When we imagine ourselves on a cruise, we picture enjoying a relaxing week on a ship with our loved ones. We don’t always consider that there might be danger or complications during our vacation, but maintaining your safety aboard a cruise ship is just as vital as it is anywhere else.
Unfortunately, vacations don’t always turn out as planned. If you experienced an injury or distress while aboard a cruise, you are likely wondering what to do next. Take a look below at some information you will need to know after you have been injured while on a cruise.
Understanding the International Maritime Organization
All cruise ships abide by the rules of the International Maritime Organization. These rules ensure that the cruise company is responsible for the integrity of the ship and the safety of its passengers during their time aboard. Part of the investigation conducted by the International Maritime Organization includes a thorough review of the events and the safety measures that were in place at the time of the accident.
To aid the International Maritime Organization in their investigation, you will need to provide your account of the situation. As the injured party, ensure that you report your incident early, so long as you are confident in your ability to retell the totality of the situation. If your injury prevents you from speaking or remembering completely, wait until you can communicate more clearly and then share information about the incident with the authorities aboard the ship. The sooner you can team up with a personal injury lawyer who handles cruise ship accidents, the better your documentation may be.
Monitor Your Written and Verbal Statements
If you are familiar with Miranda Rights, which state that “anything you say can and will be used against you,” then you already have an idea of how to approach your incident after it has been reported. Compiling evidence for your case will include your verbal account of the situation in the official report, but it will also include the record from the ship’s medical team.
It is in your best interest to limit any written or verbal communications about the injury to staff members of the cruise ship because they will be conducting their own investigation of the events. Any statement, verbal or written, can be used against you for any reason, so it is better not to risk any miscommunication and to keep all information confidential. The same rule applies to your family members or travel colleagues, as they should refrain from making statements about the incident entirely.
Risk Forms and Liability
There are many activities aboard a cruise ship that can result in injury, including large rock walls or even indulging in the buffet. Ocean liners have become insistent about gathering signatures on liability forms before guests can engage in risky activities like wave simulators or waterslides.
While these forms may seem intimidating, the International Maritime Organization does not allow any cruise ship to excuse themselves from responsibility if a passenger’s injury resulted from negligence.
Gather Your Research
Once you report your incident or injury, there is a possibility that the cruise line will want to proceed with litigation and fight your claim. They are worried that you will seek punitive damages from them, and they will do their best to gather information and statements that release them from liability. This is why it will be up to you or your attorney to gather the appropriate research for your case if it should reach court.
Start by taking statements from anyone who may have witnessed the incident, including their contact information and full name. Note the time of the incident and find out if any witnesses have photos or video that could be useful in the case. Be sure to take your own photographs and video of the scene as quickly as possible if you are able; if not, ask a loved one or bystander to record a visual aspect of the injury and the area. If a witness takes footage for you, ask them to send it to you or a friend immediately.
Speaking to other staff members on the ship will also provide you with more information and give you statements to reference in your case. You might learn from a long-time employee that the incident that occurred to you wasn’t unique. Ultimately, it is important to gather as much evidence of the incident as possible.
Bring Your Case to Authorities Immediately
There is a limited window in which cruise ship personal injury cases can be brought to court. You will only have six months to report your case and create a claim, and if you are looking to instigate a lawsuit, you are only given one year. These time frames are included in the fine print of your ticket, making it difficult for many passengers to seek justice for their injuries.
Once you have left the ship, seek medical treatment if necessary, and then reach out to an experienced attorney who can help you build your claim right away. When it comes to a case regarding your injury, there is no time to waste.
Get Help from Experienced Cruise Injury Attorneys in Florida
When you’re ready to get the justice you deserve, contact the attorneys at Baker Legal Team. Let our qualified group of personal injury experts in South Florida lead you through each stage of the legal process as we work with you to build your case.
When you work with the trusted attorneys at Baker Legal Team, you know you’re in good hands. Give us a call at (561) 599-6074 or contact us online today.