As the weather warms up, many are looking to make summer vacation plans in preparation for enjoying the sunshine. A cruise, for many families, seems like the perfect opportunity to get away from it all. Cruises, however, are not immune to accidents or medical issues taking place while onboard—and sometimes, recovering following an incident on a Florida cruise ship where the cruise line may have been partially or fully responsible for your injury can become a murky ordeal.
In a recent Eleventh Circuit opinion, a plaintiff sued a cruise line after suffering a heart attack on board that left him with lingering medical issues. While on the cruise, the plaintiff had extensive symptoms consistent with a heart attack, and physicians on the ship treated him until he was able to be admitted to a hospital a day and a half later. Following his treatment, he eventually got a pacemaker and has continued medical issues because of the damage to his heart. The plaintiff sued the cruise line for negligence and claimed that its medical staff failed to diagnose and properly manage his status. After trial, the jury awarded approximately $1.7 million in damages to the plaintiff. The cruise line moved for a new trial based on faulty instructions to the jury.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals held that the cruise line was not entitled to a new trial. The cruise line claimed that the lower court gave faulty instructions to the jury and refused to give maritime-specific instructions about medical negligence and the differences between cruise line medicine and land-based medicine. The Court of Appeals disagreed and held that the lower court properly administered instructions to the jury. Because district courts have broad discretion to formulate jury instructions on the basis of correct statements of law, the jury instructions may have been generally worded, the Court of Appeals reasoned, but they were correct.
When it comes to medical negligence on cruises, cruise lines are still required to treat passengers with “ordinary reasonable care under the circumstances.” In the context of cruise lines, this means that reasonable care on a cruise must be viewed and defined in light of “all relevant surrounding circumstances.” Thus, medical negligence on a cruise takes place when a physician does something that a “reasonably careful physician would not do under like circumstances” or when they fail to “do something that a reasonably careful physician would do under like circumstances.”
If you have experienced a medical episode or accident on a cruise ship and feel that the medical team failed to exercise reasonable care when treating you, you may have a claim for medical negligence against the cruise line. Because such cases can become complex due to court procedures and rules governing cruise lines and maritime laws, potential plaintiffs are advised to contact a seasoned personal injury attorney to help them navigate their claims.
Do You Need a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer?
If you or someone you know has been recently injured due to the negligence or recklessness of a cruise line, contact the Florida cruise ship accident attorneys at Friedman, Rodman, Frank and Estrada today for assistance. Our team of lawyers has years of experience representing clients in all types of personal injury claims and will work with you to pursue the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, contact us at 877-448-8585 today.