Monday morning some passengers felt a jolt and a shudder run through the CARNIVAL SPLENDOR and some felt nothing; but within minutes everyone aboard knew the ship was in trouble; 200 miles south San Diego and more the 40 miles an engine room fire would soon leave the mega passenger ship dead in the water and powerless. Cold food, cold showers and hot, dark rooms took the place of the luxury cruise the 3,000 passengers had paid for.
Carnival Cruise Lines has announced plans to refund the cost of the cruise and offered a free replacement cruise to all of the passengers aboard, but at the same time is preparing to fend off claims from passengers who have suffered psychological injury, or fallen ill from food poisoning or unsanitary conditions.
Under maritime law, psychological injuries are not compensible unless accompanied by a “physical impact.” Unfortunately, Carnival won’t tell you that physical symptoms of psychological injury such as headache, nausea of vomiting may be sufficient to satisfy the “physical impact” requirement and qualify you for compensation.
Fire on a ship is extremely dangerous and is a well recognized cause of psychological injury to passengers and crew.
Several years ago we were involved in crew member claims arising from an engine room fire on the M/V CAPE HORN. That fire also left the ship stranded at sea and it too had to be towed to port. In that case, seasoned seamen suffered psychological injuries, some of which became disabling. Passengers are even more vulnerable to psychological injury from such incidents because their lack of training and experience leads to legitimate feelings of helplessness.
More recently we became involved with a survivor of the DEEPWATER HORIZON explosion, and again found that even experienced seamen are vulnerable to psychiatric injury when there is fire on a ship.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is one of the more serious forms of psychological disorder associated with incidents such as the CARNIVAL SPLENDOR stranding, although there are many other conditions that may be related as well. If you are experiencing symptoms of PTSD or other psychological injury you should seek treatment as soon as possible. Early treatment with a doctor trained and experienced in dealing with PTSD dramatically improves the outlook for recovery.
We also played a major role in handling the injury claims arising from the CROWN PRINCESS “listing” off the coast of Florida in 2006. While there were many combined physical and psychological injury claims, there were also many “pure” psychological injuries. Handling those claims we came to appreciate that the symptoms of a psychological injury do not always develop right away. Often the symptoms did not become apparent for weeks or months after the passengers returned home. Even so we were successful in resolving all of those claims we handled.
On the CARNIVAL SPLENDOR, there have also been accounts of food that smelled spoiled and of toilets that did not work. If you were exposed to either of these problems and are now experiencing illness, it is critical that you tell your doctor you were a passenger or crew member on the CARNIVAL SPLENDOR. Your doctor will want to run tests to determine whether your illness is caused by food poisoning or unsanitary conditions. An early and accurate diagnosis will allow your doctor to prescribe the right treatment. This is particularly important for seniors and others who are susceptible to secondary infections like pneumonia.
The good news is, it seems that most passengers and crew from the CARNIVAL SPLENDOR escaped without serious injury. For those that were injured, getting help early is critical to your future well-being.
If you need help finding the right doctor call us any time. We can offer referrals to doctors who are experienced with diagnosing and treating PTSD and other psychological injuries.
We can help. We are experienced cruise ship injury and accident attorneys. There is never any charge for an evaluation or for medical referrals.