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Can you sue for a frightening cruise ship experience?

Certainly, the passengers who were aboard the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Anthem of the Seas on February 7 when it sailed into near hurricane-level conditions on its way to Barbados have been through a traumatic experience. But whether the fear and anxiety experienced by the passengers, or the four reported minor injuries arising from the extreme weather conditions, are enough to justify a lawsuit against the cruise line remains to be seen. 

Given that the storm had been predicted, some question why the captain of the ship still chose to sail more or less directly into the storm's path. Royal Caribbean has issued an apology and offered a refund and a partial credit for a future cruise to passengers; the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is looking into conducting an investigation into the event. 

Given the intensity of the storm, it may simply be luck for the cruise line that no passenger suffered a more serious injury during the frightening experience. It can be difficult for individuals to successfully argue a case for compensation based on emotional distress alone. That's because emotional distress is not necessarily visible, and therefore can be harder to prove in the absence of accompanying physical trauma. 

Not every potential lawsuit over an injury suffered on a cruise ship, however, can be avoided with an apology and a refund. If you've been injured on a cruise ship because of negligence or a defect of the ship itself, you may be entitled to compensation. The best way to find out where you stand is to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. 

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