Royal Caribbean has been ordered to pay $20.3 million to a former employee whose hand was crushed while at work.
See more related articles on cruise ship accidents: https://banvillelaw.com/cruise-ship-accident/wrongful-death/
In August of 2008, the plaintiff was working as a marketing manager on a Miami based ship, Voyager of the Seas. The ship was in port in Barcelona, Spain when a routine fire drill occurred that ended up being anything other than routine.
During the fire drill the semi-tight water doors, which are designed to prevent water from flooding the ship, closed. A nurse working on the ship was unaware of the drill and the automatically closing doors and tried to open one. When she did, she fell and the door began to close and the plaintiff leapt into action to help her.
The plaintiff managed to get the nurse of the way in time but her hand was caught in the door and crushed when it was sucked into the recess pocket, an area that is only large enough to fit a pencil. The door continued to try and close and her hand was crushed in the mechanism three more times before coworkers were able to shut down the door and free her.
The plaintiff was taken to a doctor in Barcelona who misdiagnosed the breaks and then splinted her fingers in the wrong position. Despite working with a physical therapist for years, she has been unable to regain full function in her hand and she has also been diagnosed with chronic pain syndrome which sends pain into her other arm and her head.
Two years after her accident the cruise line terminated the plaintiff’s employment, stating that because of the permanent damage to her hand she was unable to lift at least 50 pounds, despite the fact that her job was clerical.
After she was let go she made the decision to file a lawsuit against the company, alleging that they breached her employment contract, failed to pay her the full wage, terminated her employment due to non-performance reasons, failed to provide her with proper medical care, and were negligent because they failed to train all employees about how to handle the doors during a fire drill or actual crisis.
The plaintiff and defendant were unable to reach an agreement and the case went to trial. For three weeks a jury heard arguments from both sides. In the end, they determined that Royal Caribbean was at fault and awarded the plaintiff $20.3 million.
The award is intended to cover the plaintiff’s past and future wage loses, medical expenses, and her pain and suffering.
Going on a cruise is more popular than ever and while many passengers have a happy and safe trip, others aren’t so lucky. Each year, thousands are hurt while on a cruise by:
The victims of these accidents may be able to recover compensation for their losses but only if they contact an attorney quickly. Unlike other civil lawsuits, cruise ship lawsuits have a much shorter statute of limitations and if a victim waits to pursue legal action they may forever lose the opportunity.
Many cruise ships offer various activities for passengers to participate in and often require waivers to be signed. While waivers indicate that a passenger is understanding of the risks that might be associated with the activity, the cruise must still do everything in their power to provide a safe environment.
For example, some ships offer activities like rock climbing. If the ship fails to provide the correct safety equipment or supervision and the passenger is hurt as a result, the passenger may still be able to file a lawsuit even if they signed a waiver.