Why Do Cruises Experience Fewer Medical Malpractice Suits?

by | May 25, 2019 | Law

When we book a cruise, we are only thinking of the beautiful weather, sun, and fun we will be having onboard. We generally aren’t in the process of preparing ourselves for possible medical malpractice suits against the cruise line. But unfortunately, these things can happen, even on vacation.

Whether you are preparing to embark on a cruise in the near future, or feel as if you suffered from medical malpractice onboard, it is important to know your rights. Contacting an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in your area is the first step of standing up against sub-par medical care.

What is medical malpractice?

First, it is important to understand what exactly medical malpractice is and if you could potentially have a case.

Medical malpractice includes:

  • Failure to diagnose or treat a medical condition
  • Wrong diagnosis or treatment path
  • Lack of informed consent – the doctor, did not inform you of what he is doing to your body
  • Incorrect procedure due to the confusion of two patients
  • Refusing to turn back to land if the staff on board is unable to provide proper care (specific for maritime vessels)

Whether these things were done on purpose or by accident is irrelevant. As long as you ended up more injured or sick directly due to the received treatment, you could have a case.

If you are still unsure, you could ask yourself the following three questions:

  1. Did my symptoms or pain get worse, after seeing the cruise doctor?
  2. Did I feel the need to go to a different hospital or medical facility to receive treatment as soon as we docked?
  3. How did the quality of care on the cruise compare to the standard on land?

What are the most common medical issues on cruise ships?

  • Sea or motion sickness
  • Respiratory issues
  • Slipping and falling injuries
  • Other physical injuries during excursions

The three reasons victims don’t file medical malpractice suits against cruises

1. Unaware cruise ship lines have liability over their medical staff

The American College of Emergency Physician guidelines requires that all cruise ships have a 24-hour on-call medical staff on deck to treat passengers. Although the size of the medical team and facilities will depend on the overall size of the ship, there should be no issues regarding the quality of care. On cruise ships especially, intervening when a patient is sick to decrease the risk of a disease outbreak in such close quarters.

2. Afraid of challenging such a powerful company like a cruise ship line

Although it can seem daunting to go against such a large corporation, choosing the right medical malpractice lawyer will provide you with the support you need during the entire process.

3. Unfamiliar with Franza v. Royal Carribean Cruises, LTD

Many victims are unaware that cruise lines can be held responsible for medical malpractice cases since, in 1988, the Barbetta ruling prevented cruise ships from being sued for medical malpractice. However, in 2014, the Franza v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, LTD overturned the Barbetta ruling. The court noted that modern cruise ships have all of the basic amenities for proper care, and there are no exempt cruises from consequences resulting from sub-par care. However, this ruling comes with one important condition: The victim must prove the caregiver was a ship employee and not an independent contractor. If you are unsure of this fact, lawyers specializing in medical malpractice can help you find important supporting information.

What can I sue for in a malpractice claim?

If you file a successful medical malpractice claim against a cruise ship line or any other organization, there are multiple reasons you may receive compensation.

  • Coverage of current and future medical costs as well as rehabilitation costs
  • Loss of wages due to being unable to work
  • Wrongful death
  • Pain and suffering

Contacting malpractice lawyers near you as soon as you fall victim to medical malpractice is necessary. The longer you wait, the harder it is for your attorney to collect the required information and proof for a successful claim. Open your claim today to get the compensation you and your loved ones deserve.

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