Passenger Forced to Wait for Medical Care While Dysfunctional Norwegian Cruise Ship Is Towed to Shore

Whether you're on a cruise ship disembarking from Seattle, Washington, or a passenger on a Caribbean cruise, it is important to know what legal remedies are available to you if an accident, injury, or medical emergency occurs due to the negligence of a cruise line. Cruise lines owe a duty of reasonable care to their passengers, and failure to uphold that duty can result in liability if injury occurs as a result of the failure. Examples of such cruise ship accidents in maritime law include slip and fall injuries from poorly maintained passageways or tender boat accidents while attempting to go on a shore excursion.

Recently, the Norwegian cruise ship Breakaway was stuck in the Hudson River for several hours after problems with the ship's steering and propulsion system prevented the ship from docking when it came into the Hudson River port with strong tides. A tug boat was called upon to finally bring the ship into port, and the delay resulted in hundreds of restless passengers waiting to disembark. One family member of a passenger revealed that his father had a heart attack onboard and was due for medical care. An ambulance took him away as soon as the ship docked.

In maritime law, all ships, from commercial vessels to cruise ships, are expected to be seaworthy vessels. A seaworthy vessel is a ship that is made of sound structure and properly functioning mechanical systems for the passengers' safe sailing. As with the duty to provide reasonable care to the passengers, the failure to maintain a seaworthy vessel can create liability for a cruise line. If the mechanical failure occurred because of shoddy craftsmanship or negligent maintenance, and an injury occurred do to the poor workmanship, then the injured passenger may receive damages from the cruise line. If the passenger in the article discussed above needed medical care for his heart attack, but instead found his condition aggravated due to the delay caused by the mechanical malfunctions, the cruise line may be held responsible for some of his medical care and costs.

Crew members are also entitled to many of the same types of damages that a passenger can recover. As with passengers, ship owners are entitled to provide a seaworthy vessel and reasonable care for their crew members. Reasonable care is measured against the surroundings and challenges unique to maritime transit. In addition to these basic considerations, crew members are also eligible for the traditional maritime remedies of maintenance and cure if they are ill or injured. Respectively, maintenance and cure encompass costs like the daily stipend (usually an amount agreed to in an employment contract) and medical costs.

Gordon Webb and John Merriam are Washington cruise ship accident attorneys who know what it takes to overcome the obstacles cruise lines use to discourage passengers from filing suit. With decades of experience in ship-work and maritime law, their in-depth knowledge is what you need to obtain the recovery you deserve. To speak with an attorney who will aggressively pursue your claim, call today for a free, confidential consultation at 877.800.1007.

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