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What is the Most Common Injury on a Cruise Ship?

October 14, 2023

What is the Most Common Way to Get Hurt on a Cruise Ship?

Cruises are an enjoyable way for many people to vacation, meet new people, and see unfamiliar locations. However, the fun experience of a cruise can be marred by an unexpected injury. While there are various ways to get hurt on a cruise ship, some of the most commonly experienced accidents are slips, trips, and falls. If you have been hurt by a slip or fall on a cruise and the cruise ship operator or crew members failed to take reasonable steps to protect you from hazards, you may be eligible to recover compensation for your losses. A knowledgeable cruise ship accident attorney can explain what you need to know about these common accidents and the unique laws that apply to seagoing vessels and their passengers.

How Do Slip and Fall Accidents Occur on a Cruise Ship?

Slips, trips, and falls happen when a surface is uneven, slick, or has obstructions that cause you to lose your footing. Although cruise ships have safety and maintenance protocols designed to minimize risks and keep passengers safe, these rules are not always followed, and the consequences can be dire for victims. The sheer size of the vessel and the vast array of different designated areas for passengers on a cruise ship can lead to a multitude of slip and trip risks.

Frequent causes of slip and fall accidents on a cruise include:

  • Wet surfaces on the deck or near pool areas.
  • Spills of slippery liquids, such as drinks or cleaning supplies.
  • Areas of poor traction due to a failure to install slip-resistant surfaces.
  • Inadequate maintenance of the ship leading to tripping risks, such as loose carpeting, exposed wires, and uneven stairs or walkways.
  • Poor lighting in interior stairways and areas that are frequently used at night.
  • Lack of safety features, such as guardrails, to prevent dangerous falls due to wave movement or inattention.
  • Improper handling of luggage or supplies that can cause tripping hazards in walkways.

What Injuries Can a Slip and Fall Accident Cause?

Slips and falls can be very dangerous. Even if you feel okay after your fall, you should seek a medical evaluation from the onboard doctor, particularly if you struck your head. Brain injuries can be life-threatening if not treated immediately, and it may take longer to arrange emergency medical care if you are at sea. A failure to get timely treatment could also endanger your ability to file a personal injury claim successfully and may lead to extended recovery times or long-lasting physical damage.

Injuries you could experience from a slip and fall on a cruise ship include:

  • Bruises and lacerations
  • Dental and facial injuries
  • Fractured or broken bones, particularly the pelvis, hip, hands, arms, and spine.
  • Dislocations
  • Skull fractures and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Spinal cord damage, possibly leading to full or partial paralysis
  • Coma or death

What Should You Do if You’ve Been Injured on a Cruise?

No one wants their vacation hampered by an injury, and victims often hesitate to seek treatment because they do not want to appear to be overreacting to a possibly minor incident. However, as noted above, getting prompt treatment is crucial. You need to protect your well-being and safeguard your rights to financial compensation if your slip and fall injury leads to losses.

In addition to getting an evaluation from the onboard medical staff, you should take the following steps if you believe that your accident was caused by negligence:

  • Inform the cruise ship’s staff of the injury: Make a written report, if necessary, and take a photo or keep a copy of the document.
  • Get contact information: If anyone witnessed your accident, collect their name and contact information so your lawyer can reach out if needed.
  • Take pictures: The accident scene could be repaired, and your injuries may start healing by the time the ship returns to port. Photos provide crucial evidence that can be key to your case.
  • Keep documentation of your expenses: Retain copies of all bills related to your injury, such as doctor visits, therapy, and prescription medication.
  • Contact a skilled maritime accident attorney: Cruise ship accidents must be handled differently than typical personal injury cases because they fall under unique laws. Seek out a trusted attorney with experience in maritime law to ensure you receive solid legal counsel.

What is the Statute of Limitations on Cruise Ship Accidents?

One vital aspect of cruise ship accident claims that victims must know is that they are subject to a significantly shorter statute of limitations than most other personal injury claims. The terms you agreed to when purchasing your tickets will include information on the length of time you have to file a claim to recover compensation. Under federal law 46 U.S.C. §30526, injured cruise ship passengers must be given at least six months to provide notice of their intent to file a claim and one year from the date of the injury to bring their civil action. 

Most cruise lines only provide the minimum statute of limitations, and if a victim fails to take action within this time, they may lose their right to recover damages. Making the process even more challenging is the inclusion of a forum selection clause in the fine print of most passenger tickets. This clause allows the cruise line to name the jurisdiction that will handle the case. Your lawyer can determine the proper jurisdiction in which to file and manage all important aspects of your case to avoid costly delays.

How Can a Maritime Accident Lawyer Assist You?

Cruise ship accidents can be dangerous and leave you with hefty medical expenses, lasting pain, and trauma. Unfortunately, the legal process for these types of personal injury claims can be complex. It is essential to seek the assistance of an experienced cruise ship accident lawyer to ensure that you have the best possible chance of recovering full compensation for your losses. To learn more about your legal rights and options, contact the Law Offices of Preston Easley today at 310-361-9484 to schedule a free consultation.

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Areas Where We Practice

Preston Easley is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. He served five years of active duty as a Naval officer — three years as a deck officer on a fast frigate and two years as a patrol boat skipper. Mr. Easley also served aboard a tank landing ship in the reserves.




Let Us Get You The Compensation You Deserve

Preston Easley is an experienced lawyer with considerable expertise in handling federal and state personal injury cases. He will aggressively seek the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to receive. Attorney Easley represents victims of serious and fatal accidents involving cars, trucks, construction projects and maritime work.

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