A 61-year-old man from Springfield, Illinois, has been awarded $21.5 million by an eight-person federal jury in Seattle, Washington following a nine-day trial. The jury calculated actual damages at $5 million, while punitive damages were set at $16.5 million. The defendant in the suit was Holland America Line, headquartered in Seattle. The cruise ship operator intends to appeal, according to the Seattle Times.
On November 26, 2011, the man attempted to walk through an opening between automatic sliding glass doors on the M/S Amsterdam. Surveillance video shows that the door closed on him, hitting him in the head. Attorneys for the ship’s owner claimed that the man walked into the sliding doors as they were closing.
Brain Injury Diagnosed Later
The ship’s physician subsequently diagnosed him with a concussion, but he, his wife and daughter still finished their around-the-world trip. However, his attorneys asserted that later medical tests revealed a brain injury that caused memory loss, vertigo and seizures.
Motion Sensors at Issue
The plaintiff’s attorneys alleged that motion sensors were set to open and close the doors more quickly, possibly to save on air conditioning expenses. The plaintiff’s legal counsel said during trial that other passengers previously sued Holland America following other sliding door accidents.
His attorneys claimed that the owner of the ship, Holland America, failed to disclose details of 34 other sliding-door accidents that occurred on its ships during the three years before the man suffered his injury. The federal judge ultimately allowed the man’s attorneys to present details of 16 of those incidents.
If you or someone you know suffers injury due to the negligent conduct of another party, it is possible that damages can be recovered. Our firm offers an initial consultation with a personal injury attorney at no cost. To learn more about our legal services, please contact us.