Cruise Ship Medical Malpractice

Our cruise ship medical malpractice attorneys have represented many passengers who were injured and families of passengers who have passed away as a result of substandard medical care provided aboard cruise lines.

Many causes of cruise ship medical malpractice arise from:

  • Misdiagnosis
  • Failure to Treat
  • Improper Treatment
  • Failure to Follow Treatment
  • Errors in Prescribing or Administering Medication
  • Failure to Medevac

Cruise lines and shipboard medical staff are represented by insurance company attorneys who seek the best result for their clients. Retaining qualified maritime law is imperative if you suffered an injury or a loved one died because of a cruise ship doctor’s medical malpractice. Hiring the right lawyer can have a major impact on your case.

Bringing a Cruise Ship Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Cruise ship medical malpractice lawsuits can potentially be brought against two categories of defendants: the shipboard medical staff, consisting of doctors and nurses, and the cruise line. Suing each category of a defendant brings its own challenge to a plaintiff’s case. Cruise ship medical staff are often times residents of foreign countries. This presents a jurisdictional hurdle when bringing a direct medical malpractice claim against cruise ship medical staff. In order for a court to have jurisdiction to hear a medical malpractice claim against a ship’s doctor, the doctor must reside or have committed the malpractice within the state where the court sits. This jurisdictional hurdle many times cannot be cleared as the shipboard medical staff resides outside the United States, and the malpractice was committed on the high seas. However, this issue must be examined as we have found that sometimes the doctor does reside in the United States or the malpractice occurred in the territorial waters of a particular state.

There is no jurisdictional hurdle for bringing a medical malpractice claim against a United States based cruise line. The major United States based cruise lines contain a clause within the ticket selecting the court where the suit against them must be brought.

Bringing a medical malpractice claim against a cruise line is what is known as a vicarious liability claim, as the shipboard medical staff who committed the malpractice are many times not direct employees of the cruise lines.

For many years passengers did not have a claim against cruise lines for the medical malpractice of shipboard medical staff. This changed in 2014 with the case of Franza v. Royal Caribbean, wherein the Eleventh Circuit, for the first time, determined that maritime law allows for a passenger to bring a vicarious liability claim against a cruise line for shipboard medical malpractice. However, since this is a vicarious liability claim, it must be proven that the shipboard doctor or nurse was either a direct or apparent agent of the cruise line.

Aside from bringing a vicarious liability claim, a passenger who was the victim of cruise ship medical malpractice may bring a claim against the cruise line for negligent selection and retention of the ship’s doctor and nurses.

In these cases, it must be proved that the shipboard doctor was not qualified when hired or performed in a substandard manner before the subject medical malpractice, so much so that a reasonable company would have terminated the contract.

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Experienced Cruise Ship Medical Malpractice Lawyers

Florida is the cruise capital of the world, and most cruise lines require any lawsuit brought against them to be filed in Florida. This high volume of cruises and lawsuits has given the maritime attorneys of Brais Law Firm vast experience in litigation cruise ship medical malpractice claims. Our experience enables us to quickly identify the key issues in these cases and begin discovering information to support our client’s claims. We fight to make sure our clients are justly compensated for the damages caused by cruise ship doctors’ medical malpractice.

What is Medical Malpractice?

To provide a straight-to-the-point definition, medical malpractice is when a healthcare provider fails to provide you with the care that meets the standards of their industry. The industry standard is what a reasonable practitioner with similar qualifications, in similar circumstances, would do for their patient.

When a practitioner fails to provide care that meets this standard, they have committed medical malpractice, and oftentimes, their insurance company will be responsible for paying for your related costs and damages.

What Must Be Proven to Collect on a Medical Malpractice Claim?

Research published by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) notes that an injured patient must show that their physician acted negligently when rendering care and that due to this negligence, the patient was injured. Your cruise ship injury lawyer will carefully assess the facts related to the accident or incident that caused your injury and apply them to the legal concept of negligence to demonstrate that you are legally entitled to compensation. To prove negligence on the part of your medical professional, the NLM explains that you must prove the following four legal elements:

  • That a professional duty of care was owed to you by the physician, meaning you were their patient 
  • They breached their duty to you in providing care
  • The breach caused your injury
  • Damages resulted from your injury

Measuring the extent of your injuries and the future medical costs that they will entail is not the responsibility of the physician who injured you. Your cruise ship medical malpractice lawyer will help you schedule follow-up appointments with other medical experts to determine the future costs related to your injuries. This includes surgeries, treatments, medications, rehabilitation, and other costs.

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Will I Bankrupt my Doctor if I File a Medical Malpractice Suit?

There are times when our clients have communicated to us that they are worried about exposing the medical practitioner who caused their injury to personal financial ruin. This is generally not something that you have to worry about, as medical practitioners carry medical malpractice insurance.

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The Cruise Ship Company May Also be Liable

If their cruise ship employer failed to provide the medical practitioner with adequate equipment or safe grounds in which to perform their work, the cruise ship could also be liable for the costs and damages linked to your injuries. To determine the exact cause of your injuries, it is often necessary to seek out the opinion of other medical experts who know the standard of care that you should have been provided so that failures to meet the standard can be identified.

After your injury, it is helpful to request copies of any and all records related to your procedure, but wait until you hire an attorney to begin making a claim of medical malpractice. Accusing a medical practitioner of medical malpractice before you have taken the time to build your case can make the evidence more difficult to obtain and ultimately harm your claim.

Contact the Firm for a Free Evaluation

The cruise ship medical malpractice attorneys of Brais Law Firm are dedicated to representing cruise passenger interests. Based in Miami, FL, we regularly sue the major cruise lines. To call our cruise injury lawyers for a free evaluation, dial 305-709-4117 from within Florida, call 800-499-0551 from within the U.S., or click Contact Us to complete a form.

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Who will be handling my case?

Your case will be handled by an experienced personal injury attorney who knows what it takes to get the results you deserve. The practitioners at our firm have over 70 years of collective trial experience. Our credentials and qualifications are extensive, including an “AV” Preeminent rating by Martindale-Hubbell and membership in the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. More importantly, we have a first-hand understanding of how insurance carriers operate because we represented clients insured with major insurance companies for nearly 20 years before we made a choice to change sides so that we could help the people who need us most – individuals just like you.

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