You have researched, compared, and booked your cruise vacation. You have excitedly planned what you will do and see in your various ports of call. Unfortunately, your trip is ruined by an injury you suffer on the vacation of your dreams. Is the injury your fault or is it due to the negligence of the cruise line?
Figuring this out, as well as who is responsible and what you need to know to file a claim against the cruise line, can be baffling at best. Here is some information to help you.
What Types of Injuries Occur?
When you combine thousands of people in a small moving space and add alcohol consumption, large amounts of food prep, swimming pools, waterslides, and other water-related activities, accidents are bound to happen. Some common cruise ship accidents and injuries include:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Waterpark and swimming pool accidents
- Food poisoning
- Physical assaults
- Sexual assaults
Injuries are more common than you may be aware of and often go unreported. While you may think that the injury you incur is your fault, it may actually be the fault of the cruise line.
How Do You Prove Negligence?
In order to prove that the cruise line is responsible for your injury, you must be able to show that they were negligent in their duties and that they failed to protect you and other passengers by providing reasonable care.
You must prove that your injury was a result of actions or inactions on their part. For example, if you suffered a slip and fall on the deck due to it being wet, in order to establish negligence you may have to be able to show at least one of the following:
- The wetness was in an unexpected area.
- The cruise line was aware of the wetness and failed to clean it up in a reasonable time period.
- The risk of the deck being wet was not posted.
- The fall was caused by poor lighting in the area or some other similar issue.
You need to immediately report your fall to proper authorities aboard the ship, fill out the required paperwork, and seek medical care.
How Do You Document Your Injuries?
If possible, document the area with pictures as quickly as you can — preferably before the area is cleaned up by the cruise line. Make sure that you collect written witness statements from any other passengers who witnessed your injury and obtain copies of any documentation that you fill out or that is generated with the cruise line.
How Long Do You Have to File Your Case?
When you book your cruise, the cruise company provides you with a wealth of information in the documentation you receive either online or by hard copy. Included in this information is the statute of limitations, as well as the requirements that your particular cruise line has in order for you to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Many cruise lines require that adult injury cases be filed within a year of the injury and that child injury cases be filed within three years. But your cruise line may have shorter periods of time or other reporting requirements prior to you filing suit. This information should be outlined on the back of your ticket or within your pre-boarding documentation.
Filing a personal injury lawsuit for cruise line injuries is often more difficult than filing for other types of personal injury lawsuits. These types of cases are often dictated by a combination of maritime and personal injury law.
Fortunately, at Ringsmuth Wuori PLLC, we have experience in handling these types of cases. Give us a call so we can help you evaluate your case and obtain the settlement you deserve.