Cruise ship slip and fall injuries occur with regularity. These accidents occur so often that cruise lines have investigation procedures in place designed to gather evidence and information in a way to help them should they be sued.
The process starts at the ship's medical facility. It is very common for a passenger to be given a statement form at the medical facility to fill out. Within the statement form is usually a question asking "What could you have done to prevent the accident." This whole purpose of this question is to get the injured passenger to admit he or she was at fault. If the passenger indicates that he or she could have done something to prevent the accident, the cruise line's lawyers will use that statement against the passenger. The cruise line's efforts to gain evidence to support their defenses do not end there.
A safety officer is also dispatched to investigate the claim as part the cruise line's procedures when passenger reports an accident. The safety officer often times interviews the injured passenger, travel companions and any eyewitness. Part of the reason behind these interviews is to elicit admissions that the injured person was at fault and the cruise line was not at fault. Furthermore, CCTV video of the area is reviewed. If this video is helpful to the cruise line, it will save it to be played latter at trial.
Many times when a slip and fall accident occurs, there are no signs or cones placed in the area warning the passenger of the slippery condition of the deck. After the accident, crew members erect signs and cones in the area of the accident. Also, the crew members mop or squeegee the area clean. It is only after the signs are placed and the area cleaned, that a safety officer photographs the area. This is done so the cruise line's attorneys can later argue to a jury that the area was free from water, and if there was any liquid in the area, there was a sign warning the passenger about the condition.
There are things injured passenger can do to help his or her own case. First, the passenger could have a travel companion take photographs of the area immediately after the incident. In most situations, the photographs taken immediately after the accident will be admitted into evidence and shown to the jury. Therefore, the jury will see the area as it existed at the time of the accident and not the sanitized version usually depicted in safety officers' photographs. Second, a travel companion could take down the names and contact information of eyewitnesses. These witnesses are invaluable to a slip and fall injury claim as the people could testify as to the condition of the deck at the time of the incident and perhaps even establish that the cruise line knew or should have known about the hazardous condition and did nothing. Photographs and witnesses could be the difference between winning or losing in court.
Bringing a lawsuit is an important decision. If you suffered a slip and fall injury aboard a cruise ship and would like to speak with a lawyer, please contact us toll free at (800) 499-0551 for a free consultation.