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Accident lawsuits could increase safety in cruise industry

Earlier this month, we discussed the fatal cruise ship accident that took place off the coast of Italy last month, and wondered if, because of the large number of cruises that depart from San Diego, such a traumatic boating accident could conceivably take place here. However, we concluded in that blog post that such a fatal accident would be unlikely to take place off the coast of California.

Now, a personal injury attorney who is representing some of the people involved in the fatal cruise accident is offering further assurances. According to the lawyer, there will likely be many calls for industry-wide safety reforms in the wake of the crash. These calls will be led, interestingly, by insurance companies.

The reason for this is relatively simple. Insurance companies do not particularly enjoy paying out on several multi-million dollar insurance claims, which will likely be the case when all is said and done. In order to ensure that they do not receive additional costly claims in the future, the companies will push the cruise industry to implement additional safety and training programs, which will hopefully prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future.

However, it may be some time before the litigation surrounding the cruise ship accident is settled. Last month, Costa Cruises offered about $15,000 to each of the more than 3,000 people who was injured in the crash. It is not known how much was offered to the families of the more than 30 deceased or still-missing passengers.

A number of the ship passengers will likely turn down this offer and file personal injury lawsuits against Costa and its parent company, Carnival Cruises. We will continue to provide updates as the cases progress.

Source: Thomson Reuters News & Insight, "Italy cruise lawsuits will force higher standards-lawyer," Phillip Pullella, Feb. 9, 2012

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