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Accident Law Blog | Cruise Ship Accidents | Los Angeles Cruise Ship Personal Injury

Recent Court Case and Cruise Ship Liability Problems for Passengers

Cruise ship on the blue ocean.
Is cruise ship going aground?

Surprisingly cruise ships and the cruise ship companies have been exempt from certain types of negligence like those that occur in hospital settings resulting in patients or their families being entitled to recover compensation. The compensation is generally for medical expenses and pain and suffering. But cruise ship companies have been an exception for medical malpractice lawsuits. A recent decision by the Florida 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals may change the way cruise ship lawsuits are decided.

What Is the Court’s Ruling?

The Florida 11th Court of Appeals ruled that the exemption for medical malpractice lawsuits was outdated involving cruise ships. The case involved an 82 year old year old man, a New York resident that fell and stuck his head in Bermuda in 2011 while on a Royal Caribbean cruise. The nurse attending the man aboard the Royal Caribbean cruise ship told the man to rest.

The family of the man claims in the lawsuit they filed the nurse did not suggest the man have a diagnostic scan done and then it was hours before the man was seen by the ship’s doctor, while his condition became worse. The lawsuit states the man had internal bleeding in the skull by the time he was seen by the doctor and succumbed to the head injury.

The Royal Caribbean medical staff wore the same uniforms as other ship employees and the medical staff was advertised as craft employees and in promotional material they were paid tribute to.


What the New Court Ruling Could Mean

If the decision of the 11th U.S. Court of Appeals is upheld, then it is possible for plaintiff’s alleging malpractice occurred on cruise ships to have their cases heard in court in the state of Florida (Read more.) In a statement by a Royal Caribbean representative they claim the rules that have applied in the past should be upheld, rather than the new ruling by the Court of Appeals. This is based on the factor that the cruise line offers vacations, but does not primarily provide health care for passengers.

Common Defense Used in Medical Cases

Defense in medical malpractice lawsuits occurring aboard cruise ships have commonly been rendered rulings by courts that the medical care provided to passengers on a ship is different than the scope of attention on land. Meaning according to this type of ruling passengers should not expect to receive the same standard of care onboard a luxury liner as they do from their private physicians.

What About the Missing Passengers?

While health care onboard cruise ships is a concern and the new ruling by the Court of Appeals could make a difference in how future cases are looked at by courts another problem that has grown is incidence of missing passengers. These are passengers and crew members that have fallen overboard ships, since as early as 2000. According to CruiseJunkie.com there have been 244 passengers and crew that have fallen overboard and approximately 20 passengers annually that have gone missing from the ships.

What Do The Cruise Ship Lawyers have to Say?

Our attorneys believe that no matter where doctors and nurses are employed they do have the duty to provide the best care possible for patients, even on cruise ships. If you or a loved one received care that was less than the standard care, consult our cruise ship medical malpractice lawyers about your case. And let us help you get the compensation you may be owed. Contact the maritime law firm here, or call toll free at 888-400-9721 to learn what your legal options are and the best way to proceed.

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