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What to Do if You Have Been Injured on a Cruise Line

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What to Do if You Have Been Injured on a Cruise Line

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If you find yourself injured on a cruise line, it can be hard to know what to do to address the situation and seek compensation for damages which can include medical bills, lost wages, as well as non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. There are a variety of common injuries which occur on cruise lines and clear steps an injured person can take in order to document the injury and decide if legal action is necessary.

If you or a loved one have been injured on a cruise line, you can begin taking action immediately—even while still aboard the cruise ship itself.

Common injuries sustained on cruise lines include the following:

  • Slip and falls
  • Trip and falls
  • Gangway accidents
  • Accidents ferrying passengers to and from land (AKA “tender boat accidents”)
  • Automatic door accidents
  • Drowning accidents
  • Pool accidents
  • Shore excursion accidents
  • Food poisoning
  • Unsecured items or cargo accidents
  • Fires
  • Broken railings/ladder accidents
  • Sexual assault

Seek immediate medical care for your injuries aboard the ship.

Your health takes first priority; cruise ships contain infirmaries where you can go to begin seeking treatment for your injury. Any fees you are required to pay on the ship for medical care will more than likely be reimbursed in the compensation of a maritime injury claim. Unfortunately, waiting to seek medical care could result in an argument being made against the severity of your injury down the road. This is why seeking medical attention as soon as possible after the injury is realized is essential to the strength of your case. It’s a good idea to seek additional medical care when you reach land to ensure the existence of a second medical record and trustworthy evaluation of your injury.

Preserve evidence.

It’s a good idea to take pictures and/or videos of both the injury and the scene where the accident and/or injury occurred. It’s also wise to ask for the contact information of any witnesses to the injury, as well as to record their testimony if they are willing. It’s important to keep all of this evidence in a safe place where it cannot be lost or deleted.

Request copies of your medical records and any incident reports.

It’s important to request a copy of your medical record both from the shipboard infirmary as well as any additional medical facility where you sought treatment upon returning to land. It’s also wise to request a copy of any incident report filed on the cruise ship regarding the situation in which your injury occurred. This includes requesting a copy of your passenger injury statement as well as any other pertinent documents.

Refrain from signing or agreeing to anything.

It’s important to refrain from verbally agreeing to or signing anything which could be designed to waive liability on the part of the cruise line. These cruise lines have teams of experienced lawyers working to protect their clients from having to pay expensive liability claims, even when they are obviously at fault.

Report your injury immediately.

It is vital that you report your injury as soon as possible after it occurs, even if you are still on board the cruise ship. There is a strict statute of limitations regarding these types of injuries, and after it passes there isn’t much you or a lawyer can do to seek compensation for that injury.

Making a detailed report about the incident to the United States Coast Guard will usually result in an investigation of the ship. In fact, it’s also a good idea to report the incident to the FBI, because if you are a United States citizen regardless of where the cruise ship is located, the FBI has the jurisdiction to come aboard and begin an investigation. Waiting to report the incident can also result in a loss or disbursement of valuable evidence that could have aided your case.

Contact a maritime lawyer for help in filing a claim against the cruise line on which you were injured.

After taking all of the steps above, it is wise to contact a maritime lawyer to discuss your case and file a claim against the cruise line in order to recoup your losses due to the injury. Injuries which occur on the ocean fall under maritime law, which is unique and can be tricky to navigate. This is why it’s wise to seek legal counsel from an experienced maritime lawyer who can evaluate your situation and help you figure out where and how to file your claim in order to receive as much compensation as possible to cover your injuries and ensuing damages.

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