Going on a cruise should be an exciting adventure, but cruise ship accidents happen. Find out here the seven smart things to do if you’re injured at sea.

Imagine sunning yourself on the deck while a waitress brings you a delicious fruity drink so you can sip and drift your cares away.

The cruise business is a huge one, and millions of tourists find themselves hopping on these humongous boats to head to various destinations all over the world every year.

But what should you do if you’re one of the unlucky people who experience cruise ship accidents? Here are five things you should do in the rare event that you or your family becomes injured at sea.

1. Remember the Details and Don’t Panic

Just like many other scary situations, it’s best to remain calm if you’ve been injured on a cruise ship. Each ship has specially trained medical staff available to treat you and ensure that you’re going to be OK.

All boats must abide by the International Maritime Organization, which means every cruise line must have procedures already set in place. Your job will be to recount exactly what happened so it can be documented.

Once things have calmed down, make sure you inform the staff of where you are, when it happened, exactly what occurred. Much like a vehicle accident, people will be counting on you to recount the minute details for your benefit and for insurance purposes.

2. Know Your Rights

From waterslides to swimming and “virtual surfing,” there’s plenty to do on a cruise ship that can cause you to get injured. Most cruise lines will have their passengers sign a form called an “assumption of risk.”

This form basically states that you are aware of the potential risks that come with slipping down a huge waterslide or playing volleyball with strangers. But it doesn’t mean that the cruise line is absolved from all of their responsibilities.

If your injury is caused by negligence, the law states that the cruise line is still held responsible. You’ll have to prove that your injury was a result of their negligence, but this means that the cruise line is not always going to get off scot-free when injuries occur.

3. Be Accurate about Cruise Ship Accidents

In most cases, cruise line employees (including the captain) are going to want to get a statement from you as soon as the injury occurred. For most people, they are not really focusing on the details right after they’ve been hurt.

If you feel you cannot make a detailed, accurate statement about what happened, let staff members know you will need some time before you can write everything down. Don’t let personnel try to coax you into making an official statement before you’ve even been medically treated.

Don’t let others write your statement for you, either. Instead, once everything has calmed down, be brief but factual and make sure you include every detail possible.

4. Get Backup

Suffering an accident on a cruise ship is similar to that of a car accident. You’ll need as much information as possible to back up your claims in regard to what happened.

Take photographs of your injuries as well as the location where you got hurt. If needed, take pictures of any equipment you were using and anything you feel was faulty that could have caused the injury.

Once you make your official statement, demand to get a copy. Many cruise lines won’t offer you one voluntarily, but it’s your right to have a copy of your own personal statement for your records.

You may need to consider hiring a Fort Lauderdale cruise ship injury attorney or other injury attorneys to help you fight in court. 

5. Be Your Own Investigator

Unfortunately, you cannot rely solely on the cruise line to conduct a fair and thorough investigation if you’ve been injured. In these cases, you will need to become your own advocate. 

Here are some things you can do to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve and/or a fair review of what happened:

  • When possible, get witness statements. Witnesses can be anyone from fellow cruise passengers to lifeguards and waiters. The more information you can get from outside sources who saw what happened, the better your case will be.
  • Include photographs of your injury, the location, and anything that you feel helped to cause or contribute to your injury. An example would be a wet walkway or a broken waterslide.
  • Ask for the names and contact information of all cruise line staff who were involved in assisting you. This could be the medical staff who treated you, the lifeguard on duty who saw you get hurt, or any other staff members who helped you fill out forms and conduct interviews.

When you gather as much information as you can including witness statements, you’ll have a much better chance of explaining what actually happened when you got hurt.

Remember that the cruise line is there to protect their own best interest, so getting accurate and timely information can often be a hassle. You must be proactive in making your case that your injury was a result of their negligence.

Stay Diligent While Having Fun

Remember that cruise ship accidents can happen, but they don’t have to become a complete damper on your vacation. Practice some common sense safety rules and be aware of the potential pitfalls.

By being your own advocate and gathering any details, you can handle whatever comes your way while you’re out on the high seas. Don’t let the potential for an injury get in the way of your amazing time.

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