Cruise ships are a great option for vacations year-round: you can explore new places, enjoy the convenience of all-inclusive pricing, and relax while you send your kids off to do activities and play throughout the ship.
Unfortunately, this form of vacation also comes with serious risks. After all, you are out on open waters. Here are a few different types of cruise ship injuries to keep in mind before you head out on your next all-inclusive vacation.
Fires – The idea of a fire on a cruise ship may seem odd at first. You’re in the middle of the ocean and worrying about a fire? However, they do happen. In fact, a news story broke just this past August about an evacuation of the Caribbean Fantasy, a cruise and ferry ship off the northern coast of Puerto Rico. A fire had erupted on the Fantasy, and although no life-threatening injuries or deaths resulted, many passengers had to seek medical care.
Foodborne Illnesses and Infections – Cruise ships are typically so large that even the queasiest passengers will not be battling seasickness with the help of some Dramamine. Even on the largest cruise ship, though, passengers and crew are stuck in an enclosed area, and harmful bacteria can spread quickly.
If a passenger brings on even the slightest case of norovirus, a large number of passengers and crew can catch the bacteria by the end of the voyage. This is the most common form of cruise ship illness, but influenza and other sicknesses can also affect passengers staying together in close quarters.
Moreover, if certain types of bacteria are present in the food served throughout the cruise ship, it won’t be long until passengers start disappearing into their rooms. Although most cases of food poisoning will only last a few hours, there have been instances of food poisoning causing further damage than normal.
Slip and Falls – A slip and fall may not seem serious, but let’s think about it: you have a high risk of hitting your head when you slip and fall, and that could lead to brain injuries. A traumatic brain injury (especially if it is not treated quickly or properly) can lead to serious brain damage or even death.
Slip and fall cases can cause fractures, bruising, and other unpleasant injuries during your vacation. But cruise ships unfortunately have many places where slip and falls could happen: stairs between decks, pools, and floors; swimming pool areas; and restaurants where spills could quickly cause an injury.
Accidents Onshore – But maybe you don’t get into an accident on the actual ship: accidents can also occur during an excursion on land. If you are planning to go on an adventurous activity during a stopover on your trip (rock climbing, horseback riding, ziplining, and so on) you run the risk of different types of injuries – and possibly a more complicated process for getting compensation.
Medical Malpractice – Say you got sick on a cruise ship, or you sustained minor injuries that could be treated with a quick fix. There are usually nurses or medical personnel onboard that will be able to help you and get you back to your vacation. But what if your illnesses or injuries follow you off the boat? You may be a victim of medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice occurs when medical professionals neglect their duty to care for patients. Common forms of medical malpractice may include:
- Failing to recognize or treat symptoms
- Administering an incorrect dosage of medication to patients
Medical malpractice onshore is a common form of personal injury lawsuit. For a very long time, though, medical professionals were exempt of being sued for medical malpractice on cruise ships.
This changed in 2014. A patient onboard a Royal Caribbean ship hit his head and was given the okay to keep vacationing from onboard doctors. What the doctors failed to notice was that the man had a brain injury that would kill him only hours later. This case was taken to court, and reversed the 100-year rule regarding cruise ship medical care.
Overturning this ruling is important to note no matter what injury you sustain on cruise ships. In the past, doctors relied on laws that said passengers should not expect the same quality of care onboard as they do onshore. Not anymore, and that’s a good thing. You deserve the same amount of care for your injuries whether you are in a hospital at home or in a medical care unit on a cruise ship.
It isn’t all gloom and doom. Cruise ship injuries are not common, and most vacations you will go on will produce nothing but happy memories for you and your loved ones.
That being said, cruise ship injuries do happen, and you don’t want to find yourself facing thousands of dollars of medical bills, or worse. For compensation, you may want to consider a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Need help? Contact a Florida personal injury lawyer today.
About the Author:
Since 1994, seasoned litigation and trial lawyer Anthony B. White has helped thousands of accident victims seek damages due to injuries sustained as a result of another party’s negligence. Included in America’s Registry of Outstanding Professionals and selected to the 2012, 2014-2016 editions of Florida Super Lawyers, Mr. White specializes in car accidents, insurance disputes, wrongful death, product liability, and medical malpractice cases. He is a longstanding member of the Florida Justice Association and the American Association for Justice and currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Broward County Justice Association.