Cruise Line Worker Gets $4M From Disney
A Florida jury recently awarded an injured crewman aboard a Disney Cruise ship $4 million in damages after she claimed she got inadequate medical care from the onboard ship doctors. Those of you who have followed our blog have likely read many articles related to the suspect medical care provided by cruise line doctors.
According to the lawsuit, the crewman claimed that she got inadequate medical care after she was hit by a car at a port of call. Maria Ann Reis Martins was awarded $2 million in lost wages, $1 million for pain and suffering, and another $1 million in punitive damages. Below, we’ll discuss the verdict and how the jury arrived at that figure.
In 2013, Martins was in the Bahamas where she was hit by a car. But the medical team aboard the vessel failed to diagnose three broken ribs and declared her fit to work as a server in the dining room. A Florida doctor later told her that three of her ribs were broken and sent her back to her native country of Portugal for five months to get treatment. She returned to work in 2014, but had already suffered nerve damage from the accident. This is the first time that Disney Cruises has lost a personal injury lawsuit to a claimant.
It’s unclear from the article what kind of permanent damage Martins sustained from the injury and whether or not she’ll be able to return to work in any capacity following treatment. However, a jury saw fit to give her a large sum of $2 million just for lost wages. Her pain and suffering was compensated to the tune of $1 million and the jury saw fit to punish Disney Cruise lines to the tune of another $1 million.
In cases where the conduct of the cruise line is so egregious as to warrant punitive damages for gross negligence, it’s because negligence was so obvious and avoidable, that it rose to the level of endangering the crewmember’s welfare. In this case, Disney’s onboard doctors failed to correctly diagnose broken ribs, and it’s hard to say why. Broken ribs aren’t especially difficult to diagnose and even had they assumed that her ribs were bruised, it would have made sense for them to have her X-rayed at the nearest available hospital.
Of course, we don’t know exactly what transpired between the doctor and the patient while she was being treated. But the crewmember may have said something that diminished the extent of her injuries. The jury saw fit to say that the cruise line was 70% responsible for the extent of her injuries while the crewmember was 30% responsible.
Talk to a Maritime Injury Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured aboard a cruise ship, Miami admiralty & maritime lawyer Michael F. Guilford can help you recover damages related to your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Talk to us today to set up a free consultation.