CRUISE SHIP INJURIES
Cruise ships have quickly become a popular and enjoyable vacation option for people looking to escape the stress of everyday life. It’s not hard to see why people enjoy spending their hard earned vacation time on a cruise ship. Where else can you hop around exotic ports while enjoying 1st class food, modern amenities, and a beautiful stateroom?
Take These Seven Steps Right Away
Royal Caribbean’s cruise fleet now boasts its most recent addition, the Symphony of the Seas, largest passenger ship ever built. At 362 meters long, it can accommodate nearly 9,000 people and offers passengers access to more than 40 restaurants and bars; 23 pools, jacuzzis and water slides; two West End-sized theatres; an ice rink; a surf simulator; two climbing walls; a zip line; a fairground carousel; a mini-golf course; a ten-story fun slide; laser tag; a spa; a gym; a casino; plus dozens more shopping and entertainment opportunities. As cruise liners continue to pack more and more amenities onto their ships, there has also been a sharp increase in passenger injuries because crew members fail to follow simple commonsense safety precautions.
Passengers getting ready for a vacation aboard these floating cities are often so caught up planning fun itineraries and meals, that they overlook the possibility of an accident occurring and what to do when one happens. It’s always important to realize that cruise ships and the companies that run them have already taken steps to limit their own liability and unsuspecting passengers who have been injured on a ship can be left without any options. The most common injuries include falling down stairs, tripping over luggage in hallways, slipping around wet pool areas, sliding doors closing on limbs, sexual battery or assaults by crew members or other passengers, bad food, food poisoning, severe injuries while on excursions and drownings. If you or a loved one sustain an injury during your cruise, the steps outlined in following tips should be followed to preserve your rights.
THERE IS ALWAYS A WITNESS:
It’s always important to remember that even if you were alone when the accident occurred, THERE IS A WITNESS. Virtually all cruise ships are outfitted with high-end video surveillance camera that may have recorded your accident or the events leading up to it. Once a passenger becomes injured, vessel employees will be directed to make notes and written observations about the injured passenger. The employees who will be observing you and reporting back to supervisors are the same friendly faces you are used to seeing, like bartender, waiters, cabin stewards, activity directors, and medical staff. Essentially, any staff member you see on a regular basis will be reporting on their interactions with you and filing reports based on what they saw.
Any and all injuries should be reported to the nearest employee immediately regardless of how they happened. Report and document all the details you can to the cruise line. If your memory of the incident is fuzzy, document any new details you remember and provide the information to the cruise line. Ask medical staff and officers about the cruise lines’ standard procedures for your situation, and make sure that they are followed. At the very least, ensure that a proper and through investigation is conducted and an incident report is completed.
MARITIME LAW APPLIES:
Did you know that under maritime law an injured passenger MUST file a claim against the company within one year? Injured parties who believe that the traditional three-year statute of limitations applies will often miss this deadline and cruise ship companies will not be forthcoming to explain that information to you. An injured person who misses the one-year filing deadline will have unknowingly forfeited any claim involving a substantial recovery and they may also be required to cover the cost of their own medical expenses for an injury that was 100% the company’s fault. Because cruise ships are not bound by the tradition rules and deadlines of typical land-based injuries, it’s extremely important to hire an experienced attorney who is familiar with the nuances of maritime law and can get you the recovery you deserve. Maritime law requires cruise ship companies to constantly develop and implement safety management systems which include producing an accident report and conducting an investigation for each accident that occurs.
MARITIME LAW AFFECTS THE WAIVERS YOU SIGNED:
Prior to partaking in many activities either on the ship or on a land tour, passengers are usually required to sign form which acknowledges risk. While it makes sense to acknowledge that there is an obvious degree of risk involved when a passenger chooses to ice skate on a moving vessel, or zip-line in a foreign country, maritime law governs the waivers you signed, and that form will not prevent you from holding a company responsible when an injury does occur. Unlike traditional land-based tort law, a cruise line company may not contract away their responsibility for any negligence that results in injury to their passengers. This important legal nuance is just one of many reasons why it is important to hire an attorney who specializes in maritime law and knows how to navigate your claim to a successful recovery.
DOCUMENT AND RECORD EVERYTHING:
Do not rely on the cruise ship’s staff to record all the information you provide to them. Document and record as many details as possible and keep the record in your possession. Important details should include where the accident took place, how the accident happened, if any cruise ship employees were a cause of the incident, and names and room numbers of any witnesses. Additionally, document the injuries that occurred, how injuries occurred, and the medical treatment or advice you received. This documentation can help you later on when you may be asked to remember details that would otherwise be easily forgotten. Your recorded account of details surrounding the accident will be especially helpful if and when legal action is taken, especially if the cruise ship company offers a conflicting set of facts.
WHEN CRUISE SHIPS HEAR THE WORD INJURY, THEY ARE PREPARING FOR LITIGATION:
Once you or a loved one become injured on a cruise ship, it is extremely important to remember that all the actions taken by the crew will be under the assumption of subsequent litigation. Because of this assumption, the standard procedures and reports that the company generates may not be executed with your best interests in mind. The cruise ship staff will tell you that a through investigation is being conducted, but they will not tell you that the investigation is being conducted in a manner which will later benefit the company and assist their defense to any possible claims against them. While the staff may be genuinely sympathetic to your situation, they are also required to supply the company with facts that may later be used against you during legal proceedings.
CONTACT A MARITIME LAWYER IMMEDIATELY – YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE:
Regardless of how bad the injury was or who you think is at fault, it is important, and in your best interest, to contact a maritime attorney quickly. For absolutely no cost, our experienced maritime attorneys will take the time to listen to your story, review any documents you have, and provide you with a summary of your legal options along with an estimate of how much compensation is available to you. It does not matter where you are located, the Law office of Neil T. Lindquist provides this free service for anyone. Do not make the mistake of hiring a personal injury lawyer who does not regularly practice maritime law, YOU NEED A SKILLED PROFESSIONAL.
If you or someone you know has been injured on a cruise ship or any passenger vessel, do not forget to call The Law Office of Neil T. Lindquist at (425)-372-7799.
Free Injury Consultation
If you or a loved one were injured in a maritime accident, we can connect you to lawyers for a free consultation about compensation that may be available to you.