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Important Facts for Passengers Injured During Cruises [Part I]

While many families are counting the days until they depart on an exciting cruise, vacations at sea involve exposure to potential hazards that can cause permanent life-altering injuries.  If you suffer a serious injury like paralysis or brain damage, the legal obstacles and challenges involved in pursuing compensation can be much more complicated than those faced in a typical slip and fall or rear-ender.  Summertime has arrived, which means school is out and parents are getting ready to depart on their big family trip.  While no one expects to suffer a significant cruise ship injury, cruise passengers do experience accidents and violent crimes.  This two-part blog post provides an overview of information relevant to cruise ship accidents, injuries, and legal claims.

What safety steps can a passenger take to reduce the risk of injury during a cruise?

While many of the steps to avoid being injured on a cruise ship might be similar to appropriate safety precautions during a stay at a resort or hotel, a cruise ship presents certain unique risks.  Rough seas, for example, occasionally results in a passenger being cast overboard.  Some basic safety steps might include:

  • Review safety materials and brochures that are made available in your cabin and other locations on the ship
  • Consumption of alcohol should be moderate, and caution should be exercised when walking around the ship after drinking
  • Comply with any directions from the staff regarding wearing a life vest
  • Pay attention to the instructions issued by the crew of the ship before the ship embarks on its journey and during the cruise.
  • Do not venture too close to the cruise ship’s guard rails and keep kids a safe distance from the guard rails
  • Avoid walking around the ship when experiencing harsh weather and rough waters

What steps should I take in the aftermath of a fall, recreational accident, or near drowning?

The actions you take in the immediate wake of suffering an injury in an accident on a cruise ship can impact your prognosis and the prospect of a legal claim for compensation.  Prudent post-accident steps include:

  • Obtaining immediate medical attention from the ship’s doctor
  • Following up by visiting a medical facility with more elaborate diagnostic tools after reaching port
  • Keeping your passenger ticket and other documentation provided by the cruise line because the forms will include purported disclaimers and limitations regarding your legal rights
  • Preserving any documents that are given by staff, such as an accident report
  • Getting contact information for any witnesses as well as any documents related to your injuries
  • Seeking legal advice from an attorney experienced in handling cruise injury claims

Will an injured passenger need to return to Miami to bring a legal claim for monetary recovery?

The vast majority of cruise lines include provisions in their passenger ticket contract that requires lawsuits to be filed in United States Federal Court in Miami.  While our attorneys often can handle most court appearances and other ancillary matters, injured passengers might need to return to Miami on one or more occasions.  While a plaintiff would need to appear at trial, most cruise accident lawsuits settle without a trial.  A passenger might still be required to return to Miami to participate in a deposition and/or mediation.  However, sometimes we can use video conferencing technology to minimize the times that clients need to return to Miami.

Greenberg Stone and Urbano:  Seeking the Fullest Measure of Compensation for our Cruise Ship Injury Victims in Florida

If you experience injury because of the negligent or intentional conduct of a cruise line or ship employees during your vacation, our Florida Maritime Accident Injury Lawyers at Greenberg Stone and Urbano tenaciously pursue the maximum monetary recovery for our clients.  For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our skill and dedication has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.


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