Travel Agency’s are worried they will dragged into law suits being files by passengers and family members of those who lost their lives on board the Concordia cruise ship. The question on every travel agent and agency’s mind who booked a client on that cruise is will our agency get sued and what are the odds that we will be held liable and if we are sued and win would the plaintiffs have to pay our attorney’s fees?
The odds of an agency being sued really depends on the plaintiffs attorney. Some attorneys automatically sue everyone and anyone they can that has any attachment to the case at all regardless if they can actually collect anything from them or not, rather than risk any statue of limitations from running out before the plaintiff realizes they want to sue a company they feel was some how also liable. Personal injury lawyers would focus on the agency in the states since Costa tickets state that if the cruise did not depart from, return to or visit a U.S. port, the passenger must sue the cruise line only in Genoa, Italy, not the U.S.
Even if Costa was sued in the states the plaintiffs could not get more than $70,000 in damages due to a treaty limitation of liability so it is likely the plaintiff wold try to get more money from the travel agency. Even if the agency wins the suit they would be out thousands of dollars in legal fees and in most cases the judge does not have the power to order the plaintiffs to reimburse you for legal fees.
Sadly with a creative lawyer a case could be made that Costa had a history of allowing their captains sail too close to islands for “salutes” and that travel agents and agency’s should have known about this and warned clients about the possible danger before booking them on cruises. Which is a little far fetched. There is no “maybe or mabe not harmful actions but not illegal conduct list” that goes out to travel agency’s.
It is being recommended that travel agency’s ask clients to sign a “disclaimer of liability” when booking them on a cruise. Be VERY CAREFUL about signing anything that gives away your rights to file a law suit in the event something goes terrible wrong. There are things beyond your agents doing but there are things that aren’t. I NEVER give up my legal rights. If they ask you to do so, go some place else. Because if they do something really, really wrong and something really bad happens, you just signed away your right to sue them. So don’t do it.