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What Steps Should You Take Immediately After Suffering an Injury on a Cruise Ship?

March 16, 2024

What is the Importance of the Actions You Take Following a Cruise Ship Accident?

Cruise lines have a duty of care to ensure the safety of their passengers. If you suffer an injury caused by the cruise line’s negligence, such as failing to maintain safe conditions or adequately warn of potential hazards, you might be entitled to compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. However, the actions you take immediately following your accident can significantly impact the outcome of any potential claim. A skilled cruise ship accident attorney can explain vital steps you should take in the aftermath of an incident and further essential information you should know about bringing a lawsuit for your damages.

What Are the Most Commonly Experienced Accidents for Cruise Ship Passengers?

Travelers by sea have a right to be safe from preventable dangers. In an effort to keep passengers and crew members secure, cruise ships must comply with the vessel inspection laws of the country where they are registered. Additionally, for cruises departing from U.S. ports, ships must meet international regulations such as the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), which sets standards for crew competency, fire protection, navigation safety, and more.

Unfortunately, even with these safety measures in place, accidents and other harmful incidents can still occur and lead to major injuries for victims. Some of the most common ways passengers are hurt while on a cruise include:

  • Swimming pool accidents: Injuries can occur from slips and falls on wet pool decks, defective pool steps, or swimming-related accidents, including drowning.
  • Slip and fall accidents: These are among the most frequent incidents leading to passenger injuries. Causes can include wet and slippery floors, luggage left in hallways, defective stairs, and unmarked changes in elevation.
  • Recreational activity accidents: Injuries can happen during recreational activities such as rock climbing, sky rides, scuba diving, and water sports. Equipment defects can also lead to product liability claims.
  • Assault and sexual assault: Passengers may be at risk of physical and sexual assaults by crew members or other guests, leading to both bodily injuries and emotional trauma.

What Should You Do After a Cruise Ship Accident?

If you suffer an injury on a cruise ship, it’s crucial to take immediate and appropriate steps to ensure your safety, safeguard your rights, and preserve the evidence for any potential legal claim. Here are the steps you should follow:

Seek Medical Attention

Prioritize your health by seeking medical attention immediately. Even if the injury seems minor, a trained medical professional can thoroughly evaluate and document your injuries, which is essential for any future claims. Many common cruise ship injuries, particularly from slip and fall accidents, may not appear significant until later when tissues have begun to swell, or serious internal bleeding has occurred.

Unfortunately, cruise ship insurers will often try to cite a passenger’s failure to get prompt treatment as evidence that they were not as severely injured as they claim. Waiting to get treatment can be doubly risky for victims on a cruise ship because it can take time to organize emergency transportation to shore to receive care for life-threatening injuries.

Report the Incident

Notify the cruise ship staff about the accident as soon as possible. It’s vital to fill out an official incident report detailing the incident’s date, time, location, and circumstances. Do not accept or attempt to assign responsibility for the accident in your report. Instead, provide a fact-based account of the incident and the circumstances leading up to it with as many specifics as you can recall. Ensure you keep a copy of this report for your records.

Gather Witness Information

Witness testimonies can provide critical additional support for your claim by corroborating your account of the incident. However, individuals on cruises come from many areas and countries, and they can be nearly impossible to track down at a later date. If there were any witnesses to your accident, collect their names and contact information as soon as possible.

Contact a Lawyer With Experience in Maritime Law and Cruise Ship Injuries

Handling an accident claim on your own can rapidly become overwhelming. A knowledgeable lawyer can investigate the circumstances of your cruise ship injury to determine who may be liable and provide advice on the best course of action based on your specific situation. They will explain your legal rights, options for recovery, and potential outcomes of pursuing a claim.

What Are Some Unique Issues Related to Cruise Ship Injury Claims?

Cruise tickets often come with contracts you must sign that limit the cruise line’s liability and set requirements for filing lawsuits, including jurisdiction and time limits. These contracts typically require disputes to be litigated in a specific jurisdiction, usually where the cruise line is headquartered, and may restrict the amount of damages you can claim.

The first step in pursuing compensation is often to file a written notice of the claim with the cruise line within a specific period, usually within 180 or 185 days of the incident. This notice must detail the full circumstances of the incident and the injuries sustained. Beginning the claims process promptly is crucial to ensure you meet all necessary deadlines. Failure to abide by the terms and conditions of the ticket contract could result in the dismissal of your claim.

While the statute of limitations in most maritime law cases is three years, cruise line ticket contracts usually only allow a one-year statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit. This contractual shortening of the time to file suit has been held to be enforceable by higher courts. However, speaking with an attorney is still recommended even if you are near or beyond the time limit, as there may be tolling periods for minors, incapacitated persons, and wrongful death cases that could extend the time you have to file your claim.

How Can Consulting with an Experienced Cruise Ship Accident Attorney Benefit You?

Navigating a claim for an accident on a cruise ship can be complex due to the unique legal environment of maritime law. Consulting with an attorney with experience in cruise ship accidents can help you understand your rights, the legal process, and how to pursue compensation for your injuries. If you or a loved one have been hurt on a cruise ship, contact the Law Offices of Preston Easley today at 310-773-5207 to schedule a free consultation and learn about your legal options.

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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.

Construction Workers We Help

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Maritime Workers We Help

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Boating Accidents

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