What Should You Do After a Cruise Ship Accident?

Getting hurt on a cruise line can turn your vacation into a nightmare. If you’re injured, you need to know what to do. You need to prioritize your safety and ensure that your rights are protected. Our cruise ship accident attorneys explain what to do if you get hurt on a cruise line.

Can You Sue a Cruise Line?

You’d be surprised to know how many cruise ship accidents per year affect victims, including slip and falls. If the cruise line is responsible for causing an injury or other harm, you can sue a cruise line. However, you must show that the cruise line has legal fault and that you have damages.

If you were injured on a cruise ship, you may deserve compensation. Contact our Tampa attorneys for a free consultation.

Filing a legal claim after a cruise ship accident can be complex because of the many locations involved, maritime laws, the cruise contract, and contacting witnesses. But don’t let that deter you from receiving the compensation you deserve. An experienced law firm for cruise ship accidents can help you bring your claim and make it successful.

cruise ship close up

What Should You Do if You Get Hurt on a Cruise Line?

Here are 10 steps to take after you’ve been injured in a cruise ship accident.

1. Seek Medical Attention

The first thing to do if you get hurt on a cruise ship is to get medical attention. Cruise lines carry thousands of passengers and crew members. They are prepared to address a range of injuries, illnesses, and medical incidents. They should be available to help 24 hours a day.

Injured passengers should seek help from medical services available on the cruise. If they do not have what you need, they can help you arrange for medical care in a facility on land.

woman seeing a doctor after a fall on a cruise ship

2. Report the Accident

Along with seeking medical attention, you should report the accident right away. A report creates a record that the accident occurred and when it occurred. It should trigger an internal investigation on the part of the cruise line.

In addition, the United States Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA)1 requires any cruise line with ports in the United States to report criminal activity to the FBI. If there was criminal activity, reporting the accident creates a record.

3. Gather Evidence and Cooperate With Any Internal Investigation

Like any accident, evidence is critical to proving what happened and legal fault. On a cruise ship, it is your responsibility more than ever to save this evidence for yourself. Hopefully, cruise ship investigators do a thorough job with saving evidence but save what you can for yourself.

Take photos of the accident scene and anything that is damaged. Take photographs of your injuries and save any tangible evidence, like ripped clothing or damaged footwear.

4. Identify Witnesses

Take names, phone numbers, emails, and physical addresses of witnesses who may have observed the accident. Even if they say they didn’t see anything, they may have something to add later.

5. Take It Easy

Even though you had plans during your vacation, remember that you’re hurt. When you’re injured, you have a legal duty to mitigate damages. That means if you do anything to make it worse, it could reduce the amount of compensation that you may receive. Be sure not to overdo it for the rest of your vacation. If you stay with the ship, stick to activities that you can handle and avoid reinjury.

woman relaxing on a cruse after injuring her arm

6. Learn About Forum Selection

The whole point of a cruise is to visit several places in one vacation. This begs the question: When you’re hurt in a cruise ship accident, where do you bring your legal claim?  Your ticket package may contain language called a forum selection clause.

This language limits the location where you can bring a legal claim. Usually, it’s places where the cruise lines have their larger ports of call or shore excursions, including Florida. To bring your claim as quickly and efficiently as possible, it’s important to understand the issue of forum selection and determine whether it applies to your case.

See Wiggins v. Carnival Corporation, U.S. District Court, EP-05-CV-0230-FM (2005)2 and Valenti v. Norwegian Cruise Line, U.S. District Court, 04- Civ. 8895 (RWS) (S.D.N.Y. 2005)3.

7. Find Your Cruising Contract

It’s time to read the fine print. When you signed up for the cruise, the cruise company sent you a terms and conditions contract4. This document may have several clauses that are important to your injury claim. It may contain the forum selection language and details about what expenses related to your injury are reimbursable.

An experienced attorney can help you understand what these things mean and whether they are enforceable in your injury case. To learn more, contact Bernstein Injury Attorneys in Tampa for a free case evaluation.

8. Continue To Get Medical Attention

In the coming hours, days and weeks, continue to treat your injuries. Follow up with daily care, rehabilitation, and continued medical attention. If you neglect your medical care, it may decrease your compensation.

9. Think About Travel Insurance

If you purchased travel insurance, it can be a welcome relief when a cruise ship injury occurs. Save records of your medical care and expenses. Review instructions for making a claim. Even if you have travel insurance, you may still have a legal claim for monetary compensation.

travel insurance policy for cruise ship vacation

10. Don’t Delay in Finding a Personal Injury Attorney for Cruise Line Accidents

You may deserve financial compensation for your accident on a cruise ship. The statutes of limitations to file a lawsuit can be extremely short. You may need to notify the cruise line quickly and then proceed to file your claim.

The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner they can prepare your claim and get it filed. In addition, they can secure witness statements and help you gather any additional evidence that may be critical to pursuing your claim.

 Were you hurt on a cruise ship? Call our experienced injury lawyers to see how much your case may be worth.

Cruise Ship Accident Lawyers in Tampa, FL

Have you been injured on a cruise line? Let our personal injury attorneys for cruise accidents help you claim financial compensation. We are licensed in Florida and equipped to handle cases in the state. In addition, our experienced attorneys understand the complex issues that are present in cruise ship claims. Contact us today.


1 U.S. Department of Transportation. Cruise Line Incident Reports. Retrieved 15 December 2021.

2 Wiggins v. Carnival Corporation, U.S. District Court, EP-05-CV-0230-FM (2005)

3 Valenti v. Norwegian Cruise Line, U.S. District Court, 04- Civ. 8895 (RWS) (S.D.N.Y. 2005)

4 Carnival Cruise Line. Ticket Contract. Retrieved 15 December 2021.

The information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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