Liability for Medical Malpractice on Cruise Ships

Liability for Medical Malpractice on Cruise Ships

In California, where doctors, nurses or other health care professionals carelessly, reckless or "negligently" make medical mistakes that harm patients, they may be held liable for medical malpractice and be required to pay damages. Doctors and nurses are held to a certain "standard of care" and a breach of the requisite "standard," may be considered medical malpractice.

However until recently when these same medical errors occurred on cruise ships, it had been nearly impossible for passengers who receive inadequate or negligent medical care to hold cruise ship doctors and nurses accountable.

Last week however, a United States Appellate Court made it easier for injured passenger to sue cruise lines. The case, Franza v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., involved an elderly man who fell during a cruise. After the fall, he sought medical treatments, however as the result of negligent medical care, he fell into a coma and died the following week. His daughter filed a wrongful death lawsuit, asserting that the ship's doctors made many mistakes, including failure to diagnose a cranial trauma.

Wrongful death lawsuits are similar to personal injury claims but may be filed by the surviving family members of individual who die as the result of the reckless or negligent conduct of another.

The court determined that the Cruise Ship should not be insulated from liability based on maritime law. Instead, the court held that the cruise ship could be held vicariously liable for the medical negligence of the on board nurses and doctors that provide medical attention to its passengers.

For more information, or if you believe that you or a loved one has been harmed as the result of negligent medical care, please contact the dedicated San Diego medical malpractice lawyers at Bostwick & Peterson for an immediate, confidential consultation.


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