Attorney at Law

First Steps to Take When You've Been Injured on a Cruise Ship as a Passenger

Daisy Rogozinsky
March 13, 2023
Last reviewed by
Joanna Smykowski
April 7, 2024

If you’ve been injured while on board a cruise ship, you may feel lost as to what to do next. Should you try to deal with your injuries yourself? Does the cruise ship have resources to help you? And what can you do if the cruise ship company is at fault for your injuries?

The guide below will review the steps you should take in the event of a cruise ship injury. We’ll review how to seek medical treatment, as well as important steps to take in case you ever wish to take legal action against any parties responsible for your injury.

1. Get Medical Attention

Any standard cruise ship should have an onboard medical center where you can receive medical treatment for your injuries. The first thing you should always do in the event of an accident is receive the necessary medical treatment. Note that the medical center may charge you a fee for treatment. However, if you can prove that the cruise ship is liable for your injury, you may be able to have this fee reimbursed. 

Note that after receiving treatment, you must request copies of any documentation of your treatment.his will serve as evidence of what happened. It’s not rare for a civil court to dismiss a liability case if the injured party never receives medical attention. 

2. Report the Accident

Once your injuries have been treated, the next step to take is to report the injury, including its cause and details. If your injury requires medical treatment beyond first aid, this will trigger an investigation in accordance with the United States Coast Guard regulations. This will ensure that you have evidence in the future that the injury happened. 

In any case, the cruise ship itself will file an incident record about the accident. Seek out the ship’s safety or security officer and inquire about the official procedure for filing an incident report. Note any relevant details, Note any relevant facts. Be sure to explain the details surrounding the incident and why you were injured. Don't forget to be clear about how the cruise ship contributed to your injury.

After filling out the relevant reports, be sure to ask for a copy of the signed reports for your records, including the ship’s incident report and any other reports filed to an external body such as the United States Coast Guard. 

3. Document the Scene

It’s important to document the scene of your accident with as much detail as possible to serve as evidence in case you decide to file a civil lawsuit. In addition to taking written notes about what happened, it’s also recommended to photograph and take videos of any visible hazards. 

You’ll want to note:

  • What happened
  • When
  • The cause of the accident
  • Any witnesses and their contact information

You should photograph any of the following, such as relevant:

  • Tripping hazards
  • Equipment involved in the accident 
  • Wet floor signs or lack thereof
  • Weather conditions
  • Caution signs
  • Lighting conditions
  • The floor 
  • Wear and tear

If your injury is minor enough, you may choose to do this step immediately after it happens. However, for more serious injuries, your first priority should be to receive the necessary medical attention. You can ask a friend or family member to document the scene for you while you wait for medical care. 

4. Document Your Injuries

Additionally, it’s important to take photos of your injuries, including any cuts, bruises, scrapes, burns, etc. The photographs should be clear and high-quality, but your smartphone should most likely suffice. Just be sure to take your photos in good lighting. You may also take photos as your injury heals to document its severity, especially if it takes time for the injury to become more obviously visible. 

5. Retain Legal Counsel

If the cruise ship staff or company’s negligence directly led to your injuries, and you can prove this to be the case, you may be eligible to recover compensation for your medical bills and other relevant damages such as time lost from work. In order to increase your chances of winning a civil lawsuit and receiving fair compensation, it’s important to hire a maritime injury lawyer who specializes in the admiralty law that applies to cruise ships. They will be able to use all of the evidence you collected in the steps above to build your case and hold the responsible parties legally liable for your injury. Contact a maritime lawyer in your area for a free review of your case.

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