Cruise ship vacations are supposed to be fun, adventurous and exciting. However, the fun and excitement can turn tragic quickly when someone is seriously injured on a cruise ship. When you are injured on a cruise you have a potential maritime law case. Maritime law is very, very different from state law. There are different rules and procedures under maritime law. Here is a "to do" list for passengers injured aboard a cruise ship.
1. Report the Injury
Immediately report in writing the incident to the security department on the cruise ship. The report should be brief. It should state the basics:
a. Where aboard the vessel the injury occurred.
b. The time and date it occurred.
c. A brief description of what occurred. (Usually less is more. "Slipped down stairs.")
2. Get a copy of your written report.
You should politely insist on receiving a copy of the written report. If that is not possible, pull out your camera and take a few photographs of the written report.
3. Document the Scene
Be sure to take photographs of the scene of the incident before it changes, if possible. Even if the scene has changed, still take photographs. You should take photographs from different angles. Generally, you can't take too many photographs.
4. Get witness information
Write down the name, address, and telephone number of each person who is a witness to the incident. This is very, very important. You will need these witnesses to prove your case.
5. Do not give a recorded statement
You are under no obligation to provide any recorded or written statement. Politely refuse to provide any recorded or written statement.
6. Go to the Ship's Doctor
Go to the ship's doctor to get treatment for your injury. However, remember that most ship's doctors are not licensed to practice medicine in the United States. Don't expect good or decent treatment while aboard the vessel. And remember, the ship is not liable if the ship's doctor commits medical malpractice.
7. Document your Injuries
Take photographs to document you injuries. If you have swelling or bruising, you need to take photographs.
8. Get Adequate Medical Treatment
If necessary, go to a shore side doctor at the next port of call. This might mean you leaving the vessel to return to the United States as soon as possible. You should never agree to surgery in a third world country. If at all possible get to a state-side hospital at all costs.
9. Contact an experienced maritime attorney
Contact an experienced maritime attorney to discuss the incident as soon as possible.
10. Keep and Read Your Ticket
Under maritime law, the cruise ticket can limit the time you have to file your lawsuit. Additionally, the ticket can control where you need to file you lawsuit. Be sure to keep the ticket. This is why you should not delay in seeing an experienced maritime lawyer if you are seriously injured on a cruise ship.
Following this checklist it will help you win your potential cruise ship case. If you are seriously injured on a cruise ship the last thing you want to do is hire an auto accident lawyer or a slip and fall lawyer. Instead, you need a lawyer that specializes in maritime law.
Asking For Money Damages
If you are asking for money damages in court your credibility is always at issue. Never misrepresent, fudge and/or exaggerate your case or your injuries. You always must tell the truth. You won't get any "do-overs" in your court case. If the jury believes you have lied to them, you will lose. Be sure to hire an attorney that will present your maritime case honestly.
The foregoing is a cruise ship injury checklist discussion. It is not legal advice. Any resemblance to actual events, persons and/or vessels is purely coincidental. I am simplistic in order to achieve clarity. Each cruise ship injury case is different and has separate challenges, difficulties and/or nuances. If you or a family member is seriously injured or killed on a cruise ship you should consult a maritime lawyer.