One of the most exciting things about cruising is exploring ports all over the world. Cruise lines promote shore excursions for guests to go on at all ports of call, allowing for a little adventure. It’s not uncommon to see shore excursions such as horseback riding, parasailing, walking tours, zip-lining, snorkeling, or hiking offered.
However, it’s important to understand that these excursions have their risks. Accidents and injuries can and do happen on shore excursions, and there are several factors that contribute to them. It could simply be an accident, or it could be negligence on behalf of the shore excursion company, cruise line – or both.
What are the most common causes of shore excursion accidents and what should you do if you’re injured on one? Read on to find out.
Shore Excursion Injuries
As with any activity, accidents and injuries can occur. Accidents when you’re traveling in a vehicle, climbing or hiking in remote places, zip-lining, riding on horseback, doing an activity in the ocean, or even riding on a train can lead to injuries. Some of the most common injuries include:
- Head injuries
- Internal injuries
- Spinal injuries
- Neck injuries
- Broken bones
- Wrongful death
Some injuries require only simple first aid, while some may lead to long-term and life-altering conditions that can stick around for years after the cruise has ended. It’s important to protect yourself when you’re injured during a shore excursion.
If you’re injured on your shore excursion, there are several steps you should take. They include:
Get Medical Treatment
First, you need to seek medical treatment as soon as you can after an accident. Your health has to be the number one priority, so seek help even if you believe your injury to only be minor.
You can return to the ship if you feel you will receive proper medical care there. No matter where you choose to go, make sure that even small injures are treated and documented.
Get Your Evidence Together
You never know what can happen in the wake of an injury, so protect yourself and reserve the right to seek damages down the road. Make sure to preserve and gather evidence of the accident.
Getting medical treatment is one way to do this, but you or someone in your party can also take photos or video to document the scene, get the names and contact information of any witnesses, staff, or medical professionals who treated you, and keep any medical bills you receive.
Gathering this type of evidence can help later if you decide to pursue compensation for your injuries.
Who Is At Fault?
Most cruise lines will try to say that the liability for shore excursion accidents lies totally with the shore excursion company, but that is not always the case. The situation isn’t always clear since cruise lines sell the excursions to their cruise passengers and profit from them. They know those who trust them for cruising also trust them to deal with only responsible and reputable shore excursion companies.
In some cases, it may be possible to hold the cruise line at least partially responsible for your injuries. It’s best to meet with an experienced cruise ship attorney to determine who is at fault in your case and who might owe you compensation for the accident.
How Do You Sue for a Shore Excursion Accident?
There are many issues involved in suing a cruise line for an injury sustained on a shore excursion. The most common issues the injured parties run into include:
Contracts entered into with shore excursion companies often include waivers that work to limit the liability of the cruise line as well as the company itself.
Cruises often take place internationally, so there can be issues with jurisdiction when trying to sue for an accident that occurred on a shore excursion. Plus, these claims often get tangled up in the complicated world of maritime law, which is why you must have an attorney working on your case.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations on shore excursion injuries can vary quite a lot. In most cases, you may only have one year to file a suit against the cruise line or shore excursion company, which is much shorter than other statutes of limitation for other types of accidents in the United States.
Cruises can offer so many different ways to see the world, including shore excursions. But remember to protect yourself should you become injured during an on-shore adventure, so that you can have legal options later.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and named one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators. Mr. Winston is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2020 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite,” recognized by Expertise as one of the 20 Best Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015-2017, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida for 2015-2017 and 2019.