Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’: Cruise Ship Passenger Injuries and How to Avoid Them
Every day we face dozens of potential hazards. We risk car accidents while driving, work accidents while working, and a host of other personal injury risks by simply being a part of society. These risks add to the burdens of everyday life. After awhile, most people need to get away from the stress of their routine lives in favor of a vacation.
Sea cruises have become extremely popular vacation choices for those who want to spend a week completely carefree. After all, you don't have to worry about driving or traffic risks, you don’t have to worry about getting lost in a foreign land…you don’t even have to worry about cooking.
Although cruise lines advertise that you can leave the world behind and float your cares away, they fail to mention that the risks that go along with vacationing on the water.
Cruise Ship Mishaps
Cruising on the ocean waves may seem like a relaxing way to spend the week. Many passengers fail to realize, however, that the voyage itself can put them in danger. Some risks cannot be anticipated but can cause catastrophic damage to the ship itself (and ultimately its passengers). These types of accidents include rogue waves, mechanical fires, and collisions (with environmental objects, other ships, or docks). Other risks are caused by the reaction of passengers to the normal motion of the ship—which can cause drastic fluctuations in stability. In addition to inducing balance problems, continuous instability can magnify the effects of fatigue, dehydration, or intoxication, and increase risks for onboard injuries.
Potential Cruise Ship Injuries
With the hundreds of cruise ships operating around the world, and the thousands of passengers traveling on board, it is a common occurrence for vacationers to be injured. Some of the most common ways include…
- Motion sickness. The brain senses movement through signals from the inner ears, eyes, muscles, and joints. When it gets signals that do not match, we can get motion sickness. For example, down below on a boat, your inner ear senses motion, but your eyes cannot tell you are moving. Similarly, when a ship is rocking back and forth, your muscles and joints feel movement, but your eyes cannot see it. Motion sickness can occur without any warning. It is often indicated by a queasy feeling, cold sweats, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.
- Slip and fall accidents. As the cruise line caters to passengers—inviting them on tiring excursions, encouraging them to drink large amounts of alcohol, and hosting parties late into the night—it ultimately puts them in danger. Encouraging behavior that alters a person’s ability to focus and move is risky enough, but encouraging these effects in an unstable environment is a recipe for disaster. Over the past 16 years, over 200 people have fallen overboard, and thousands more have become injured from slipping on decks.
- Sexual assault. The combination of the romantic scenery, a lot of alcohol, and a relatively confined space opens a cruise ship up to being an ideal location for unwanted sexual advances.
- Collision injuries. If the motion of the ship becomes too extreme, it can cause improperly stowed or poorly secured items to roll and fall. In some cases, these uncontrolled objects can move with enough force to cause severe injuries when they collide into passengers.
Minimizing the Risks of Cruise Ship Injuries
There are several things that can be done to minimize cruise ship injuries, including…
- Recognize whether you have your “sea legs.” If you can handle the rocking of a ship, then you are likely safer than others who cannot. If you find that you cannot compensate for the rocking, avoid moving around when the waters are rough, and find a place to sit down.
- Limit your instability risks. Control your consumption of alcohol, stay hydrated, and get enough rest. Intoxication, dehydration, and fatigue can all contribute to slip and fall injuries.
- Identify and control motion sickness. Motion sickness can make you dizzy and contribute to injuries. If you suffer from it, take medication that can limit the symptoms and prevent injury.
Filing a Claim
The amount of time you have to file a lawsuit against a cruise line is usually dictated by the contract you have with them: your contract is your cruise ticket. Cruise companies have their own teams of attorneys, and those attorneys helped draft the contract that you accepted when you purchased your ticket.
If you're not sure about the details of your contract—or even if you are—you should seek the guidance of an experienced maritime attorney to ensure complete understanding of your legal rights. Your first consultation with attorney Steve Lee is completely free, so you'll be able to go over the details of your case and how to file a strong lawsuit. Don't go back and forth with yourself trying to decide if you have a case—after all, swaying back and forth is what got you into trouble in the first place. The more time you waste, the less likely your case will be successful.
Call us today to learn more about your legal protection. Attorney Steve Lee is standing by to help you reclaim your footing on firm ground. Call toll-free at 800-232-3711 or fill out the contact form on this website.