membership in the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. More importantly, we have a first-hand understanding of how insurance carriers operate because we represented clients insured with major insurance companies for nearly 20 years before we made the choice to change sides so that we could help the people who need us most – individuals just like you.

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