Hurt on a Cruise and You Don’t Know What to do???

Cruise lines market themselves as providing one of the most enjoyable and cost-effective vacations out there. Now we are seeing that the marketing has been effective, and the cruise industry is reaping the benefits. The yearly number of global cruise passengers has steadily grown every year for the past 10 years. In 2018, the cruise industry set a record by selling roughly 28 million tickets. Cruise lines are projected to break that record again in 2019 by selling roughly 30 million tickets. U.S. passengers account for approximately 42% of all ticket sales, and many of these passengers enjoy their cruise experience with few complaints. However, every year hundreds of unlucky passengers see their dream vacation suddenly turn into a nightmare. They pay thousands of dollars for an experience that ends with grievous injuries, stolen possessions, or worse…

A number of problems can arise and ruin a cruise vacation, including mechanical issues (e.g. Carnival Triumph fire, 2013), illness outbreaks (e.g. Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas norovirus outbreak, 2019), and general crime onboard (e.g. Regent Seven Seas stolen passport, 2019). However, one of the more common incidents is passenger injuries. A 2010 study published in PubMed found over 660 passenger injuries were reported over a three-year period. Many of these passenger injuries result from slipping and falling or tripping on unusual nautical design features which are unique to passenger vessels. These incidents make sense when you consider that roughly 16% of cruise passengers are over 55 and almost one-half (45%) have never been on a cruise before. See Sexual assault is another shockingly prevalent issue on cruises. The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA) requires the United States government to collect information on criminal activity on board cruise ships. According to the most recent quarterly report, there were at least 18 reported sexual assaults on cruise ships from January through March of 2019. That amounts to more than one sexual assault every week.

Needless to say, every cruise passenger should be prepared in case the unthinkable happens. Here’s what to do in the event something bad happens to you…

  1. Report your incident or injury IMMEDIATELY!

If you are badly injured, stay where you are and send someone to get help. When crew members arrive to help, make sure to show them exactly where you got hurt. Have someone take photos of the area before anything is moved. Don’t be a tough guy – if you’re hurt, immediately go to the ship’s medical center for treatment.

  1. Be careful what you SAY to cruise employees!

The cruise line will send an officer or crew member to investigate your incident. He or she will talk to you and your companions and you should assume that they are documenting everything you say. Remember that they work for the cruise line and be very careful when talking about the incident.

  1. Pay close attention when filling out the Incident Report, and demand that they give you a COPY!

The investigating crew member will ask you to fill out an incident report stating what happened. Injured passengers are often presented with this form immediately after the incident when they’re in excruciating pain. The forms are also written with underhanded questions like: “What could you have done to avoid this accident?” The cruise line is hoping you make a mistake and write something that absolves them of liability, so be careful. If you’re in too much pain or you don’t feel up to it, tell them you will fill out the incident report later.

  1. Gather as much INFORMATION as you can!

Sometimes, the cruise line refuses to treat you fairly and you are forced to take legal action. If that happens, you have the burden of proof and you shouldn’t expect the cruise line to turn over any helpful information. So collect your own information, take photos or video of the area, get the full name of any crew member who was nearby, and take down the name and contact information of any eyewitnesses. This information could make or break your case.

  1. Get proper medical care as soon as you return home and report to the authorities if you were the victim of an assault.

Don’t delay in getting proper medical care – make an appointment with your doctor as soon as you return home.

  1. Contact an experienced maritime law firm with a track record of success.

Virtually every cruise passenger ticket requires that you give written notice of your claim within 6 months of your injury. Your lawyer needs time to investigate the incident and analyze your medical treatment before initiating the claim. If you or a loved one has been injured on a cruise, call us today for a free consultation. No fee unless we win!


For more information regarding this or any similar case, please contact us. Chaffin & Homan can offer a free consultation to you or a loved one and take the case on a contingency basis. Our experienced attorneys on staff persevere to maximize your return and results in a timely manner.