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Carnival Splendor Fire: 3 Reasons Not to Sue

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on November 18, 2010 5:59 AM

A good lawyer will tell you when you have a case. A great lawyer will tell you when you don't. One maritime law expert is advising passengers of the ironically named Carnival "Splendor" not to sue over the vacation from hell. Yes, it was unpleasant and yes, you didn't get what you paid for, but an injury? Probably not.

A personal injury attorney needs to look for an actual injury before filing any paper work, and the Carnival Splendor passengers are no exception, writes USA Today. According to the report, there are three main reasons not to sue. First, as noted, to sue for injury you must have one. According to the report, the terrible conditions of the last days of the Carnival cruise included no air-conditioning, no lights, no working toilets and subsisting on Spam and Pop-Tarts instead of cruise buffet food. Unfortunate yes, injurious, no. Unless of course, a passenger tripped and fell in the dark. That might be another case altogether.

The second reason not to sue is that the ticket agreement, as drafted by Carnival, protects the company against just this kind of situation. As noted in a prior post about the Carnival Splendor, passengers should always review their ticket and any other documents from the cruise line carefully. They often contain language that limits the company's liability in certain situations.

Most importantly, as noted by USA Today's legal expert, the cruise line has offered compensation. Carnival has reportedly said it will not only refund the passengers' ticket and travel costs, it will provide a substitute cruise of the same value. This is very similar to the compensation that would be ordered in many circumstances by a court. Further compensation would only come in the form of reimbursement for medical bills (if you actually did suffer an injury) or in the form of actual and punitive damages. Punitive damages are only awarded in cases of egregious conduct by the defendant and let's face it, Spam just isn't all that bad.

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