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Ohio Vacationers: Maritime Medical Malpractice Laws Are Changing

The Lancione Law Firm

Imagine going on a cruise and getting injured. What should be an easy treatment ends up leaving you with an infection that leads to an amputation. You believe you’ve been the victim of medical malpractice, but do you have a case since you weren’t technically in the United States while on the cruise?

Unlike with traditional services in Ohio, when you go on a cruise, your ability to seek remedies after an accident or injury can be limited. There are few quality controls or standards for medical personnel on the ship, which can lead to malpractice due to mistreatment or negligence.

Interestingly, for close to a century, the courts have ruled that if the cruise company has done its job to find an educated and appropriate medical care provider, it won’t necessarily be held accountable if the doctor or nurse makes a mistake. So, you could be injured on the ship and have only the doctor to try to sue. Those doctors are generally referred to as independent contractors, and they may not be able to be taken to court within the state’s jurisdiction.

This has begun to change in recent years, and now how the cruise liner should be held responsible for the negligent treatment of passengers may be changing for the better. In one of the more recent injury cases, a man suffered a head injury and later died after almost six hours of insufficient treatment for the injury. When the case headed to court, the court noted that the victim and family believed the doctors and nurses were employees of the ship and/or had been brought in by the carrier to work for them. By having to see these medical providers, the victim did not have a choice of care, and the court did rule in favor of the victim’s family.

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