Under 556 passenger ships, there have been a total of 3,527 accident and incident reports.
Although a cruise ship accident sounds rare, they happen and can cause serious injuries or illnesses. In a state like Florida where cruise ships are often coming in and out, it is important to know what to do if an accident occurs.
Read on to learn what to do if you were involved in an accident on a cruise line.
Report the Cruise Ship Accident
Every cruise line must develop safety management systems because they operate under the International Maritime Organization rules. Part of the system is an accident investigation and reporting mechanism.
When a passenger has been in a cruise ship accident, there must be a procedure in place. After reporting the accident through this program, check to ensure there is an accident document.
There should be a medical office on the cruise ship for those that have been injured. This is usually the place where you can report your accident to get an investigation started.
Understand Your Rights
If you were injured on a cruise ship due to one of the activities on the ship, you need to understand your rights. This is especially true if you signed an Assumption of Risk form before the injury. A form like this could release the ship from liability when someone gets injured.
An experienced maritime attorney is essential to have on your side if you signed a released form. These professionals determine the impact it can have on the claim.
If your accident occurred because of something other than an activity, the ship form may not hold up. For example, if you have an elevator or escalator accident, got struck by an object, were hurt due to a ship fire, or you slipped and fell the ship may still be liable.
Treat Your Injuries
When you go to the medical office on a cruise ship, you should be welcomed by one doctor and some nurses. Cruise lines also hire limited pharmaceuticals to treat conditions that aren’t listed as emergencies. Pharmacies on board can also prescribe prescription medicine if some have been left behind.
Those that have serious injuries or illnesses may have to stay in the inpatient care medical center on the cruise ship for a night or two. When needed, patients may need to evacuate the cruise ship. This tends to be a rare instance.
Even if your injury is mild, you should have it treated. Treatment helps prevent complications down the line. It will also ensure the accident is reported and you can receive a copy of the document.
Watch What You Say
Be mindful of who contributes to the accident reports. The cruise line is not the only person asked about the accident. Ship employees will investigate the accident by first talking to the medical staff.
Saying it was your own fault or the injury is not serious is a big no-no. Even if your injury does not seem serious, it does not mean down the line it won’t get worse. Be honest about your pain and watch what you say when you are unsure how you’ll heal.
With cruise ship treatment, you should be good as new when you leave the ship. However, if you want to make a future claim, you’ll now have a detailed statement about the incident that occurred.
Consider Refusing to Make a Statement
If you were involved in a cruise ship accident, they may ask you to make a written statement to keep for records. You can refuse to make a statement if you aren’t feeling well or are in too much pain.
Don’t tell the person you are traveling with that they can make a statement on your behalf. Even if they saw the accident happen, this is not a good idea. As a witness, they can write their own statement.
If the cruise line won’t take no for an answer, keep your statement brief. You should describe how you are feeling and explain how the cruise ship is responsible.
Keep an Eye on the Investigation
An investigation is completed to protect you and the cruise line. They assume you are going to sue them for injury or illness so they want to collect information to use as their defense.
This doesn’t mean you are deceiving them about your intentions. Keeping an eye on the investigation is just to prevent the cruise line from misinterpreting what happened and how they played a part in the injury.
It is also a good idea to complete your own investigation. Because there are so many passengers on a cruise ship, at least one person likely witnessed your accident.
Collect witness names and contact information for use later on. Collect photographs as well that display the location of the injury and your injuries themselves.
Don’t Use Social Media
In the world of technology, it is often that something happens to someone and they run to social media to tell their friends. It’s a good idea to avoid the temptation of telling everyone online. You also shouldn’t post pictures having a good time after the injury happened.
An insurance company will look at your comments on social media to see if you share details about the accident. Information on social media is not safe, including telling your family and friends that you are okay and the injuries are minor. An attorney and insurance company on the other side often look on social media first.
Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
After a cruise ship accident, you should speak to an attorney that understands maritime law. During your consultation, bring the evidence you collected including the accident reports from the cruise ship. Since maritime law is a complex area, you may not know that you actually have a case against a cruise line.
If you’ve been injured on a cruise ship and need guidance to go through with a claim, The Dawson Law Firm is here to help! Contact us today to speak with a professional lawyer.