I had the pleasure of working with my fifteen-year-old son Nory over his holiday break this year. As our law clerk, he had the chance to sit through hours of our client conferences, as well depositions of cruise line representatives and court hearings. We discussed a number of the things he learned about what people should do after they are involved in a slip, trip, or fall accident while on a cruise ship. And I could not agree with him more, here is our list of the top three things you need to know if you get hurt while on a cruise.
1. MEDICAL ATTENTION
If you are injured while on a cruise, it is important to seek immediate medical care. Most major cruise lines have medical doctors on board their ships that can provide some diagnosis and treatment of minor to moderate injuries. Cruise ships do not have full emergency rooms, which means that seriously injured passengers have to be disembarked and taken to shoreside facilities. We have found that the shipboard physicians are not very well trained or skilled in diagnosing injuries and strongly recommend that you seek an independent medical consultation as soon as possible.
Also, bear in mind, that cruise ship doctors and nurses work for the cruise line and anything you tell them about how, when, and where you’re incident occurred will find its way into your medical records or will be discussed with ship’s security officers. Additionally, the documents you fill out and sign in the medical center will become evidence in your claim. For example, Carnival uses a document they call the Passenger Injury Statement. Many of our clients believe this is simply a form to assist the Medical Center in its diagnosis and treatment, while in reality it will be used by the cruise line against the injured passenger who later makes a claim – especially if there are any inconsistencies between how the accident is described in the document versus later on in the course of litigation.
2. PHOTOGRAPH THE SCENE
Nory is right again. Getting pictures of where you fell, as soon as possible can provide our cruise ship injury lawyers with invaluable information in understanding, how, when, where, and why your accident occurred. Many people think that all they have to prove is that an accident occurred, in order to have a successfully maritime personal injury claim against the cruise line. Sadly, this is incorrect. Under Federal Maritime Law, the injured passenger generally has to prove that the cruise line knew or should have known of the dangerous condition, such as a spill, worn out steps, poor lighting, or slick deck before the fall occurred. Under the law, this knowledge is often referred to as “legal notice”. And most cruise lines either don’t have or don’t preserve their CCTV footage long enough for anyone to be able to prove how long an unreasonably dangerous condition existed, if at all before the accident occurred.
Taking photographs, getting witness names and addresses, including crew members, may be the only way to prove a cruise ship accident case. Without this evidence, the injured passengers claim will most likely be dismissed in Federal Court.
3. CALL ARONFELD TRIAL LAWYERS TODAY
While I appreciate my son’s plug and confidence in our firm, the real message is the importance of consulting with an experienced maritime injury attorney as soon as possible. Cases against the major cruise lines for personal injuries for slip and falls, trip and falls, sexual assault on board the ship, on tenders, in port and on excursions are complicated and aggressively defended by the cruise industry.
If you have been involved in a cruise ship accident, call our office today for a free legal consultation. We are available 24/7 by telephone 1-866-597-4529, local 305-441-0440, or email. We are passionate about holding cruise lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Norwegian, Disney, Holland America, Princesses, Regents Seven Seas, and Oceania accountable when they put their profits ahead of passenger safety. Contact us today, we are ready to help. And again, a special thank you to Nory Aronfeld for his hard work as our law clerk.