James Hausman’s 2011 cruise ship injury resulted in a $21.5 million award. As stated in the lawsuit, the 61-year-old man suffered a brain injury when he was struck in the head by an automated door. Last week, a U.S. District Court jury determined Holland America cruise line is liable for the injury — as the door’s sensors were not set to comply with the manufacturer’s recommendation.
On November 26, 2011, Hausman and his family were on the initial leg of a 280-day world cruise. As evidenced in a surveillance video, the Springfield, Illinois, native was attempting to walk through a doorway when he was struck by an automated glass door — which appeared to malfunction.
As reported by US News, James Hausman was treated for injuries to his head and face. Although the cruise ship’s doctor determined he suffered a cut on his face, a chipped tooth, and a concussion, the man and his family finished the remainder of the world cruise as planned.
When Hausman returned home, he sought a second opinion, as he was experiencing memory loss, seizures, and vertigo. Further testing revealed he suffered a mild traumatic brain injury and was subsequently experiencing post concussive syndrome.
Attorneys Rick Friedman and David Roosa said Holland America’s negligence directly contributed to their client’s head injury and ongoing symptoms.
— Fox29WFLX (@Fox29WFLX) November 12, 2015
As reported by Seattle Times, at least 34 Holland America passengers were struck by automated doors between 2008 and 2011. Three of those passengers, including James Hausman, were seriously injured.
Representatives with Holland America insist Hausman simply walked into the automated door. However, attorney Friedman contends the cruise line intentionally set the doors to open and close faster than the manufacturer’s recommendation — as they were trying to save money on air conditioning.
Attorneys for Holland America vehemently deny the accusations. In an official statement, the cruise line said passenger safety and security are their utmost priorities.
— Chicago Sun-Times (@Suntimes) November 11, 2015
Carol Hausman said the injury had a negative impact on her husband’s quality of life. Nearly four years later, James still suffers with multiple issues — including drowsiness and vertigo.
“This was a man who used to sleep less than I did and now this is a man who sleeps much more than I ever hope to sleep… He doesn’t like to be in public, he doesn’t like to be in places with too much stimulation… bright lights. He just can’t tolerate that stuff in the way that he used to… “
James Hausman’s cruise ship injury may haunt him for the rest of his life. In an interview with Illinois Times, he said was forced to sell a successful business, and will no longer be able to enjoy some of his favorite activities.
“Us talking right now, I won’t remember ten words of it tomorrow… I’ll be on seizure drugs the rest of my life. I’ll never fly a plane again. The vertigo, it will be with me the rest of my life… I offered Holland America $10 million if they’d give me my life back.”
As they determined that Holland America was indeed negligent, the Seattle, Washington, jury awarded him $21.5 million in damages.
The award includes $1.5 for pain and suffering experienced prior to the date of the judgement, $3.5 million for future pain and suffering, and $16 million in punitive damages.
Although the award is being criticized as excessive, James and his family believe it is more than fair. During a recent interview, he pointed out that a large portion of the $21.5 million will be used to pay attorney fees and taxes.
Attorneys for Holland America have vowed to appeal the court’s decision in James Hausman’s lawsuit against the cruise ship line.
[Image via Shutterstock/Maximchuk]