There is a lot of talk in the media about so-called "class action" lawsuits, arising out of the Costa Concordia cruise disaster, seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation and other far fetched claims. Most of these exaggerated claims are being made by lawyers who have absolutely no experience handling maritime claims.
What is not being discussed in the media is that the Costa Concordia survivors are facing a deadline as early as the end of this week. The deadline pertains to the passenger's claim for their lost luggage, clothing, electronics, jewelry and other personal effects.
According to the terms of the Costa Cruises passenger ticket, passengers must provide written notice to the company identified in the ticket for all claims other than physical or emotional injury, illness or death within thirty (30) days of the incident. Here is the pertinent language:
" . . . The Carrier shall not be liable for any claims whatsoever, other than for physical or emotional injury, illness or death of the Passenger, unless written notice of the claim with full particulars is delivered to the Carrier or its duly authorized agent within thirty (30) days after the Passenger shall be landed from the Vessel, or in the case the voyage is abandoned within thirty (30) days thereafter. No legal proceeding whatsoever, other than for personal injury, illness or death, shall be maintainable in any event unless filed within six (6) months after the Passenger shall be landed from the Vessel, or in the case the voyage is abandoned within six (6) months thereafter, and unless valid notice or service is effected upon the Carrier within 120 days after commencement of the proceeding." (emphasis added)
Thirty days from the January 13th incident is next Sunday, February 12th. All passenger intending to make a claim for their personal belonging must send a "written notice of the claim with full particulars" and deliver it to the carrier identified in the passenger ticket, or its duly authorized agent, within the next week.
If you don't send the notice in timely and to the correct company, the passengers risk not satisfying one of the "conditions precedent" necessary before a lawsuit can be filed.
The fact that Costa has offered 11,000 Euros (around $14,600) for a settlement does not extend a passenger's obligation to provide the required notice within 30 days.
The deadline again is Sunday, February 12, 2012.
If you need assistance in sending the notice to the correct company and correct address, do not delay. We will be pleased to assist you free of charge in sending the property damage notice in.
Our firm and our co-counsel, Glenn Holzberg, are also assisting about two dozen passengers who suffered physical and / or psychological injuries during the Costa Concordia disaster.
Unlike many non-maritime lawyers rushing to file suit in the U.S. (and are probably filing suit in the wrong jurisdiction), we are recommending patience to our client once they send in the necessary notices to the cruise line. We will be negotiating directly with the cruise line to obtain fair compensation for those who have suffering emotional or physical injuries. We are not charging a fee on any portion of the first $14,600 obtained by our clients. All passengers are offered this amount and it would not be fair to obtain a percentage of what is already offered.
Claims for emotional anguish and personal injury and death must be filed within one year, and require a notice letter being sent within 6 months.
Claims for property losses must be filed in six (6) month for the date of the incident, after the aforementioned notice letter sent within 30 days.
If you are confused about whether to accept the Costa $14,600 offer, or need assistance preparing the correct forms, please send me an email email@example.com or give us a call.