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What to do If You are Injured as a Passenger on a Boat

  1. Report the injury and complete an accident report. The very first thing you should do after you are injured is report the injury to a crewmember and make sure that an accident report is completed. Even if you do not believe your injury is severe at the time, it is important to report it right away because often times there are unanticipated long-term effects of injuries. Furthermore, accident reports often contain facts that are important to establishing liability.

  2. Seek necessary medical treatment. As soon as you get hurt and have reported the injury, it is important that you see a doctor right away. If you are on a cruise ship, you should see the ship’s doctor. If you are on a vessel that does not have a medical staff onboard, see a doctor as soon as you return to shore. This is important because the sooner you see a doctor, the more your doctor will likely be able to help you. After initial emergency medical treatment, it is important that you continue to follow up with your medical providers and follow your doctor’s orders until your treatment is complete.

  3. Take photos. As soon as possible after your injury, take steps to collect evidence of what happened. Take photos of the area where your injury occurred and anything that was present in the location where you were injured at the time of injury. Take photos from all angles and with as much detail as possible. If possible, save these photos in more than one location. It is important to begin collecting evidence as soon as you can because sometimes the condition which caused your injury will not be there later. For example, if you slip in a puddle of water and wait to take photos, chances are that someone will mop it up.

  4. Collect witness statements and contact information. Another important aspect of collecting evidence involves witness statements. Make sure that you take down contact information for anyone that witnessed your injury or the dangerous condition which caused your injury. It is common for passengers on cruise ships to leave the ship without learning the identities of any potential witnesses other than their family members or travel companions. Ask people that saw you get hurt what they saw and write it down, along with their telephone number, email, and mailing address in case you need to get in touch with them later in relation to your claim.

  5. Write down what happened. Just as it is important to keep notes of what witnesses saw, your own memory is the best closest to the time of injury. Keep detailed notes of the following information:

    • Names and positions of the crewmembers you reported your injury to (whether or not they saw anything related to you injury)
    • Names of those present at the time of your injury
    • Anything you think caused your injury
    • A detailed narrative the events during which you were injured
    • The medical care you got after your injury
    • All telephone calls or other conversations you have regarding your injury or your claim
  6. Consult an experienced maritime lawyer at Kraft Davies Olsson PLLC. As soon as you are off the vessel and have received the emergency medical attention you require, you should speak to an attorney about your situation. Do not sign anything (other than the accident report) without first speaking to a lawyer. The highly experienced maritime attorneys at Kraft Davies Olsson PLLC are available to speak to you Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. pacific time. Call 206.624.8844 to speak to a lawyer.