Most of us have a general idea about how to stay safe once you’ve set sail. Not to mention, every cruise line has a quick tutorial for all passengers before the ship even leaves the dock.
You know to follow safety guidelines, hold onto railings, and be cautious while in port in foreign countries. Still, there’s one potential cause for injury over which you have zero control: a crash. Yes, cruise ships can – and do – collide.
You likely heard that’s exactly what happened in Cozumel, Mexico in December.
When Cruise Ships Collide
Two Carnival Cruise ships ran into each other as they were pulling into port, resulting in six injured. The cruise giant claims that the impact was due to “spontaneous wind gusts and strong currents.”
Regardless of the cause, the six injured people were smart and took the correct first step should they potentially need compensation for their injuries: they went straight to the ship doctor.
The Correct First Step: Report to Medical Immediately
The six people who sustained injuries in the Carnival Cruise collision last month reported to medical immediately to have their injuries examined.
Even if you aren’t sure how badly hurt you are, you should do the same. Besides your health and safety, any injury benefits you might receive to help pay for medical care and/or major issues that could arise later could depend on it.
Sometimes Injuries Worsen…Or Even Surface Later
Claims on slower-developing conditions like whiplash always fair better when you have documentation regarding medical care sought on the date of or within a few days of the injury.
Without records, the cruise line may argue you were injured after your cruise to avoid compensating you. Heading to medical builds a paper trail to show you were injured while on the cruise.
Your Second Step: After the Infirmary Continue Documenting
Even after you leave medical, document the symptoms and effects of the injury. If it is a visible injury like a bruise, sprain, or abrasion, take pictures.
Videos can show your range of motion if it has been reduced. Diaries can describe head trauma symptoms. If you can, take pictures of the conditions that caused your injury as well.
Not all accidents are as publicized as a cruise ship collision, after all. In particular, slip and fall accident lawsuits benefit from extensive documentation.
Maintain Your Records of Injury and Treatment
Remember to maintain records for further problems like doctor bills, insurance rate hikes, or time you have to take off work. All of those constitute recoverable damages or loss due to your injury. In other words, those are the things for which you might be compensated later.
The Third Step: File Your Injury Claim on Time
Lastly, but most importantly, keep an eye on the clock. In order to file a lawsuit against a cruise line, you often only have six months to give the company notice, and one year to file.
That’s not a lot of time, and having good legal representation is key to making those deadlines. Why? Because the filing process can get a bit complicated.
Filing itself involves submitting multiple legal documents to multiple agencies. This includes the particular court for the country in which your cruise line is based.
An Experienced Cruise Ship Attorney Can Help
That can be confusing and difficult to navigate on your own, especially if you’re dealing with an injury at the same time. An experienced cruise injury law firm will know exactly what documents you need and how to file properly the first time.
A good cruise ship lawyer can even help you gather needed evidence, and file everything, ultimately reducing your stress.
If you’ve been injured on a cruise, you already know firsthand the stress that it can cause. Don’t let your injury wreck your finances too. Go to the doctor, record your symptoms, and make sure to file before the deadline, so you can receive the compensation you deserve.
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.