SEATTLE - Surveillance video shows the moment James Hausman got hit by the automatic glass door on board the Holland America ship, MS Amsterdam, in 2011.
"As we walked through the door to our right, (it) started to close again," said his wife, Carol. "And hit (him) on the temple on the side of the face."
She was behind him and initially thought little of it.
"He was a little bit dazed, you know," said Mrs. Hausman. "Like many people you sort of think well, 'Let's move on to the next thing.'"
When he noticed he was still bleeding, he went to the infirmary. That’s when their ordeal began.
"Almost right away, he started having headaches. He was off balance," she said. "A lot of fatigue."
He had suffered a traumatic brain injury.
She says he became so debilitated he eventually sold 80% of his successful gold and silver business in Illinois.
Still, she says, suing Holland America "was very difficult."
But her lawyers contend the sliding doors hurt 30 others across Holland America's entire fleet before Hausman was injured.
"And the injuries varied from a bruise to broken parts of the vertebrae," said David Roosa, an associate with Friedman Rubin Law firm. "And in the case that I mentioned a moment ago, a broken femoral neck in her hip."
A jury agreed the cruise line was negligent and awarded the Hausmans $21 million.
"We're just happy that the jury saw fit to have this just verdict and hold Holland America accountable,” said Carol Hausman.
In a statement, Holland America said it is "committed to the safety and security" of its passengers.
The Seattle-based cruise line said it will appeal.