Each year, at least 30 million people embark on cruise vacations.
Cruise passengers board their ships anticipating adventure and luxury. Few anticipate cruise ship injuries.
Unfortunately, though, accidents and incidents are quite common. One study of a single ship found a total of 663 injuries over a three-year period. Even more alarming, at least 12.5% of these injuries were considered serious.
These frightening statistics mean that preparing for a trip must involve creating a plan for dealing with injury and illness.
Read on to learn what you should do if you’re injured on a cruise ship.
What Are the Biggest Cruise Ship Safety Concerns?
Cruise ship safety concerns include accidents, incidents, and illnesses. The most common are:
- Loss of power, which can leave a ship adrift at sea
- Fire, collision, sinking, or running aground
- Evacuations following any of the above accidents
- Virus outbreaks
- Improper sanitation
- Plumbing issues, such as overflowing toilets
- Crime, including theft and sexual assault
What to Do After Accidents and Incidents on a Cruise Ship
If you are injured in a cruise accident, your immediate safety is your primary concern. However, you must also protect your legal rights.
The follow tips will allow you to do both.
Seek Medical Help on Board
You should seek first aid from the ship’s infirmary as soon as possible after any incident.
This is true regardless of how seriously you think you have been injured. In fact, the effects of some injuries may not be immediately apparent. If they arise later, however, cruise ship companies may use your failure to seek care as grounds to dismiss any claim you make against them.
When you visit the ship’s infirmary, you should be prepared to pay for its services. Don’t let these costs dissuade you. They will likely be reimbursed later if the cruise ship’s negligence played a role in the accident.
Indeed, some unscrupulous cruise companies use exorbitant fees to discourage passengers from seeking treatment.
Follow Proper Passenger Accident Reporting Protocols
Besides seeking medical care, you should also make a passenger injury report. This report should trigger a shipboard investigation.
If your injury requires more than basic first-aid, the cruise ship itself is mandated to begin this process. If it does not, contact the ship’s security or safety officer.
In making your report, provide as many factual details as you can. At the same time, avoid assigning or accepting blame.
Be wary, too, of any questions asking what you could have done to prevent the injury. You do not need to answer these questions. In fact, they are designed to protect the cruise ship from liability.
Obtain Copies of Your Medical Records, Passenger Injury Statement, and Other Documents
Your visit to the ship’s infirmary provides essential medical care. It also lets you document your injury. It’s essential, therefore, to get copies of this documentation before leaving the ship.
If you require ongoing care at home, your doctor will need to know your initial diagnosis and treatment.
You will also need these records to pursue any legal claims against the cruise line.
Take Pictures and Video
Beyond the cruise ship’s investigation, you should conduct as much of your own investigation as you can. This means documenting conditions on the cruise ship with photos and video. The same documentation can preserve details of your injuries.
Get the Names of Witnesses
Bystanders can provide an additional, third-party perspective on cruise ship accidents and incidents. Before leaving the ship, be sure to secure the names and contact information of anyone who witnessed your accident.
Contact a Cruise Injury Lawyer
Reputable attorneys are experienced with cruise ship lawsuits. They are committed to protecting your rights. When a cruise ship’s negligence contributed to your injury, they’ll seek justice.
With the tips above, you’ll have the information your lawyer needs to make a solid legal claim.
Protecting Your Safety and Your Rights at Sea
For many people, a cruise is the vacation of their dreams. Unfortunately, accidents and incidents transform some of these dreams into nightmares.
Protecting yourself at sea means being prepared and following the steps above.
Whether at sea or on land, count on our blog for all the information you need. Check out the rest of our content today!