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Tips For Minimizing Your Chances Of Being Injured In Cruise Ship Accidents

October 8, 2009

The summer vacation season of 2009 is wrapping up, but there are those out there who are still waiting to sail off into the sunset with a loved one on a cruise vacation. With the recent downturn in the economy, the cruise industry has recently been offering great rates to passengers. Because of this, many people have postponed their summer vacation to take advantage of these relaxing, fun-filled vacations. But, did you know that cruises can be a source of accidents and injuries which can put a big crimp in that dream vacation? After all, more than four million people cruise annually during a good economy, and that means cruise ship accidents can occur more often than you might think. These accidents don’t even have to happen on the high seas – many people are unaware that accidents involving shore excursions are also considered cruise ship accidents if the excursion is sponsored by the cruise line you are sailing with.

There are ways to minimize your potential for being injured in cruise ship accidents:

  • Verify that any onshore excursion you are going to participate in has insurance which will cover you or your family if an accident occurs.
  • Check with your cruise line for safety information on the onshore excursion vendor; you may be surprised to learn that your cruise ticket restricts you from making a claim against the cruise line company for an injury which occurs during an onshore excursion.
  • Be aware of where you are and what you are doing. CruiseShipJunkie.com reports the latest in cruise ship accidents. One story they have posted tells of a passenger who drank more than his share of alcohol and decided to go swimming in the ship’s pool. The problem with this idea was that the pool had been drained for repairs, so the inebriated passenger ended up diving headfirst into an empty pool. The moral of the story is: don’t overindulge even on vacation!
  • Follow all posted warnings on board the ship.
  • You will be walking on a moving ship that is sailing on the high seas. There is a chance that water will be in your path at some point, so it is a good idea to wear rubber-soled shoes that can give you traction on a wet deck surface.
  • Use handrails to help you with your balance when the ship is under sail. You never know when the ship may list to one side or hit a rough patch of sea.
  • If you use the on board sports facility, only use the equipment for its intended purpose. The same thing goes for deck chairs, sporting equipment, etc.
  • Follow crew directions and instructions in the event of a power outage, fire, engine problem, or other emergency situation.
  • Secure your belongings in the cabin’s closets or drawers so you aren’t hit by flying or falling objects if the ship encounters rough seas.
  • While on shore excursions, listen to the directions of the tour operators, and follow their instructions.
  • Be honest about physical abilities required for some shore excursions (or the lack thereof) that might cause you harm if you try to do something you are not capable of doing. For instance, if you last rode a horse twenty-five years ago, don’t be daring and ask for a spirited horse for your ride down the beach!
  • Wear seat belts and proper restraints while on a tour and be sure your children do the same.

Hopefully, you will never have to worry about injury resulting from cruise ship accidents. However, if you are injured while on a cruise, you need to know that cruise ships operate under different laws than the rest of the vacation and tourism industry. "Depending on when and where your accident occurs, your claim may be controlled by Florida law, Federal Maritime law, or a law from a foreign port, says Florida cruise ship accident lawyer, Joseph M. Maus. "Accidents and injuries which occur on Cruise Ships can be won and lost on requirements which apply only to Cruise Ships. Take a look at your Cruise Ticket for some of these "special" requirements".

  • Passenger tickets often have special provisions put into the fine print within the ticket which shortens the time in which a cruise ship passenger may file a law suit against the cruise line – usually this limit is one year. To give you an idea of how this differs from "regular" law, Maus says that the normal statute of limitations for admiralty and maritime matters is three years; for a typical car accident claim it is four years!
  • These same provisions generally require you to give notice of a claim for injury or death due to negligence against the cruise line within six months.
  • Cruise lines also designate within their passenger tickets the only location where they can be sued. Read through your ticket and you should find this suit location. Since most of the major cruise lines are based in Miami, Florida and will designate Miami, Florida as the location where they must be sued, this means that if you live in Wisconsin and sail on a cruise vacation, you may have to bring suit for an injury in Miami (we might add that this will be at considerable cost and time to you).

Enjoy your cruise vacation and see all those wonderful sights that a cruise ship can take you to. Take some time to relax on the ship and unwind from your stressful life. Take precautions to be sure your vacation isn’t tainted by an injury. But, do be aware that if you are injured while on your cruise vacation, you need to talk to an experienced cruise ship accident lawyer immediately upon your return from your trip in order to preserve your rights!

For more information about cruise ship accidents and advice about an accident claim, contact cruise ship accident lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529, visit his website at http://www.mauslawfirm.com, or email him today.

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