Over 12 million Americans sail on cruise ships each year. While most of these trips are fun and relaxing vacations, in some cases the unthinkable can happen.
What Type Of Injuries Can You Sue For?
With casinos and buffets, cruises have plenty of things to distract you from the laborious duties that get the ship to move. There’s plenty that can go awry from technical mishaps and people falling overboard to gastrointestinal outbreaks.
Some common examples for cruise lines include:
- Deaths – We don’t expect it, but sometimes death can happen even when on vacation. These can be from medical conditions, suicides, homicides, or by falling overboard.
- Disasters – While rare, large-scale disasters can occur, such as ship collisions, capsizing, or even pirate attacks.
- Severe food poisoning
- Assaults or rapes
- Slip and fall accidents leading to broken bones or surgery
- Crimes – Robbery, smuggling, bomb threats, or even indecent exposure can be treated as crime-related accidents.
- Mechanical Complications – If something goes wrong on the ship, accidents like a fire or loss of power often results in claims
- Harsh Weather Causing rough seas (Hurricanes, fog, squalls can all result in accidents aboard ship)
- Medical malpractice by the inadequate medical care provided aboard board ship
Slips, Trips, and Falls
This category of common accidents makes it to the top of our list – and for good reason.
A cruise ship is by its very nature an unstable surface for walking. Although their impressive size means that they are usually very stable, they are susceptible to weather conditions that can lead to instability.
However, slips, trips, and falls often occur due to negligence. This could be wet floor surfaces not being properly marked, or floor coverings not being properly maintained.
Our advice – avoid areas that have just been cleaned, watch your step and beware of abandoned luggage in the corridor – a common culprit in accidents on cruise ships.
Swimming Pool Cruise Accidents
While tragic incidents are thankfully rare, cruise ship swimming pools are not immune to danger.
In fact, following a spate of drownings and near-drownings, some major cruise lines have taken the much-needed precaution of stationing lifeguards by their pools and offering life vests for less confident swimmers.
Our advice – make sure your cruise ship offers these kinds of safety features. This is especially important if enjoying your cruise with your children, or if you are not a confident swimmer.
Dangers Below Deck: Maintenance & Mechanical Issues
Not only vacationers but also cruise ship crew can be at risk of suffering accidents and injury while on board.
Sadly, labor and safety laws are not always strictly followed. Sometimes, due to equipment that is not properly maintained, excessive working hours or having to move heavy loads, crew members have suffered injuries while on board.
The most common injuries that crew members suffer are back and neck problems. Interestingly, the safest place seems to be below deck, working on the mechanics of the ship.
A study found that ‘hotel’ staff and, interestingly, dancers were the most likely to suffer serious injuries while performing their duties.
Our advice – don’t cut corners or take risks with health and safety while working on board. Make sure you are personally familiar with health and safety best practice and follow it while you undertake your duties.
What to do if You Experience an Accident
Many victims of cruise ship accidents can fall into common mistakes that leave you with less than what you deserve when it comes to compensation. There are a few things you’ll want to do:
Report the Accident in Writing
Make sure the crew is aware that you’ve been injured. When you’ve reported your accident, there will usually be an investigation. The United States Coast Guard Regulations state that certain investigations and forms must be completed if an injury requires medical treatment.
You’ll want to submit your report to the ship’s security department. Be sure to document the who, what, where, and when of your reporting and get a copy for yourself.
If you don’t report your injury, it can be legally impossible to prove your legal claim of negligence against the cruise liner. Make sure that your injury is reported to someone with investigation authority- usually the security or safety officer on the ship.
Get Copies of Reports
After you’ve reported your injuries, make sure you get copies of any documentation, including form and medical records.
Record the scene [Video or Pictures]
If possible, take photos of anything that caused your accident. This can make your case down the line. If you have any witnesses, get their contact details so they can corroborate your injuries and the conditions on-board.
Get Witness Info
Get the names and contact information from everyone involved, including any witnesses.
Get Medical Help
If you’ve been injured in some way, even if you think the injuries are minor, get medical attention.
Contact a maritime lawyer ASAP
A maritime lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve for a claim. Many victims may settle for less than what they can get. At the David Singer law firm, you will find that the lawyers know all that there is to know about this area of law www.cruiseinjurycase.com
Other Helpful Info After a Cruise Injury
Read Your Ticket After a Cruise Ship Accident
Most people don’t bother to read the fine print when they sign up for a cruise. After all, who expects to be injured or become the victim of a crime?
But, due to poor judgment, poorly skilled staff, and bad behavior of staff or another passenger, problems can and do arise. If you read your cruise line ticket, you’ll notice that it contains a number of provisions.
These provisions will directly impact you if you’re the victim of personal injury or wrongful death while cruising. Most provisions include time bar limitations, forum selection clauses, waivers of liability, and independent contractor notices.
Some clauses are enforced while others aren’t.
What are the Time Bar Limitations to File a Cruise Ship Injury?
As with most other types of personal injury claims, there is a time limitation. Most require that you file a suit within one year from the date of the accident.
However, there have been cases where the doctrine of equitable estoppel was applied. This doctrine is not applicable in cases where the cruise line advised the passenger prior to the filing of the suit.
The Forum Select Clause
The majority of major cruise lines are based in South Florida. The forum selection clause requires that a suit must be filed in a specific jurisdiction. It also must be tried in federal rather than state court.
This can make filing a suit against a cruise line a bit trickier if you aren’t a resident of the state the cruise ship is based in. A good attorney in that state can help handle your case.
Cruise Ship Release Documents
Some cruise ships want you to sign a document releasing them from liability for personal injury or wrongful death caused by their negligence. This includes bringing the case before a jury.
However, 46 U.S.C. §30509 prohibits a cruise line from doing this. This statute is limited to cruises that include at least one US port. It also only applies to the vessel’s owner, operator, master or ship’s agent.
Another issue to contend with is that there may be multiple laws governing the case. Much of it depends on where you were when the accident occurred.
If you were injured in a tender accident, the case may belong to Florida, international or Bahamian law. It may also be a combination of all three.
Determining who is liable can be tricky. A knowledgeable maritime attorney can help you sort it out in a timely manner.
Standard of Care
If your claim as a passenger is based on negligence, it is your responsibility as the injured party to prove negligence in order to receive a settlement.
Negligence is showed by proving that the ship’s owner owed you a duty, that the duty was breached, the breach caused the injury, and damages were suffered as a result.
Contact Us for Maritime Injury Claims
If you’ve been injured on a cruise ship, or experienced an accident, then you are entitled to compensation. At that point, contacting a maritime attorney can help you receive all you deserve. We won’t settle for anything less. Contact us today for more information at 1-800-ASK-FREE(275-3733).