Last week, an arbitrator’s ruling in favor of an employee for a cruise ship accident showed that cruise lines, many of which are based out of South Florida, may want to rethink their protocol when dealing with injured crew members.
Carnival Cruise Lines, headquartered in Miami, was ordered to pay a crew member $800,000 for an injury he suffered in 2008 while working on Carnival’s Imagination. According to the article in All Voices, Marcin Sokolowski was lifting heavy bins as part of his duties as a maitre’d. He was not given a dolly or any other back support and when he felt a pop in his back while lifting bins in June 2008, he reported his injury to the ship’s doctor. The doctor only gave him pain medication and injections.
Sokolowski was transferred to another Carnival cruise ship headed back to San Diego. That ship’s doctor administered spinal adjustments and an injection. Eventually, a doctor in Cabo San Lucas notified him that he needed surgery. However, the cruise ship personnel would not allow him to have the emergency surgery in Cabo San Lucas, which caused more delay in treatment. Sokolowski later received surgery, but due to the delay, he suffered nerve damage in his right leg and was declared permanently disabled.
This ruling is very significant for the cruise industry and South Florida cruise ship attorneys. Cruise lines must ensure that crew members are given the proper tools and safety equipment while working aboard the ship. Furthermore, cruise line medical personnel are under a duty to properly diagnose and instruct patients. Though this incident involved an employee, the delays in surgery and proper treatment could have easily occurred to an injured passenger.
If you have been the victim of a cruise ship accident, consult our office to speak with a Cruise Ship Attorney today.