What is the Most Common Injury on a Cruise Ship?

Slips, trips and falls are the most common causes of injuries on cruise ships. If the cruise line failed to take reasonable steps to prevent a slip, trip or fall, there could be grounds for a compensation claim. Contact our Vancouver personal injury lawyers to discuss your case. 

Slips, trips and falls on cruise ships

A study* analysed data from passenger injuries reported to the medical centre of a cruise ship during a three-year period. The results found that slip, trips and falls caused the greatest number of injuries, accounting for 44.8% of injuries aboard and 69.4% of injuries ashore. The most frequently injured body part was the lower extremity.

Although this study is over a decade old, the results still ring true today. In our experience, slips, trip and falls are the most common type of accident to afflict cruise ship passengers. The slip, trip and fall hazards onboard are endless. Examples include:

  • Slips that happen: around the pool; on a wet floor or deck; because of a food/drink spillage; due to a lack of slip-resistant surfaces
  • Trips that happen over: loose wires; frayed carpets; faulty staircases; raised thresholds in doorways; luggage or other obstacles left in walkways
  • Falls that happen: overboard; from one deck to another; due to turbulence; down staircases

Slips, trips and falls can lead to a range of injuries, such as:

  • Fractured bones
  • Head and brain injuries
  • Spinal injuries
  • Lacerations
  • Sprains and soft tissue damage
  • Dental damage

*[Source: Dahl E. Passenger accidents and injuries reported during 3 years on a cruise ship. Int Marit Health. 2010;61(1):1-8. PMID: 20496320.]

Other cause of injury on cruise ships

However, slips, trips and fall are by no means the only cause of injury on board cruise ships. Other potential causes include:

  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Food poisoning
  • Legionnaire’s disease and infectious diseases
  • Fires
  • Drowning
  • Elevators and escalators
  • Organised excursions and activities
  • Assaults

What happens if you get hurt on a cruise?

If you get hurt on a cruise ship, the ship should have medical professionals and facilities onboard that can treat you. If your condition is serious, arrangements should be made for you to attend hospital ashore. Either the cruise ship will disembark you at the next port, or will divert to the nearest port. In emergencies, you may be airlifted to hospital by helicopter. 

Cruise ship injury claims

If you have been hurt or developed an illness while on a cruise, you may wonder if the cruise ship is to blame This really depends on the circumstances. The cruise line cannot be expected to eliminate every single hazard. However, it must take reasonable steps to minimise the risks, and to warn passengers of any dangers. If the cruise line failed to meet these responsibilities, it could be held liable for your injury or illness. This makes you entitled to bring a claim. 

Cruise ships are savvy to personal injury claims. In the immediate aftermath of an accident, you may be interviewed by a member of staff and asked to sign a statement. Be very careful about signing anything or admitting fault in any way. The cruise ship may rely on this at a later date as evidence. This is very unfair, as they caught you at a vulnerable moment when your mind was probably on your health, not the idea of litigation. 

Cruise lines also try to deter personal injury claims by imposing strict terms and conditions on a passenger’s ticket. The ticket may say that you signed a liability waiver that prevents you from making a claim. It may also say that a lawsuit must be filed in a certain place or within a tight time frame. Whatever it says, our advice to you is this: if you have been injured while on a cruise and you think mistakes were made, get expert legal advice as soon as possible. 

Compensation for cruise ship injuries

Regardless of what the cruise ship ticket says, if a cruise line or their employers acted negligently, causing you to suffer harm, you can make a claim. This allows you to recover compensation for your physical and emotional injuries, and your financial losses. However, you need to act quickly, or you may run out of time. 

To speak to our Vancouver personal injury lawyers, either fill in the free online enquiry form or call us on 604 684 0040.

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