Winning Is In Our DNA

Headshot of attorneys Frederick Evans Schmidt and R. Joshua Koch Jr.

Winning Is In Our DNA

Headshot of attorneys Frederick Evans Schmidt and R. Joshua Koch Jr.

Can I Sue if I Get Sick on a Cruise Ship?

People get sick on cruises all the time. From common colds to serious illnesses, cruises can be breeding grounds for sickness. While some sicknesses are unpreventable, others are within the cruise ship’s control. When a cruise ship fails to take steps to prevent certain illnesses, infected passengers may be entitled to sue. Below is an overview of the circumstances under which a sick passenger may sue a cruise ship.


A cruise ship is negligent if it fails to exercise reasonable care to protect passengers. In order to recover damages against a cruise line, a passenger must prove that his or her sickness was caused by the cruise line’s failure to exercise reasonable care. In order to prove negligence in court, a plaintiff’s attorney must prove the following elements:

  • The ship had a legal duty to exercise reasonable care to prevent passengers from getting sick.
  • The ship breached this duty.
  • The breach caused the plaintiff’s illness.
  • The plaintiff’s illness resulted in damages.

Cruise Ship Illnesses Caused by Negligence

There are three primary illnesses that are considered preventable with the exercise of reasonable care by a cruise ship. These are norovirus, food poisoning, and Legionnaire’s disease. Depending on the circumstances, a passenger who contracts any of these three illnesses may be able to successfully sue a cruise line.


Norovirus, also called the stomach flu, is an illness that causes vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, and fever. Norovirus is extremely contagious and can spread through physical contact with a sick person, physical contact with something a sick person touched, and through contaminated food and water.

Food Poisoning 

Food Poisoning is common on cruise ships, and it is usually the result of negligence. One common way in which cruise ships pass along food poisoning to passengers is when a sick food preparer fails to wash his or her hands properly.

Legionnaires’ Disease

Legionnaires’ Disease is a serious illness with a fatality rate of approximately 15%. The disease is caused by the Legionella bacterium, which is a common bacterium that grows in warm water.

A Legionnaires’ disease outbreak on a cruise ship is often attributable to negligence, such as the staff’s failure to sufficiently heat pools and hot tubs.

Contact Our Experienced Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana Maritime Attorneys 

If you’ve suffered an illness on a cruise ship, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation. At Koch & Schmidt, our Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana cruise ship accident lawyers have extensive experience representing clients who’ve fallen ill on cruise ships. Our legal team possesses the skills and knowledge necessary to help you recover from your cruise ship illness. Therefore, if you’ve suffered an illness due to the negligence of a cruise ship, please contact us as soon as possible to begin your journey to recovery.