Under laws set forth by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), employers have a duty to provide their employees with a hazard-free workplace. Standards and practices for safety can differ from industry to industry and OSHA sets these expectations. When an injury occurs in the workplace, it is primarily covered by Worker’s Compensation. However, some states do not require workplaces to carry worker’s compensation insurance. In those cases, or when the injuries exceed the amount of worker’s compensation allowed, the company can open themselves up to personal injury litigation. The injured employee would need to prove negligence on the employer’s behalf to be successful.
USA Today reports that the Disney Cruise Line has been ordered to pay a worker $4 million in a personal injury case. A jury in Brevard County ordered Disney Cruise Line to pay an injured worker, Maria Ana Reis Martins $4 million. The judgment included $2 million for lost earnings, $1 million for pain and suffering and $1 million in punitive damages.
The lawsuit came as a result of an injury that Martins suffered during a port of call. She was struck by a car and went to visit the cruise ship’s doctor in 2013. The ship’s doctor failed to diagnose 3 broken ribs and proclaimed that Martins was fit to work as a dining room server.
Later, in Florida, a doctor discovered that she had 3 broken ribs. She returned to her native Portugal for treatment for five months. She returned to work in 2014 but had to leave a month later due to nerve damage.
This is the first time that the cruise line has lost a personal injury lawsuit involving an employee in a jury trial. The jury assigned 80% of the fault to Disney Cruise Lines and 20% of the fault to Martins.