Shore excursions are often the highlight of a cruise, and ports of call offer a chance to disembark, sightsee, and take in the local culture. Shore excursions can also be dangerous and unpredictable, so tragedies can (and do) happen.
Take three North Texans, for instance, who were recently killed in two separate traffic crashes while on shore excursions on the same cruise. Multiple family members were involved in both crashes, and surviving family members sustained critical injuries.
Unfortunately, shore excursion accidents are actually relatively common during cruises. If you’ll be embarking on a holiday cruise this season, it’s important to know what to do in the event of a shore excursion accident.
First, the most common shore excursion accidents…
Common Shore Excursion Accidents
Dangerous local conditions or participation on-shore excursion activities are what often lead to the most prevalent injuries. Common shore excursion accidents and injuries include:
- Traffic accidents
- Snorkeling or diving activities
- Zipline activities
- Rock climbing and hiking
Injuries from these accidents can range from mild cuts and bruises to life-threatening or even fatal injuries. Knowing what to do before they happen can mean the difference between making it home safely.
What to Do If You’re Injured on a Shore Excursion
If you’re injured in a shore excursion, the first and foremost priority is your safety. That said, depending on your locale, seeking quality emergency medical attention could be problematic.
Seek Quality Medical Attention
If you feel that you won’t be able to find good medical care ashore, you might need to return to the ship. Medical personnel on the cruise ship must be board-certified in emergency medicine, family medicine or internal medicine, or have at least three years of postgraduate experience.
Record as Much Information as You Can
If you’re able, record as much information as possible at the scene of the accident. Take pictures if possible, and take down the name and contact information of any witnesses. As soon as you have a chance, write a date-stamped account of what happened.
Hang on to Any Documentation
Keep all medical records and receipts when you seek treatment for your injuries, and any pay stubs or other documents demonstrating lost wages or paid time off.
Liability for Shore Excursion Injuries
The reason it’s so important to document every aspect of your accident is that determining liability for a sure excursion injury can be a complex endeavor. It often requires expert help from a cruise ship accident lawyer.
For example, you will need to determine whether the shore excursion provider can be sued in the United States. This will depend on the locale in which you were injured.
In some cases, you may still be able to hold the cruise line accountable, particularly if the shore excursion was sponsored by the cruise line, or if the cruise line should have reasonably known about a hazard inherent to the port of call.
For example, if theft or muggings are a common occurrence in a particular port and the cruise line fails to warn passengers of the hazard, this could be considered negligence on the part of the cruise line in some cases.
In most cases, you’ll be subject to a one-year statute of limitations, meaning that you’ll need to file suit within one year of the date of the accident.
These are just a couple of examples of the complications you may have filing a claim against an international cruise line. If you’re injured on a cruise ship excursion, protect your safety first, and your ability to seek damages second.
We wish you happy cruising your holiday cruise this year, but in the event that doesn’t happen, reach out to an experienced cruise ship accident attorney for advice as soon as you get home.
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, 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 2011-2017 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – and was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite” and as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015, 2016, and 2017.