Costa Concordia cruise ship passengers contemplating bringing a claim against the cruise line need to carefully review their Cruise Ticket Contract which can be found at costacruise.com. Much to their surprise they will find 7 pages of fine print containing severe limitations to their right to obtain compensation for their losses. First, Paragraph 3 limits the liability of the Carrier for the wrongful death or personal injury to the Passenger to approximately U.S. $70,000.00.
Next, Paragraph 2b) requires that the Carrier can only be sued in Genoa, Italy using Italian law. However Paragraph 3 provides that Costa Cruise Line or it's parent company, Carvival Cruise Lines, shall have the benefit of all restrictions, exemptions and limitations of liability available through the courts of the United States of America providing for limitation and exoneration from liability. In other words they get to use American law if the choose but the passengers do not.
Paragraph 1 provides that a Passenger making a claim must notify the Carrier within 185 days of the injury or death and any suit must be filed within one year of the injury or death or it will be forever barred.
Paragraph 7 provides that the Carrier shall not be liable to the Passenger for damages for emotional distress, mental anguish or psychological injury of any kind when such damages were neither the result of a physical injury to the Passenger, the the result of the Passenger having been at actual risk of a physical injury, nor intentionally inflicted by the Carrier. Look for Costa to take the position that those Passengers who, thankfully, were rescued despite the Carrier's inexcusable behavior were never "at actual risk of a physical injury".
There are other limitations in the tickets including claims for lost clothing, jewelry, personal items such as cameras, phones and computers and money.
Finally, some sources report that some attorneys are talking of a Class Action. Good Luck. Paragraph 9 specificall prohibits this. Curiously, this is the only paragraph in ALL CAPS.
It is time to reform the American based Cruise industry that carries at least 10 million passengers per year before we have a "Costa Cordia Disaster" here.
The worst part is that with one exception these provisions appear virtually verbatim in Carnival Cruise Lines U. S. Cruise tickets and they have been upheld by American Courts. For cruises that originate in the U.S. the Carrier cannot limit its liability in wrongful death or personal injury claims.