Carnival's ill-fated Splendor cruise ship took its 4,500 passengers on what many dubbed the "cruise from hell," as described in a CBS News article and other news articles. A fire broke out and subsequently killed power to the large boat, which was left adrift 200 miles off the Pacific coast near San Diego.
All of the passengers eventually were rescued without any injuries to speak of. But while many of them have pursued lawsuits, a prominent maritime attorney wrote on his law blog that without injury there is no basis for a personal injury case, USA today reported.
Jim Walker said quite directly that “experiencing inconvenience and unpleasant circumstances” is not the same as actually being injured. Therefore, he argued, Carnival cannot be held liable for the bad trip:
“If you fall down a flight of stairs in the dark and break your hip, that’s a personal injury. But taking cold showers, smelling toilets that can’t be flushed, eating Spam sandwiches in the dark or other similar ‘cruise from hell’ stories are not compensable.”
This isn’t limited to maritime law, though. Any Illinois injury attorney would tell you that to have standing in a personal injury case, you need to prove actual injuries, either physical or emotional.
Sure, passengers talked about the bland food, limited to non-perishables such as peanut butter and Spam; the smell of unflushed toilets; dim emergency lighting and other inconveniences. But injuries? Nope. Passenger Jinger Kalin offered some clear perspective on her experience:
“I think we all kind of made lemonade out of lemons - I mean, what are you going to do? It could have been worse, right? The ship could have, you know, could have been sinking!”
Therefore, at least in the opinion of Jim Walker, we probably won’t see any lawsuits stemming from the incident gain traction. Anyone can file a complaint, though.
But if you’ve sustained an injury and believe it is the fault of another party, it may be a good idea to call a Chicago injury lawyer.