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When vacations turn into nightmare, maritime attorneys might help

By Cumurciuc Andrea Subscribe to RSS | August 9th 2012 | Views:

Most people the only time will ever get in touch with a cruise ship is when going in vacation. We all expect these moments to be great so we could just relax, enjoy and forget about all problems. Nobody expects to encounter additional problems aboard these luxury ships, situations which they do not know how to deal with. Unfortunately incidents occur quite frequent even in this idyllic environment, affecting both passengers and crew members.

All individuals aboard a cruise ship can suffer physical injuries or even wrongful death or they can become the victims of theft or sexual assault. The causes of these incidents are various. Cruise ship companies tend to be careless regarding safety measures, they might not have appropriate safety guidelines or crew members might not respect them. Passengers being on vacation also tend to forget about common safety measures or they can have just one drink to many not to realize the risks. The lack of sufficient security personnel often encourages attacks on passengers or crew members. Frequent accidents include slip and fall incidents due to slippery floors or poor illumination, malfunctioning equipment leading to different injuries and even drowning, food poisoning, sexual assault and injuries during excursions on land.

However cruise lines and their ships are regulated by admiralty law, so they have the responsibility to guaranty the safety of passengers and crew members. If they fail to do so and show negligence, recklessness or operate unseaworthy vessels they can be held legally responsible. That is why it is essential for all passengers before boarding a cruise ship to know exactly what should be done in case of different injuries.

The first thing of course is to alert the crew right away and to ask for medical assistance if that is needed. After victims received the necessary assistance they should photograph the scene, including details which might have contributed to the accident and the injury itself, if that is visible. They should also take the names and contact details of potential witnesses, including crew members. Before the end of the trip victims should request a copy of their medical records and of the incident report. If the injury is severe and it occurred on international waters or in a foreign country, passengers should request that the cruise company returns them to the U.S. for medical assistance.

Another important detail that passengers should remember is to hold on to all paperwork from the cruise, especially the cruise ticket. On the back of the ticket there are usually clauses to limit any possible injury claims. For example passengers have to notify the cruise line about all injuries within six months after they occurred. If they fail to do so, they will lose the right of collecting damages. So if passengers decide to notify the company they should do it in a manner which provides them proof that the report was indeed sent and received. The ticket normally also requires any lawsuits to be filed within one year from the date of the injury. The failure of meeting these deadlines will prevent victims from receiving any compensation so it is important to act as quickly as possible.

Cruise lines often require passengers to file any injury lawsuits in the city where the company is based, even if passengers live in a different area of the country. To meet all these requirements and to make sure the lawsuit can be won against the well prepared attorneys of the cruise company, victims should also hire the best maritime attorney they can afford as soon as possible. Only an experienced lawyer will be able to tell which is the best way of obtaining compensation: by suing the company that chartered the ship, the one that operated it or even the company that sold the ticket and exposed passengers to risks in the first place.

Cumurciuc Andrea - About Author:
If you suffered severe injuries while on board a cruise ship please contact an admiralty attorney as soon as possible.

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