We recently communicated with a family who suffered a tragedy. Their mother slipped and fell on a Holland America vessel. Treatement was provided at a hospital located at the next port city. Unfortunately the mother died. Concern existed regarding the division of responsibility between Holland America and the hospital.
The inquiry touched on pretty common issue in personal injury litigation: what happens when a person is injured and is made worse by her providers.
There is a body of law that provides that medical malpractice is a foreseeable consequence of injuring someone. As a result, the party that caused the initial injury is liable for not just the initial injury, but any additional harm that’s caused in the course of treating that injury.
In most cases it doesn’t make sense to pursue a medical malpractice action in a foreign country. Fortunately, however, there’s a good argument that Holland America should be held responsible for the the additional harm caused at the hospital when its negligence was the casue of the initial injury.
Note: Our firm has handled approximately 50 cases against Holland America. All cases against Holland America must be litigated in Seattle pursuant to the terms of the ticket purchased by passengers. The ticket provides that written claims must be submitted to Holland America within six months of the incident and suit must be filed within one year.