Families of those who died [from the shipwrecked luxury cruise liner off Costa Concordia on January 13, 2012] are likely to sue the ship’s operator, Costa Crociere and its corporate parent, Miami-based Carnival Corporation, for all the economic consequences and grief that the death of a loved one can cause. Thousands of other people who were among the approximately 4,200 passengers and crew aboard the ship, might also sue – not for actually dying, but for being scared to death.
There’s some precedent for this in aviation law, which grew up alongside maritime law and then flew past it as people crossed oceans by plane, rather than on seafaring vessels. In one noteworthy case that might help the Costa shipwreck survivors, 13 American Airlines passengers recovered $150,000 apiece for 28 seconds of terror during severe turbulence on a 1995 flight. [more]