The time you spend on a cruise ship should be relaxing and give you a break from daily life. However, a substantial amount of cruise ship injuries are reported every year. While any personal injury (or workplace injury, if you are a cruise ship employee) should be tended to immediately, circumstances are different on a cruise ship. These types of injuries often have a different statute of limitations and reporting requirements, which is why it is important to get in touch with a maritime law attorney right away.
To discuss your cruise ship injury and compensation options, call Fuquay Law Firm at 251-219-0329 to set up a consultation.
Risks You Face on a Cruise Ship
Cruise ships offer ramped-up versions of many of the amenities people enjoy on land, but without the safety of fully equipped hospitals just a short drive away. With the free-flowing food and alcohol, mistakes are easy to make and injuries often follow. Some of the injuries you may suffer aboard a cruise ship include:
- Slips and falls
- Swimming pool accidents or injuries
- Sexual assault
- Food poisoning
- Athletic injuries
How Cruise Ship Injuries Happen
Cruise ship injuries happen in a variety of ways. Rough weather may cause the boat to shift suddenly, throwing people against each other or into walls. A boat may strike another boat or a fixed object, causing serious whiplash and other injuries to occupants.
Drowning is an ever-present risk on a boat, especially for travelers who may be inexperienced swimmers. Other potential risks include falls, food poisoning, Legionnaire’s Disease, unsafe or poorly maintained stairwells, and obstacles that create hazardous walkways. However, there is another category of cruise ship injuries to consider: those that are not accidental, but the result of malice.
What Happens When an Injury Isn’t Accidental?
Anywhere people gather, there’s a risk of physical or sexual assault. This is especially true in a cruise ship environment, where people are stuck in tight quarters and given unlimited access to alcohol. When someone drinks a little too much and gets a little too rowdy, it’s all too common for a fight to break out. If this occurs and someone becomes seriously injured, they may be entitled to compensation.
The same is true with regard to sexual assault. Unfortunately, sexual assault is incredibly common among cruise ships. Both travelers and crew members can be the victims, and both travelers and crew members can be perpetrators. In any case, the owner of the vessel and the cruise business have an obligation to keep everyone aboard safe. While there have been significant measures implemented to drive down the risk of assault, reports indicate this is still a serious problem aboard most boats.
What Should You Do When Injured on a Cruise Ship?
- Get Checked Out as Soon as Possible
After any personal injury, it is crucial that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. This creates a direct link between the accident you were in and the injuries you sustained. Make sure you get copies of any medical reports you receive and ask for follow-up instructions. Depending on the severity of the injuries, you may be able to get all the care you need onboard or you may have to leave the ship for more extensive treatment.
- Report the Accident Promptly
You must report the accident to management as soon as possible. This will often happen once you seek medical treatment, as they need to follow strict protocols to figure out exactly what happened and what their obligations are. When reporting the accident, request a copy of their security guide. This contains more information about who to report injuries to and what to do if your injuries were caused by criminal activity—for example, an injury cause by an assault versus one caused by a slip and fall.
- Be Careful What You Say or Sign
The people you report your injuries to may ask you to sign paperwork or documentation about your injuries. Read everything carefully before you sign, and make sure that you don’t sign anything that waives your right to file a lawsuit or seek compensation. They may try to rush you through the paperwork instead of letting you read it but stand your ground and refuse to sign it until you have read it in full. Ask for copies of anything you sign.
- Collect Evidence and Make Copies
Evidence is essential in a personal injury case, so gather as much as possible. It is often helpful to enlist a friend or family member during this step, particularly if you have to receive medical treatment.
Take pictures of the scene of the accident and of your injuries. Get video footage of the area, including any identifying details and items that factored into your injury. If any stopped to help you after your injury or stated that they saw the accident happen, make sure you get their contact information.
Make backup copies of any evidence you have.
- Hire a Maritime Law Attorney
It is important that you work with a personal injury attorney with substantial experience in maritime law, rather than a general personal injury lawyer without experience in cruise ship injury cases. Cruise ships are subject to different laws than injuries that occur on land, and without the proper legal representation, you could lose your chance to seek compensation. When you choose an attorney, bring copies of all your evidence and be ready to move quickly on your claim or lawsuit. You may have to file promptly to avoid missing the deadline.
Turn to Fuquay Law Firm During This Challenging Time
If you or someone you love has been injured on a cruise ship, take this opportunity to find an attorney who will guide you through this process. The team at Fuquay Law Firm has substantial experience in maritime injury cases, and they’re here to help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Set up a consultation now by contacting us online or calling us at 251-219-0329.