If harmed by medical negligence while onboard a cruise ship, you have the legal right to hold those responsible accountable. Cruise ship injury claims are complex due to jurisdictional issues, so it is important to contact an experienced cruise ship medical malpractice attorney right away. Miami-based Aronfeld Trial Lawyers has fought hard to hold cruise lines accountable when they put their profits ahead of passenger safety. We are available 24/7 and encourage you to contact us even if you are still on your cruise.
Today’s mega cruise ships have urgent care centers on board that is staffed with doctors and nurses who can treat passengers suffering from a wide range of illnesses and injuries ranging from sea sickness, broken bones, and in some instances, even life-threatening medical conditions. No one goes on a cruise expecting to sustain a serious injury or illness. But passengers who require medical treatment on their cruise expect that the care they receive will be delivered according to the highest standard. Cruise lines promote their high-end amenities, exciting excursions, 5-star cuisine, and celebrity chefs, but what they often do not reveal is the quality of medical care onboard the ship. Many passengers assume they will have the same medical care and treatment on a cruise as they would on land, which is simply not the case. There are also unique health risks on cruise ships. Many cruise ships have doctors on board, trained in emergency medicine- but some do not, and they are not required to. Some of the most common passenger injuries we see as maritime lawyers include misdiagnosed fractures, head injuries and spinal injuries. Oftentimes the doctors and nurses that provide the medical care and treatment onboard these ships are not properly trained to diagnose these injuries. If you have been injured on a cruise, it is important to get a second opinion immediately from a competent board certified medical doctor as soon as you arrive on land.
When medical staff onboard the cruise ship fails to adequately treat or diagnose an injury or illness, this can constitute as medical negligence. Examples of this include:
- Failure to provide proper and timely medical care;
- Incorrect medical diagnosis;
- Delayed diagnosis;
- Improper medical treatment;
- Denied medical treatment.
Prior to 2014, holding cruise ship doctors and nurses accountable for medical mistakes had been nearly impossible for injured passengers because for decades cruise lines have been insulated from legal liability when passengers received inadequate or negligent medical care from the ship’s doctors and nurses. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned this standard in a case called Franza v. Royal Caribbean. The United States Appellate Court has made it far easier for injured passengers to sue cruise lines for medical malpractice in a ruling that involved an elderly cruise ship passenger who fell during a cruise– while docked in Bermuda.
After falling, the passenger, Pasquale Vaglio, returned to the ship and sought medical treatment in the ship’s hospital. Unfortunately, the care was allegedly so negligent that he fell into a coma and died a week later. His daughter filed a wrongful death case against RCCL and alleged that the ship’s health care providers failed to timely diagnose Mr. Vaglio’s cranial trauma.
She filed the lawsuit against Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, located in Miami, Florida. The trial judge, the Hon. Joan A. Lenard dismissed her complaint by applying the longstanding maritime legal concept that provides immunity to cruise lines like RCCL when a crew member renders negligent medical care to passengers.
In a 63-page opinion appellate court Judge Marcus juxtaposed maritime law with legal theories of medical malpractice, personal injury, and agency law. The court found that maritime law supports holding Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., as vicariously liable for the medical negligence of its on board nurses and doctors. This law sends a clear message to the cruise industry by holding it responsible to provide injured passengers a higher standard of medical care.
If harmed by medical negligence while onboard a cruise ship, you have the legal right to hold those responsible accountable. Cruise injury claims are complex due to jurisdictional issues, so it is important to contact an experienced cruise ship medical malpractice attorney right away. Miami-based Aronfeld Trial Lawyers has fought hard to hold cruise lines accountable when they put their profits ahead of passenger safety. We are available 24/7 and encourage you to contact us even if you are still on your cruise. Most cruise lines, including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity,Norwegian, MSC,Disney,Holland America, Princess, Costa, Regents Seven Seas and Oceania require that claims against them be pursued in a very specific place under very strict deadlines. Failure to comply with each individual cruise lines deadlines can result in a complete loss of any and all legal rights.