Carnival Cruise Guest Sues For Losing Finger in Door

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A Carnival cruise guest has filed suit against the cruise line for an incident that happened in September 2022, alleging that his finger was severed when a balcony door slammed shut on it unexpectedly.

The lawsuit considers the cruise line negligent for failing to provide safety mechanisms on balcony doors to prevent such sudden slams.

Carnival Corporation Sued for Finger Injury

A passenger identified as William J. Tuttle has sued Carnival Corporation in US federal court for damages and requested a trial by jury after being injured aboard Carnival Horizon. The complaint was filed on Wednesday, October 11, 2023, in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida and will be heard by presiding judge K. Michael Moore.

Tuttle’s right index finger was amputated when his balcony door slammed on the digit. There is no information available about whether the finger was able to be reattached and if so, what range of motion or functionality it has today.

The incident apparently happened in September 2022, though there is no explanation for why it took more than a year to file the lawsuit. It is not uncommon, however, for such lawsuits to be brought to light long after the initial injury. This may depend on evidentiary findings, recovery periods, and other factors before a full lawsuit can be initiated.

Carnival Horizon Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Mariusz Lopusiewicz / Shutterstock

The suit alleges that Carnival did not exercise “reasonable care” to ensure protection from such injuries, as it is commonly known that balcony doors can slam with strong force. The lawsuit lists 11 similar incidents as support for the claim that the cruise line ought to have known and taken measures to prevent such injuries.

Tuttle claims that the ship’s balcony doors should have been designed with mechanisms to prevent slamming, as such incidents are well known and liable to cause injuries.

The complaint seeks damages higher than $75,000 (USD) and demands a trial by jury, which would ensure greater publicity for the litigation.

Carnival’s policy is not to offer comments on active lawsuits, which is common in legal matters for all industries. Similar lawsuits have been filed against Carnival Corporation in the past, and the outcomes vary based on individual circumstances for each case.

Are Door Slams a Real Problem?

Many cruise ship passengers have experienced sudden slams of either balcony or stateroom doors, particularly when both doors may be open simultaneously. The change in air pressure can create a strong wind across the cabin, forcing a door to suddenly shut with great force.

Is that force enough to sever a finger? Most likely, yes, depending on how the finger might be positioned as the door is closing and whether the door swings or slides closed.

Carnival Sunrise Stateroom
Photo: Copyright Cruise Hive

Many cruise travelers are aware of the noise of slamming doors and how it can be problematic, though injuries are far less common.

Cruise lines often post signage in balcony cabins urging guests not to have both doors open at the same time, and to be cautious when opening and closing the balcony door. It is unknown whether or not Carnival Horizon had such signage in place at the time of the incident involving Tuttle.

The 133,500-gross-ton, Vista-class Carnival Horizon joined the Carnival Cruise Line fleet in 2018, making it one of the line’s newer vessels. The ship can welcome 3,960 guests at double occupancy, or as many as 4,977 travelers when fully booked with all berths filled.

Of the ship’s 1,967 guest staterooms, 951 include balconies, verandahs, or lanais of some sort. The exact stateroom or type of balcony cabin that Tuttle stayed in for his September 2022 cruise is not specified.

It should be noted that more than 20 lawsuits have been filed against Carnival Corporation in October 2023 alone, many involving various injuries. Such lawsuits are not uncommon and are all given due process as required by law.

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