A cruise is one of the most relaxing, all-inclusive types of vacations one can take. It isn’t very often that a passenger stops to think about what might go wrong aboard a vessel, but it is imperative to always be prepared in case of an accident or other traumatic event. While out at sea, several incidents can transpire that may lead to injuries and even death. Not having the proper access to a phone or Internet service – not to mention extensive medical aid – can affect the rate at which you and your loved ones are assisted and treated. Since it’s always better to be safe than sorry, there are several tips to keep in mind before boarding a cruise ship and during your vacation to ensure that you and your loved ones stay safe. In the event that an accident does take place, the more prepared you are, the more time you can save when seeking medical attention or the legal assistance of a cruise accident attorney.
Things to Keep in Mind
1. The Ticket: Every cruise ship passenger receives a multi-page ticket before boarding. Most people disregard the package, but the fine print is where cruise lines tend to incorporate stipulations for accident claims. Some cruise lines include a disclaimer that in the event of an injury, victims must file their lawsuits within one year of the date of the incident. While some incidents may not be as severe, the longer a victim waits to file a claim, the lower their chances of it being approved. There are a few exceptions, so consulting with an experienced cruise ship lawyer as soon as possible after the incident is key to ensuring your rights will be protected.
2. Medical Assistance: Although cruise ships have a doctor onboard, their ability to diagnose and/or adequately treat anything other than minor cuts and bruises, upset stomach symptoms, sea sickness and the like is questionable. They do not have the adequate ability or resources to provide the kind of care passengers expect to receive from a land-based Emergency Room doctor. In addition, the cost to be treated can be exorbitant. Always bring your own first aid kit with you and if you have any preexisting conditions, be sure to notify the appropriate personnel onboard. Should you be unfortunate enough to suffer a fractured bone, or any other illness that does not resolve after your first visit to the ship’s medical facility, do yourself a favor and get to a good shore side hospital as quickly as you can for a second opinion.
3. Criminal Activity: Crimes take place anywhere; the high seas are no exception. Many of the same crimes that occur on land, including robberies, sexual assault and even homicide can happen on a cruise ship. Just because you are on vacation on a vessel, doesn’t mean you are exempt from being the victim of a crime. Ways to avoid becoming a victim include making sure you and your loved ones do not get separated. Always ensure children are accompanied by an adult in your party, carry a two-way radio and establish rendezvous times so you can keep track of where your family and loved ones are at all times. As far as belongings go, the vast majority of cruise ship staterooms provide safes for guests. Always keep your valuables in the safe, including your ID cards, passports, jewelry, and other personal items to protect them against theft.
4. Consult with a Maritime Lawyer: When things go wrong during a cruise ship vacation, the crew’s first instinct is to protect themselves and their employers. Always write down in full detail what transpired, take photographs if possible and alert your stateroom neighbors or other witnesses and get there basic contact information in case you need to reach them later. Before boarding a cruise ship, be sure to consult with a cruise injury attorney so you can learn about your rights and be fully protected in the event of an accident or other incident. While not all cellular phones work when you are out at sea, your stateroom comes equipped with a phone or you can contact guest services for assistance in making a call. Also most ship’s today have internet available for the guest to use. Reach out for help as soon as something goes wrong.
5. Filing a Lawsuit: Your cruise line ticket may specify where you can file a lawsuit, but given that most cruise ships are based out of Miami, Florida, it is likely you might need to file your accident claim there. Suits against Cruise Lines are a matter best left to cruise accident lawyer. Most personal injury lawyers lack the experience to be able to get you the best result for your Cruise Vacation injuries, so since you only have a limited time to bring your claim, ensure all the paperwork is accurately filed and hire a maritime lawyer.
Being aware of your rights is imperative to ensure you and your loved ones remain safe during your cruise vacation. The more prepared you are, the more likely you will be to obtain help and to have your claims resolved quickly. For more information regarding your rights as a cruise passenger, contact the maritime lawyers of Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A., who have the ability to handle matters worldwide.