Judge Rules In Favor of Injured Crew Member, Carnival Must Pay $1.36 million

Sep 29, 2019

It appears that Carnival Cruise Lines continues to be reminded over-and-over again to not underestimate the “little person.” We wonder, how many lawsuits by crew members who most often just want fair and safe work/living environment, as well as appropriate support when injured on the job. Well, that’s exactly what happened with the 35-year-old Carnival Cruise Line crew member. He was awarded $1,35 million for spinal injuries he suffered when working aboard Carnival Valor.

In his claim the crew member, who at the time of the injury was working as a bar waiter, said he was attempting to climb into his upper bunk bed when the handle ripped off the cabin wall and he fell backward, breaking his back. The injury was reported on December 7, 2014, when the crew member sent back home for medical treatment. Further examinations have shown that he suffered multiple spinal fractures.

ripped handle from crew bunk bed cabin

  • Photograph of the broken bed handle from the crew cabin.

When the cruise line stop paying for further medical treatments the crew member decided to contact Tonya Meister maritime attorney based in Miami. For one year Mrs. Meister sent letters to Carnival requesting the company to pay for medical until the crew member fully recovers from his injuries, but Carnival refused, to pay.

In July 2016 the crew member decided to go step further and asked for arbitrator to resolve the dispute for his case. Last year arbitrator in Monaco ruled in favor of the crew member and Carnival was ordered to pay $1.35 million for medical expenses, loss of earnings and pain and suffering. But the cruise line has refused to pay claiming that the arbitration was not fair on their behalf. After, five years of pain and legal labyrinths Carnival Cruise line will pay the money they owe to the crew member. On September 17, 2019, Federal Judge in Miami confirmed the previous ruling in favor of the crew member and ordered Carnival Corporation to pay $1,357,831.40 plus $186 per day in interest. “I am so happy with the Court’s decision.  I will now be able to get the medical care” the crew member said.

Admiralty and Maritime law expert Tonya Meister who represents seafarers and passengers says the cruise line makes it so difficult for a crew member to pursue their legal rights.

cruise ship maritime lawyer Tonya Meister

“I care about crew members and fight for their legal rights as long as it takes. It is about seeking truth and justice for the crew member. Cruise lines should provide a reasonably safe place for the crew members. If a crew member becomes sick or injured then the cruise line should provide for them. The cruise lines make it so difficult for crew members to pursue their legal rights, but I fight hard to protect the crew. I used to work as a crew member and know what it is like to work at sea.”