The cruise injury law firm of Brais Brais Rusak filed a lawsuit against Royal Caribbean Curies for injuries sustained on a tour excursion. The Complaint filed in Federal Court alleges a Minnesota couple decided to take an East Asian cruise aboard the Mariner of the Seas in January of last year. As part of their vacation, they purchased an “Island Hopping” excursion to occur in Langkawi, Malaysia from Royal Caribbean.
On January 18, 2014, the couple reported to the Island Hopping excursion area which was within shouting distance of the cruise ship. They were directed onto a small boat which seated 10 people. The tour boat left the cruise pier and started across the bay. Upon leaving the sheltered harbor, it became obvious that the weather conditions in the bay were very poor for such a boat ride. The wind was blowing 20-30 kts and the wave height in the bay was in excess of three feet. It was a very rough and dangerous ride.
Leaving Wet Rice Island, matters got worse. The couple was one of the first people to get on the tour boat to return to the cruise ship pier. Once they got on the boat, the tour operator kept loading more and more people. Though the boat only seated 10, before setting out, the tour operator overloaded the boat with 13 people. All passengers on the tour boat were passengers from the Mariner of the Seas. Given it was a Malaysian holiday, there was no other way for the the couple to return from Wet Rice Island to the cruise ship. As such, they were forced to ride back on the overloaded tour boat.
Leaving Wet Rice Island, the couple was told to sit in the front of the metal boat by the operator. There were no seating cushions. The boat left Wet Rice Island at a high rate of speed in high winds and rough seas. Many of the passengers screamed at the operator to slow down, but he did not respond. Not being able to sit in place, our client’s husband attempted to place her on his lap. The operator screamed that our client must return to her assigned seat for stability reasons. They screamed back to the operator to slow down. A fellow passenger who observed our client being thrown around, told the operator to slow down. These pleas to slow down were ignored and the operator kept the boat moving at a fast speed despite the rough sea conditions. For twenty minutes, our client was tossed up and landing violently in her seat. Our client was observed by another at one point being vigorously thrust into the area about one meter striking her head on the boat’s canopy. She came down with a thud, landing on her buttocks at the edge of her seat and fell to the deck. When the boat returned to the dock, our client could barely walk and could not exit the boat without assistance. She was in so much pain that the couple hired a cab to drive the 300 yards back to the ship as she could not walk that far. She had no lower back pain prior to the subject incident.
Upon returning to the cruise ship, they reported to the ship’s medical facility. The ship doctor’s exam was inconclusive of any broken bones. Most interestingly, the ship’s doctor failed to take any x-rays. Our client, still in excruciating pain, returned to the ship’s medical facility for further examination. Again, no x-rays were performed. However, an injection was administered to help ease the pain and medication was prescribed. She was then advised by the ship’s doctor to continue the medication and follow up with her primary care physician upon returning home. Upon returning home, our still had extreme difficulty walking and was diagnosed with compression fracture and multiple disc bulging.
The Mariner of the Seas is outfitted with state-of-the-art weather monitoring equipment. As such, the complaint alleges Royal Caribbean knew or should have known that the open waters of the bay would be too rough for the tour boat. It is asserted that Royal Caribbean had the legal duty to cancel the Island Hopping excursion, or, at the very least, warn of the potential of an extremely bumpy right for the safety of its passengers. Also, given the recent Franza decision, cruise lines can now be held liable for the negligence of its ship’s doctors. The lawsuit claims ship’s doctor failed to perform an x-ray, the simplest form of diagnostic testing, to confirm whether our client had a larger injury than that of a bruise. Had an x-ray been performed, it would have showed the compression fracture. If such a fracture was diagnosed, our client would have sought local medical treatment before taking a several hour flight back to the United States. The complaint claims the onboard doctor’s neglect of duty towards our client caused her to experience excruciating pain that she need not had to endure.
If you, or anyone you know, had a similar experience during the Island Hopping excursion, we like to talk with you so we could better represent our client.