When planning for a vacation at sea, few people consider what will happen to them if they are seriously injured on the cruise or if they become ill during the cruise. The cruise ship companies want their customers to focus on fun, good times and excitement. They don't want you to consider the seedy underbelly of the cruise industry.
Before you go on a cruise you need to stop and consider what will happen to you or your family if someone is seriously injured or ill during the cruise. Because if you knew the truth, you would be concerned.
Let's face it, cruise ships are in effect, floating towns. Floating towns with thousands of residents. In most towns, people get sick and people get injured. It is the same at sea. To think otherwise is naive.
Most vacationers expect cruise ships to be accountable to U.S. laws and U.S. safety standards. However, this is not the case. Almost all cruise ships sailing from U.S. Ports are registered under the flags of Panama, Liberia or the Bahames. As such, they are exempt from most U.S. environmental regulations, labor standards, security requirements and medical safeguards.
Instead of receiving top notch medical care on cruise ships, passengers receive third-world medical care, at best. At worst, they are subject to doctors that are unfit to practice medicine in any country. Truth is, most cruise ship doctors are not licensed in the United States. By and large, the United States Supreme Court and federal courts have allowed the cruise ship industry to get away with staffing cruise ships with doctors that can't practice medicine anywhere else. Due to established maritime law, regulation of shipboard medical care is largely non-existent.
How did this happen? According to federal maritime law, cruise ship doctors and nurses are considered independent contractors, not employees. Thus, the cruise lines are generally not legally liable for the cruise ship physicians actions.
In other words, the cruise ships staff their ship with doctors that are so bad they can not practice anywhere else. Once the doctor commits medical malpractice on vacationers the cruise line can not be held responsible for the doctors malpractice. Thus, there is no accountability for their medical malpractice. In effect, you - - the cruise ship customer - - gets left holding the bag, so to speak.
The truth of the matter is the doctors are aboard the cruise ship to provide treatment to the crew members - not the ocean going pubic. This is because maritime law does not require cruise ships to provide medical care for passengers, only for the crew.
Fact is, most cruise ship infirmaries are set up to handle sunburn and seasickness. Most are unable to deal with a serious injury or illness. Heart attacks are the most frequent cause of death aboard cruise ships. It is no wonder so many folks die aboard cruise ships based upon the lack of quality medical care.
If you or a family member is seriously injured while aboard a cruise ship, you need to know your injury falls under maritime law. You need to hire a California maritime lawyer for your injury case. There are strict requirements concerning when, how and where you file a lawsuit against the cruise ship company. Since there are strict time limits on when to file a claim for a cruise ship injury, you should contact a seasoned cruise ship lawyer immediately.
This article is not legal advice. I am simplistic in order to achieve clarity. You are advised to contact a California maritime lawyer if you are seriously injured aboard a cruise ship. Whenever you go into court and ask for money damages your credibility is always at issue. If the jury believes you have mislead or lied to them - then you will lose your case. Don't think you are going to pull one over on them. Instead, you will get caught in a lie and you will lose. Always tell the truth.