Cruise Ship

It's not unusual to hear about injuries and illnesses occurring aboard cruise ships -- everything from slips and falls to virus outbreaks. Sometimes passengers are even the victims of crime on the ship. However, one man is suing Disney Cruise Line for breach of duty and negligence involving a particularly gruesome accident that occurred on one of its ships during a Caribbean cruise.

Suit: Door Severed Man's Thumb

According to the suit, on the second night of the cruise, the man and his family were on their way to dinner when a door that his wife had been holding open slammed shut on his thumb, which was on the door frame. The door amputated his thumb.

The man's attorney says that the then-73-year-old grandfather took his severed thumb to the ship's doctor. There, according to his lawyer, a nurse reportedly put it on ice and bandaged the man's injury. Reportedly, the man attempted to see a doctor when the ship docked in St. Maartan, but he was told that the doctor who could help him wasn't available. The next day, when the ship reached Puerto Rico, he saw a doctor who informed him that too much time had passed to reattach his thumb.

Federal Suit Filed in Orlando

The man lives in Columbia. However, the suit was filed in federal court in Orlando, Florida, near Disney Cruise Line's headquarters in Celebration. The cruise that the man was on had sailed from Miami.

The suit charges the cruise line with failing to provide the plaintiff with adequate or timely medical care, having no safety hinges on its cabin doors, not properly maintaining its doors, and failing to warn passengers of the potential dangers of the doors. He is seeking compensation for medical care as well as other costs resulting from the injury.

When injuries occur on cruises, companies may try to blame passengers for being careless, perhaps having been drinking or somehow being responsible for their injuries. Things can get even more complicated if an injury, crime or illness occurs on an excursion at one of the ship's stops. However, cruise lines have a responsibility to do everything reasonably possible to keep passengers safe and healthy during their vacations and to provide adequate medical care should they become injured or ill. If a cruise line or its employees fail in these responsibilities, it may be possible to hold them liable.