Costa Concordia Survivors Fly Back To Italy At Demand Of Cruise Operator For Additional Medical Examinations

Lawyers for the victims accuse Costa Crociere Spa Of Delaying Access To Justice


Hayley Court, Press Officer | 0114 274 4255

Survivors of the Costa Concordia disaster in which 32 people died, are flying back to Italy today for additional medical assessments because cruise operator Costa Crociere Spa has not accepted the findings of medical experts in the UK.

The cruise line also still refuses to admit liability or pay damages to injured passengers taking proceedings in Italy.

Despite many injured passengers having already settled their claims, the battle for justice continues for some passengers and crew who suffered physical and psychological injuries, including post-traumatic stress.

Leading international personal injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell, representing victims of the tragedy, say returning to Italy is likely to only serve to compound the trauma experienced by the victims following the sinking of the cruiseliner on January 13, 2012.

Francesco Schettino, former Captain of the Costa Concordia, was found guilty in February 2015 of multiple manslaughter charges, causing an environmental disaster and abandoning ship on the night of the tragedy and was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

He appealed the conviction, but on May 31 this year, Florence’s Appeals court upheld the jail term.

Following several court hearings in Genoa, Italy, Costa Crociere Spa’s lawyers have maintained a denial of liability for the actions of Captain Schettino and his crew which led to the ship’s capsize.

Expert International personal injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell, working with Italian lawyers, have issued court proceedings in Italy for a dozen passengers and crew.
In 2014, Irwin Mitchell secured undisclosed settlements for a number of other British passengers, including compensation for their pain, suffering and financial losses.

But more than four years on from the tragedy, lawyers say Costa Crociere Spa is adding to the distress of those still waiting for justice by delaying proceedings.

Expert Opinion
“We are bitterly disappointed for our clients that Costa Crociere Spa has still not admitted liability for the disaster that happened over four years ago. The incident is still firmly in the minds of clients who are trying to fully come to terms with their injuries, and for them to have to fly back to Italy for their medical examinations may well open up old wounds.

“The victims of the Costa Concordia disaster have suffered enough over the past few years and the impact on their lives of the legal proceedings should be kept to a minimum. There are many medical experts based locally to our clients who can and have assessed the victims for the purposes of the case.

“We urge the lawyers of Costa Crociere Spa to work with us constructively to try and resolve our clients’ claims as soon as possible.”
Philip Banks, Partner

British Ex-pat Sandra Rogers, who now lives in Spain , lost her husband’s ashes when the Costa Concordia went down during a trip with her daughter, Karen, and granddaughters Emma and Chloe, and is still reeling over how Costa Crociere Spa have treated survivors in the aftermath of the disaster.

“I agree that the captain should be punished for his actions that night but he should not be held solely accountable.”

“As far as I’m concerned, his helmsman, as well as Costa Crociere, should take responsibility for what happened that night and Costa, in particular, should accept that the way that passengers were treated in the aftermath was unacceptable.

“I feel that my family and I would have certainly died that night if it wasn’t for the local people on the Island of Giglio.

“I think it is shameful that, in the wake of the disaster, we were treated like a problem and here we are again having a multitude of obstacles put in our way before we can truly access justice. It is despicable and cruel.”

Andrea Davis from Alberta in Canada was on board the Costa Concordia to celebrate her husband, Laurence’s 60th birthday.

She said: “This trip was meant to be an exciting and memorable journey for the two of us to celebrate Laurence’s birthday, but instead it ended in disaster as we feared for our lives as we had to abandon ship – jumping into dark and frigid water and swimming away from the ship as it began to disappear – it was utter chaos.

“I am astonished and overwhelmed with sheer disbelief that the cruise operator has denied liability for what happened, especially after the captain was found guilty. How much longer can they continue to traumatise the survivors and add salt to our wounds?

“I hope that my legal team at Irwin Mitchell are able to work with Costa Crociere Spa so that everyone affected by the disaster can finally move forward with their lives.”

During the captain’s first trial, which lasted 19 months, Schettino was accused of showboating when he steered the ship too close to the island of Giglio, off Italy’s western coast, while entertaining a female friend.

The impact ripped a hole in the hull and 32 people died as the ship capsized. The ship had been carrying more than 4,200 people, including two victims whose bodies have never been found.

The disgraced captain’s lawyers insisted the disaster was down to organisational failings for which the ship’s owner should take responsibility alongside the Concordia’s helmsman and the Italian coastguard.

Costa Crociere Spa accepted partial responsibility and agreed to pay a €1m fine.