Many individuals, including those from Pittsburgh, seek to break up the monotony of winter by escaping to a warm weather location. For some, that means a Caribbean Cruise. Unfortunately, incidents leading to personal injury lawsuits can occur anywhere, including on the open sea.
This point is illustrated in a lawsuit against Carnival Cruise Line, as well as some of its employees, which was filed by a woman who was injured when she fell overboard. Though the woman was ultimately rescued by the ship from which she fell, she suffered serious injuries in the incident and claims that cruise ship staff insisted on searching the ship for her before turning around to look for her in the water. She alleges the ship's staff acted negligently and inflicted emotional distress upon her.
According to the complaint, the woman, who was on the ship with her fiancé and friend, became intoxicated, due in part to the behavior of one of the ship's bartenders. After returning to her cabin with her friend, she reportedly decided to go onto the ship's balcony to get some fresh air. When she did do, she apparently slipped and fell over the railing.
The woman did not immediately fall into the water– she first struck one of the ship's life rafts located about 100 feet below her balcony. After hitting that she fell into the water located five stories below. By the time she was recovered, she had spent two hours in the cold water.
Once recovered, and despite having suffered serious injuries including a dissection of the carotid artery, fractured bones and multiple hematomas, the ship's staff refused to airlift her to a hospital. Instead, the boat changed course and took her to a hospital that was not equipped to treat her injuries. She allegedly did not receive the medical treatment she needed for 16 hours after the incident.
While incidents as extreme as this one do not happen on a regular basis on cruises, most would agree that the ship should be prepared to react quickly when they do. We will report any updates on this matter as they become available.
Source: Courthouse News, "Carnival Cruise Line Didn't Give a Damn, Woman Overboard Says," Marimer Matos, March 13, 2013