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  • Writer's picturePerez-Gurri Law Firm

Cruise Lines Face Exposure to More Medical Lawsuits

Every year, millions of people flock to Miami to board a cruise ship offered by one of the numerous cruise lines. In 2012, Port Miami was the busiest cruise port in the world with 3,774,452 multi-day cruise passengers, compared with 3,761,056 passengers at Port Canaveral and 3.69 million at Port Everglades.

Tourists travel to Miami and take a cruise looking for a respite from their busy schedules and work. The last thing one expects while traveling on a cruise ship is to suffer a catastrophic injury and to not receive proper medical care and attention. Nevertheless, unexpected accidents and events occur on a cruise ship. In this regard, every passenger should know one’s rights when traveling on a cruise ship.

International Cruise Line Passenger Bill of Rights

The Passenger Bill of Rights applies to all passengers that book a cruise with a Cruise Lines International Association member cruise. The Passenger Bill of Rights is in place to ensure the safety of cruise passengers. For example, every passenger has the right:

“to have available on board ships operating beyond rivers or coastal waters full-time, professional emergency medical attention, as needed until shore side medical care becomes available.”

The Passenger Bill of Rights also provides every passenger with the right to disembark a docked ship if access to medical care cannot adequately be provided on board. All these measures are in place to protect the passengers and to make sure that the passengers have a comfortable stay on the ship.

When traveling on a cruise ship, it is imperative that passengers know their rights and hold cruise lines to a certain standard of care. Unfortunately, cruise lines do not always follow the Passenger Bill of Rights. When this happens, the health and safety of the passengers suffer, and passengers should seek to hold cruise lines liable for their negligence.

Cruise Lines Face Expose to More Medical Lawsuits

A recent court decision provides a favorable ruling for injured cruise ship passengers seeking to hold cruise lines liable for injuries. In 2011, a passenger of Explorer of the Seas, suffered a head injury while ashore in Bermuda. The man died and his daughter filed a negligence lawsuit against the ship’s doctor and nurse. The lawsuit alleged “that the nurse failed to assess the man’s cranial trauma or do any diagnostic scans and left him without treatment, while the doctor took more than four hours to see him.”

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida dismissed the case based on precedent that cruise lines are not liable for the actions of the doctors because the doctors are independent contractors and not employees. On appeal, the court disagreed and held that the cruise line may be liable for the actions of its doctors. The appellate court wrote, “We now confront state-of-the-art cruise ships that house thousands of people and operate as floating cities complete with well-stocked modern infirmaries and urgent-care centers.”

Contact a Miami Catastrophic and Wrongful Death Attorney

If you or a family member have suffered a catastrophic injury on a cruise ship, a Miami catastrophic and wrongful death attorney at the Perez-Gurri Law Firm can help protect your rights. Contact a Miami accident attorney today for a free initial consultation and case evaluation.


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