When you think of cruise ships, fun and carefree times often come to mind. A cruise ship is basically an all-inclusive floating resort.
From nightlife, shore excursions, onboard casinos, and plenty of food and drink, everything you need for a perfect vacation is on the ship. Unfortunately, amidst all of the fun and relaxation are some hidden hazards. Thousands of passengers are injured annually on cruise ships, and you don’t want to become another statistic.
Before you book your next cruise, we’re going to take a closer look at some of the common accidents you can face and how to avoid them. After all, the last thing you want is for an unfortunate event to ruin your vacation.
Common Cruise Ship Accidents
In between relaxing at the pool, sampling the various onboard restaurants, and trying out some of the fun activities like rock climbing, take a minute to consider the potential dangers that are commonly found on cruise ships. Some of the common injury complaints from cruise passengers include the following.
Falls and Slips
Thankfully, falling overboard is relatively uncommon. Balcony railings are purposefully built higher enough to prevent most passengers from easily going overboard.
Most accidents involving slips and falls occur in hallways and by the pool areas. Think of wet decks and luggage left lying in hallways. Sometimes, the stairs of ships are not kept in the best condition. The crew may use the area for temporary storage, increasing your risk of a fall.
Paying attention to where you’re going can help you avoid obstacles like luggage. Unless there’s a fire, it’s usually best to stick with the passenger elevators. If you’re determined to use the stairs to get in your daily steps, keep an eye out for anything that might be lying around.
Food poisoning on a cruise ship is about as common as eating in a local restaurant. While not extremely common, it can happen much to everyone’s dismay. Cruise ships take pride in their restaurants and don’t want their passengers getting sick.
A more common cause of food poisoning on cruise ships is caused by passengers. They may leave food life fresh seafood lying out, allowing it to spoil. Food poisoning can also occur when passengers eat at a restaurant during an excursion.
To be safe, never store food from a restaurant and only dine at establishments on shore recommended by the cruise ship. The ship’s crew is usually familiar with each port of call and can make some great and safe recommendations.
Swimming Pool Accidents
Even though you’re surrounded by water on a cruise ship, it’s still nice to take a dip in a pool. Most cruise ships have multiple pools, giving you plenty of options. While relaxing by the pool is a great way to unwind, getting to your lounge chair can be hazardous.
Slips and falls on wet decks are common. Most injuries are only minor scrapes and bruises, however, some can be more severe. There are also dangers in the pool. For example, non-swimmers are always at risk of drowning in deep water. This also applies to anyone who is enjoying the free adult beverages.
If you’re enjoying an adult beverage, stay out of the pool; this isn’t a rule but it’s good advice to follow. Watch out for wet places that can result in slips and falls, and don’t always rely on warning signs. Remember, it’s the pool area, so expect the deck surrounding it to be a little wet and slippery.
Assaults of all kinds can occur on a cruise ship, as cruise lines don’t run background checks on their passengers, so always be aware of your surroundings.
In 2019, the cruise industry experienced a 67% increase in assaults compared to the previous year. This statistic isn’t meant to dissuade you from embarking on your dream cruise, only to remember to be careful and stay vigilant at all times.
Treat walking around on a cruise ship the same as if you’re on a city street. If you’re the victim of an assault, don’t wait to report the incident until returning to shore. Alert the staff and captain immediately.
Most cruise lines employ a security officer or department trained in crime detection, prevention, and reporting. This way, the investigation is already started by the time the ship docks. The security officer may have even arrested the offender.
Common Injuries on Cruise Ships
Some of the injuries sustained by passengers on cruise ships are severe, others may only require a band-aid and some antibacterial ointment:
- Neck, back, and shoulder injuries
- Spinal injuries, including partial and total paralysis
- Traumatic brain injury and other brain injuries
- Broken or crushed bones
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Serious burns, disfigurement, and scarring
- Illnesses such as food poisoning and bacterial illnesses
- Injuries caused by partial drowning or death by drowning
- Severe emotional trauma
Some accidents can also result in fatalities, like, for example, falling overboard.
What To Do If You’re Injured On a Cruise Ship
If you’re injured on a cruise ship, the first step is to see the ship’s physician. All cruise ships have trained medical personnel onboard capable of handling any emergency.
Ask for documents relating to your injuries and the care you received. Even if you’re not planning on filing a personal injury claim, it’s still a good idea to get the paperwork.
Sometimes, your injuries are too severe to do anything else but see the ship’s doctor. However, if you’re able, document the accident scene. Take pictures of the area where the accident occurred, along with your injuries.
If there are witnesses, get their contact information. You also want to report the accident to the ship’s crew, even if it’s minor. Get a copy of the accident report, it should be ready for pickup by the time you get to port.
The next step is to contact an accident attorney before speaking to the cruise line’s insurance adjustor. Don’t go at it alone, let your attorney handle the settlement negotiations.
Talk To An Attorney If You’re Injured On A Cruise Ship
Accidents on cruise ships, though unfortunate, are a possibility, and dealing with insurance companies in such scenarios can be daunting and complex. Therefore, it’s crucial for you to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
They can provide the necessary legal expertise to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries. An attorney’s guidance is invaluable in navigating the intricacies of cruise ship accident claims.