Cruise ship vacations can be a lot of fun, but as each cruise ship accident lawyer at our firm knows, accidents can and do happen. While some incidents onboard a vessel cannot be prevented, such as a medical emergency suffered by a passenger or crewmember, others are the direct result of someone’s negligence onboard. Even when a cruise ship accident cannot be foreseen, the vessel’s operators are responsible for offering medical attention to those who are ill or injured and if the ship’s medical quarters are not fully equipped to treat the victim, cruise officials must make reasonable preparations to have the victim transported to the nearest hospital.
Last Friday, one cruise ship’s officials had to do just this after a victim was seriously injured. However, this accident is of the utmost concern because the victim was a toddler. Emergency rescue authorities were called to action after the child fell from a deck onboard Royal Caribbean’s Monarch of the Seas to another. Crews were able to rescue the young victim and transported the child to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando Friday evening to be treated for injuries.
According to Brevard County Fire Rescue Spokesman Lt. Jeff Taylor, his agency received a call at around 6:45 p.m. regarding a 1-year-old who had fallen from the 11th deck of the cruise ship to the 10th shortly after the Monarch of the Seas departed Port Canaveral. Due to the nature of the emergency and cruise ship law, the name of the child has not yet been released. Officials are unsure of the toddler’s current condition.
In a statement, Royal Caribbean explained the 14-month-old boy, who was from India, had been treated at the ship’s medical facilities but required more urgent care after suffering head injuries. According to officials, the child crawled through the railing on a balcony and fell to the deck below. Royal Caribbean may be found at least partially responsible for the incident and the toddler’s family may be able to claim damages for their pain and suffering, as well as for any medical expenses incurred. Many times, passengers and crewmembers suffer injuries onboard cruise vessels because the ships are not up to par with maritime safety standards. Sometimes railings are too low or barriers are spaced too far apart, leading people to fall over them, as in the case with this young victim. Even when a cruise ship is not responsible for a tragic accident, they can still be held liable for the victim’s injuries or complications resulting from the incident if they fail to act quickly and reasonably make sure the victim obtains adequate medical treatment.
Monarch of the Seas’ officials made sure to help the toddler and his family get to shore in order to obtain better medical treatment. The ship immediately turned around and returned to Port Canaveral, so the family could debark the vessel and obtain medical care. According to a Royal Caribbean statement, the line’s “care team is providing support and assistance to the guest’s family,” and added: “Our thoughts are with their family, and we will continue to do our very best to assist them.” However, Royal Caribbean may still be found liable for the toddler’s injuries.