Legally speaking, when a cruise ship passenger catches the norovirus while at sea, he/she is most likely not to get any compensation since there are no laws mandating cruise ships to compensate norovirus patients. It would simply be like getting sick while on a private holiday vacation, with the cost of medical treatment, doctor’s fee and medication, being shouldered by his/her insurance provider.

Norovirus is the most common cause of gastroenteritis or the inflammation of the intestines and stomach, usually due to viral infection or bacterial toxins. It is a very contagious disease which, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, affects 19 to 21 million individuals in the U.S. every year, causing up to 70,000 hospitalizations and up to 800 deaths.

The virus that causes this illness is found in the stool and vomit of infected people. There is no exact determination how this illness actually starts, though, acquiring the virus that leads to it is obviously very easy, specifically by:

  • Touching objects or surfaces that have been contaminated with the norovirus and then having
    your fingers or hand touch your mouth;
  • Direct contact with an infected person, including sharing food with him or her, or using utensil that he or she used; and,
  • Drinking or eating anything that has been contaminated with the virus.

There are people who consider the norovirus illness as a minor health issue, despite the many number of people it can immediately affect and the pain and inconvenience felt by those affected. This is obviously due to the fact that those infected recuperate within three days after the symptoms appear – the usual case involving those who are healthy; however, if those infected have a weak immune system, like young children, residents of nursing home facilities and those with health conditions, then the illness may last for months or even years.

News of possible norovirus illness, especially in cruise ships, should not be taken lightly and those affected should be given competent medical care and assistance so as to hasten their recovery as well as stop the virus from spreading further and infect more passengers. Quarantine of those infected and immediate disinfection of the cruise ship is necessary, otherwise, it may result to prolonged illness, worsening of symptoms, and allergic reactions.

According to San Diego maritime lawsuit attorneys of Ritter & Associates, every year, millions of individuals travel on cruise ships bound toward exotic locations, and many of these depart from the California coastline. The majority of these passengers head out to sea without the slightest thought of an accident and possible injury. Unfortunately, cruise ship accidents happen, and in many cases, they could have been prevented.

The details of a lawsuit depends on the nature of the injury and the circumstances which led to its occurrence. If the injury happened within three miles of the California coast line, California state law applies to the case. On the other hand, if the injury occurred farther than three miles from the coast, the case will fall under maritime law, which is different from laws on accidents that occur on land. It would be to the advantage of an injured passenger if he/she would consult with a skilled maritime lawyer, who may be able to help him/her pursue his/her case.


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