Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

In yet another blow to Florida residents and visitors, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that on-board doctors are not considered employees of the cruise lines who hire them. This means that the cruise lines are not responsible if those doctors commit malpractice while treating a passenger on board their ship.

The effect of this ruling is simple, if you are mistreated or injured due to the negligent actions of an on-board doctor, you cannot sue the cruise line for that doctor’s negligent actions. Considering that most on-board doctors are from other countries and do not have malpractice insurance, it is likely that the injured victim will be unable to recovery anything for the damages they suffer at the hands of an on-board doctor.

Having represented dozens of cruise ship passengers, we cannot understand how an on-board doctor, who is specifically placed on a ship by the cruise line, for the benefit of their paying passengers, cannot be an employee of that cruise line. Cruise line passengers have no choice in the medical care they receive as they are essentially captive and in many instances, unable to leave the ships. If a passenger falls victim to illness, or sustains an on-board injury, such as a slip and fall, their only hope for medical care is with the on-board doctor.

Florida Laws relating to medical malpractice cases do not allow adult children, whose parents die from medical malpractice, to recover damages from the wrongful death of their parents. In all other types of cases, in which a parent dies from the negligence of another, including car accidents, truck accident or even boating accidents, an adult child, that is, someone older than 25, may recover for their parent’s wrongful death, assuming that parent is unmarried at the time of their death.

A number of years ago, doctors and hospitals convinced the Florida Legislature to pass a law excluding adult survivors of medical malpractice victims as Plaintiffs. This means, if you are 25 or older, and your parent is divorced or a widow(er) when they die from medical malpractice, then you are precluded from recovering pain and suffering damages against the doctor or hospital who caused their death.

The Florida Supreme Court has also recently issued an opinion holding this law, which protects doctors and hospitals, to the detriment of all surviving adult children, is constitutional. We have had to regrettably turn away numerous clients, who not only suffered due to the loss of their parent, but are doubly injured by their inability to seek justice on behalf of their deceased parent.

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