1. Seek Immediate Medical Care
First things first, seek immediate medical care. Most cruise ships have an onboard medical center available for passengers and crew 24 hours a day. They are equipped with doctors and nurses and a variety of diagnostic medical devices like X-rays, TPA and blood and urine laboratories.
2. Provide Medical Staff With Accurate Medical History
Provide the medical staff with accurate, honest, and clear medical history. The notes they take become part of your medical-legal record and will be used in your case. We have found that some of the questions asked and notes taken by some ship’s doctors are purposely designed to be used in litigation-rather than for a medical diagnosis.
3. Return to the Scene of Your Accident
Once and if your medical condition is appropriately stabilized-try to return to the scene of your accident. Most commonly we investigate slip and fall cases that occur near swimming pools, spas, and on staircases. Try take photographs and video of where you fell then immediately upload the video to a cloud based storage facility such as iCloud or YouTube and mark the video private. You want to do this incase you lose or damage your phone. The photographs you take will become valuable evidence in your case.
4. Get Names and Addresses of Witnesses
If you can, without harassing fellow passengers, get names and addresses of witnesses to your fall and the conditions that caused you to get injured. Cruise lines know the names, phone numbers and addresses of everyone on the ship and will not hesitate to call upon them to assist in the defense of your claim. If you have a witness, ask them for their contact information.
5. Save Footwear Worn During the Cruise Ship Accident
If your case involves a slip, trip, or fall – stop wearing the shoes, (usually flip flops) that you had on at the time of the fall. Simply put them in a ziplock bag and do not dispose of them. Your shoes will become valuable evidence in your claim and cruise ship accident defense lawyers routinely request that our clients produce the shoes they were wearing at the time of the fall for examination. If the shoes have excessive wear and tear – it can be argued that they were in part the reason for your fall.
6. Document Your Experience
Take pictures of any bruising, cuts, lacerations. Document everything in a journal or dictate into your phone the name and title of any crew members you speak with. Cruise lines begin defending your potential case the minute they become aware of your fall and injury. It is very common for a member of the ship’s security crew to ask you to return to the scene and recreate how you fell – while they take photographs, measurements and make detailed notes. They often will ask you to sign a “Passenger Injury Statement Form.” If you decide to do this be completely honest, accurate and detailed in the description of what and why it happened. Do not make up facts or provide incorrect information as these seemingly innocent forms will be used against you when you make your claim. Ask for a copy of anything you sign.
7. Stop Posting on Social Media
Carnival, for example, routinely will monitor the social media accounts of claimants. Anything you post after and even before your incident is fair game and discoverable in your lawsuit.