The spread of COVID-19 may also lead to growing legal disputes, especially where travel operators in West Virginia and across the country are involved. One couple that was on the quarantined cruise ship, the Grand Princess, sued operator Princess Cruise Lines, saying that the company was grossly negligent in allowing people on board the ship to be exposed to the novel coronavirus. They argue that Princess knew or should have known that the ship was already dangerous before they boarded because two previous passengers had contracted symptoms of COVID-19.
The lawsuit also says that on Feb. 25, people who had previously sailed on the ship received an email notification from the cruise line warning them of potential coronavirus exposure. However, they say that the passengers currently on the ship were not warned to take any additional precautionary measures, despite the fact that another Princess ship was the location of an outbreak where over 700 people contracted the virus. They said that they never would have boarded if they were properly informed of the coronavirus threat and that they had an opportunity to disembark on Feb. 26 in Honolulu, where they would have stayed if they received the Feb. 25 notice.
The Grand Princess was held off the coast of California for a week. One of the previous passengers on the ship died of a COVID-19 infection after leaving the cruise. So far, at least 21 people on the ship have tested positive for coronavirus.
Cruise lines, hotel owners and other companies that provide travel and accommodations have a responsibility to provide a safe environment for their guests, even in the era of COVID-19. People harmed due to a travel operator’s negligence may consult with a personal injury attorney about a potential premises liability claim.