Frequently Asked Questions
Helpful Answers To Your Questions
I have worked with numerous families that were dealing with the aftermath of a cruise ship injury. And while the cases and clients were all different, many of the questions the families had were the same. If you have any further questions, contact Attorney Geoffrey Probst today by calling 844-403-2107.
If you have been injured on a cruise ship, it is important to immediately seek medical attention and then quickly report the accident. Once you have received medical treatment, you or a friend or family member should:
- Take photos of the area and the dangerous condition that caused your injury
- Take photos of any subsequent repairs the crew may have made
- Try to identify and get the contact information for any witnesses
- Take detailed notes concerning what happened
- Request copies of your accident report statement and medical records
Photos of the scene can significantly aid your case. The cruise lines will take pictures of the scene virtually every time a person reports an injury on the ship. The ship’s security staff are trained to take pictures that will help them and hurt you, so acting quickly to get your own photos as soon as you can is important. Often the cruise line’s pictures don’t tell the whole story. The Probst Law Firm can answer any questions you have about how to properly document your cruise ship accident case. Call today for a consultation.
You are entitled to your written statement and your medical records. However, that doesn’t mean the ship will necessarily give them to you. If the ship refuses to give you copies of your records, ask for them in writing so that it will be more difficult for the cruise line to claim that you simply never asked for them. If you are unable to get your records even after a written request, it may be time to contact a cruise ship accident attorney who will be able to obtain copies for you. If you are facing a situation where you are trying to obtain records from a cruise line, be sure to contact our firm for assistance and guidance regarding your claim.
Every case is unique and depends upon its own set of facts and circumstances. An experienced cruise line attorney will be able to determine if you have a viable case by conducting a consultation with you and investigating the matter. Because there are strict time limits in cruise line cases (see section titled How much time do I have to sue?” below) it is important to start that investigation as early as possible.
Most crew members have three years to file a claim for personal injury. However, the time frame in which passengers must provide notice of an impending lawsuit is much less. Many cruise lines require that passengers provide written notice of their intent to file a claim within six months, and file suit no later than one year from the accident. If you do not file suit within the appropriate time frame, you may forever be barred from recovery. This is why it is very important to consult with a cruise ship attorney immediately after the accident. Additionally, the sooner you contact a lawyer the sooner you can begin to investigate your accident, interview witnesses, and determine whether or not you have a case. Some other reasons for contacting an attorney early in the process is that an attorney can contact the cruise line for you and demand that certain important information be preserved before the ship changes location, employees leave, and memories fade. Contact our firm for a consultation concerning the statutes of limitation on your cruise ship accident matter.
We have the unique advantage of knowing the strategies that the cruise line will use in defense of any claims, having previously represented many major cruise lines in litigation. This insight allows our cruise injury team to aggressively pursue the claims of clients and obtain the maximum compensation available for you.
Our firm handles most cases on a contingency basis. This means you do not pay any attorney fees unless there is a financial recovery. It is important to note that our firm may incur significant expenses in order to litigate your claim. In certain scenarios, we hire medical experts, engineers and boating professionals to fully investigate your case and so that we are prepared to put your best case forward if we have to go to trial. We want you to know this information, as we believe it is critical to understand that as a firm, we will stop at nothing to pursue justice on your behalf.
Once you finish treating (or the statute of limitations approaches), your case will be filed. Soon after your case is filed it will be set for trial, usually within twelve months. During the months leading up to trial, we will conduct discovery. This is the formal fact-finding part of the case when the parties gather information from each other as well as third parties. Fact-finding is done by conducting depositions and exchanging relevant documents. During this phase of the case you will also likely have to give a deposition where the cruise line’s attorney asks you questions under oath. You may also need to submit to a medical examination conducted by the defendant’s doctors. At some point during the discovery phase we will mediate your case. Mediation is a structured settlement conference conducted by a neutral third party. It is an opportunity for the parties to tell each other their side of the case and to try to settle the case with the help of a third party who has no interest in the outcome. If your case doesn’t settle at or before mediation we will continue preparing for trial. Of course, that doesn’t mean that your case can’t settle before trial, but we prepare every case as if it will be tried.
Throughout the pre-trial, discovery, and trial phase of your case we will keep you informed and involved. We don’t make any important decisions without your input and approval.
Unless you have experience in that area of the law it is very unlikely you will be able to adequately represent yourself and get the maximum value for your case. Cruise line accident cases are governed by maritime law which is extremely complex and can be difficult to navigate even for some lawyers. The cruise lines know this and they know there is only so much you can do on your own. As a result, it is unlikely that you would be able to obtain fair compensation alone. In most, if not all, cases it takes an experienced maritime attorney to get the best result for your case. However, some smaller cases may be able to be resolved without retaining an attorney. We are happy to discuss all the options available to you.
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