I have acted for many clients involving ill health and food poisoning arising out of consuming contaminated food. It does still, however, come as a little bit of a surprise when it impacts on the “luxury” end of the market and affects so many..........
Simon Smith our senior Personal Injury Lawyer and Industrial Disease Lawyer is referring to 281 passengers who became violently ill aboard the Royal Caribbean Cruise ship ‘Explorer of the Seas’ a luxurious Caribbean cruise....
Whilst no doubt a statement of the obvious there is clearly something that has gone wrong here, although it is premature to speculate what this is, given that the reports are that the health officials have yet to conclude their investigation. Ultimately, this evidence is likely to be the guiding light that determines what cause of action arises and against whom.
For those caught up in this there are a number of important issues; as a general concern I consider it important to recognise that the lawyer’s role and the victim’s health have a distinct position. As a Lawyer there is a need to know about what medical advice has been sought and provided, any diagnosis, treatment, the effects of this, and such like. But I would like to think that I distinguish this role for more general concern and my advice, at the early stages of a potential Poisoning Claim, is to distinguish these roles. The actions of the victim should and need to be about getting the right medical advice and treatment and this case is no different. Ill health from food consumption could be mild or severe, short term or long term, but either way it is not something to take chances with.
In a more “lawyerly” role cases at sea are subject to a number of distinctions from what might otherwise be perceived as a typical case. There are effectively two aspects that mean that time is a lot more precious, the first is that any such claim, provided that it is against a Defendant in England and Wales, must be brought within 2 years, instead of the usual 3 years. The second is that, any Defendant in England and Wales will have in excess of 6 months to investigate any such claim raised, twice the typical period to conduct investigation. As a consequence, if you are to seek legal advice and pursue a claim it is better to do so earlier than later.
I await with interest the findings of the Health Inspectors.
If you were affected by this incident, or have been involved in an accident, no matter how unusual, even if not entirely sure if or who the party to blame might be. I would always recommend obtaining legal advice, at the very worse you will be advised that there is no claim.
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