Finally having time away from the stresses of work and the grind of daily life is what many people look forward to. Whether you’re enjoying time off with family or are enjoying new experiences by yourself, a cruise is a luxurious and unique getaway. Accidents happen, though, and they don’t care if you’re on vacation or not.
There are unique laws if you or a loved one are injured while on a cruise ship. Personal injury claims will fall under the regulations of maritime law, not the typical laws of the land. These are a few of the ways you can advocate for yourself after an injury on the water.
The first steps you should take
It is important to know that even if you signed an assumption of risk form before partaking in a potentially dangerous activity like a rock wall or zip line, that does not take away your chance at compensation. Maritime law does not allow the cruise company to contract away their responsibility for negligence.
Report the accident
First thing’s first after an accident, report your injury. Find a staff member and ask to see their supervisor so you may give an incident report. You will need a record of the incident on the books.
Watch your words and writing
You may still be full of adrenaline or in a considerable amount of pain after the accident. The cruise line may push you to give a statement immediately in hopes you will leave something out. Take a few extra minutes to clearly remember what happened and get down all the important facts.
Don’t assume positive motive
Remember that individual employees of the cruise line may be sympathetic to your injury, but on a greater scale, the company will want to pay out as little insurance money as possible. Being overly friendly in hopes of diminishing your injuries or offering free entertainment are ways they may try to undercut your settlement – don’t fall for it.
Take time to speak to other passengers who witnessed your accident or even employees. Recording their basic contact information and a quick report of what they saw could be a major help if you pursue a claim later.
Speak to an attorney
You will typically have a 6-month window to assert a claim against the cruise company. This means you should speak with an experienced maritime attorney as soon as possible when you leave the ship. They will help you get the resources you need to cover medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other expenses.
Suffering an injury due to the negligence of another can be a tangled web on its own. The accident occurring on the ocean and falling under maritime law is yet another wrinkle but following these steps can help smooth out the first few hours.