Millions of Americans love taking cruise vacations each year. Whether you’re headed to the Caribbean for some sun and sand or you’re seeing the northern lights dancing over the North Sea, cruising is the vacation of a lifetime. But what happens when your blissful cruise turns into a nightmare?
Unfortunately, many people suffer cruise ship injuries each year. So what can you do when you suffer a cruise ship injury and you’re hundreds of miles from shore, far away from the nearest hospital or doctor’s office?
Instead of scrambling to get help and understand your rights as a cruise ship injury victim, a little prevention can go a long way. Learning about how to protect yourself before you ever step on a ship is the best insurance policy you can buy to help guarantee a safe vacation.
After all, not getting injured in the first place is the best way to avoid trouble. But if you are injured, this guide to cruise ship injuries can help you get back on your feet and pursue compensation.
Common Injuries on a Cruise Ship
Common injuries on a cruise ship occur in a variety of ways. Vacationers often think they need to be doing something dangerous to suffer a major cruise ship injury.
In fact, most cruise ship injuries happen when people are engaged in everyday activities that are not considered inherently risky. Indeed, passenger injuries can happen from something as simple as walking across the deck.
Different types of injuries can include:
- Slip, trip, and fall injuries;
- Tender-boat accidents (i.e., injuries sustained on the boats that ferry passengers to and from shore);
- Poolside injuries;
- Drownings or near-drownings;
- Burns and fire injuries;
- Blunt-force injuries from unsecured objects;
- Puncture wounds;
- Mechanical injuries (i.e., injuries caused by equipment on the ship); and
As you can see, you don’t have to be zip-lining across the ship or taking part in a limbo competition under a flaming rope to be at risk for serious injury!
What to Do Immediately After a Cruise Ship Injury
If you or a loved one sustains a cruise ship injury, here are a few simple steps you can follow to better protect yourself and your family.
Seek Medical Assistance
Injuries on a cruise ship need to be treated right away. Most ships have some kind of medical facility aboard. No matter how big or small your injury, make sure to seek medical attention.
It’s also important to seek immediate medical assistance because waiting to tend to your injuries can impact your ability to recover for any losses you may suffer. For instance, you may fall and suffer a neck injury. But if you don’t seek treatment for the fall until you return to your home port, it may be difficult to prove the severity of your cruise ship injuries.
Report the Cruise Ship Injury
It’s important to let the ship know that an injury has occurred as soon as you’re able. Make a report to the local police. Be aware that the cruise line may not report your cruise ship injury to American authorities. This is especially true if you think some kind of misconduct was involved or the cruise line may be at fault.
Refrain from Signing Anything
If the cruise line (or anyone else) presents you with paperwork to sign at any point after your cruise ship injury, do not sign it. The cruise industry is a multi-billion dollar industry with lots of insurance and expensive lawyers. Vulnerable accident victims are often persuaded to waive rights to compensation. Don’t let that happen to you.
If you were injured during an onboard activity and you’re worried because you signed a waiver (sometimes called an assumption of risk form), an experienced maritime lawyer can advise you of your rights. Often, these agreements are not as iron-clad as they seem.
Resist Posting on Social Media
When you’re injured, the “likes” and “get well soon” messages left on a hospital bed selfie can certainly cheer you up. However, the internet is forever.
Anything you say on social media after a cruise ship injury, whether in written, photo, video, or audio format, can later be used against you. Be sure to request that your friends and family refrain from commenting publicly about your injuries as well.
Investigate Your Cruise Ship Injury
Once you report your injury to the cruise line, they may conduct an investigation. It’s important to conduct your own investigation as well. You should note the names of any witnesses to your injury.
If you were injured on a cruise ship excursion, be sure to determine whether the local authorities are conducting their own investigation. If the excursion was operated by a separate tour company, make sure to inquire about their investigation and obtain copies of their reports as well.
Preserve Evidence of Your Cruise Ship Injury
Keep any documentation of your cruise ship injury. This can include photos of your injuries, photos of accident scenes, doctor bills, and any evidence you can gather that shows your injuries were sustained on a cruise ship. Obtain and keep the names of witnesses to your case and law enforcement investigators.
Talk with an Experienced Cruise Ship Injury Attorney
At Grossman Attorneys at Law, we’ve represented cruise ship passengers against all major cruise lines. Our team’s personal client attention and extensive litigation experience have helped cruise ship injury victims recover physically and financially from their cruise ship injuries.
We reach across international waters to ensure that cruise ship injury victims are able to obtain justice. Contact us today to speak with our team of experienced maritime attorneys.