Despite ranking among the top 20 safest cities in the world, cruise ship passenger accidents in Dublin are unfortunately inevitable. The volume of people visiting Ireland´s capital during their vacations make the roads, the restaurants and the shops busier, while visitors walking through Dublin looking at the sites do not always concentrate on where they are going.
If you have visited Dublin as a cruise ship passenger, and suffered an injury in an accident which was not your fault, it may be possible to claim compensation for onshore injuries to cruise ship passengers. This article explains how to claim injury compensation for cruise ship passenger accidents in Dublin, but first a quick explanation of why your cruise company will not accept liability for accidents in Dublin.
Cruise Companies and Liability for Accidents and Injuries
Once you are away from your cruise ship, the cruise company has no control over your environment. For this reason, the majority of cruise companies stipulate in their terms and conditions of booking that they will not be held liable for accidents and injuries suffered during onshore excursions – even if the excursion has been booked on board or as part of the cruise package.
If you are injured during an organised excursion, the party against which you would claim compensation for onshore injuries to cruise ship passengers is the local tour operator. If you are injured while visiting Dublin independently, you would claim compensation for cruise ship passenger accidents in Dublin against the party responsible for causing the accident due to a failure in their duty of care.
Why Immediate Medical Treatment is so Important
Seeking immediate medical treatment is a natural response whenever you sustain an injury. However, when you claim compensation for cruise ship passenger accidents in Dublin, it is important to have sought medical treatment within a short timeframe. In Ireland, claims for compensation for onshore injuries to cruise ship passengers have to be supported by a record of your injuries.
If there is an unjustifiable delay in seeking medical treatment, not only might this affect the speed of your recovery, but it could be alleged that your injury was not sufficiently serious to warrant hospital treatment at time or that you contributed to the extent of your injury by your own lack of care. An unjustifiable delay could therefore have implications for the success of your claim, or how much compensation for onshore injuries to cruise ship passengers you will be entitled to.
Making a Report of Your Accident
Making a report of your accident after you have received medical treatment is not always necessary, but it will help to support a compensation claim for cruise ship passenger accidents in Dublin if liability is denied or the circumstances of your accident are later disputed. The nature of your accident will determine to whom you make your report:
- For an injury sustained in a road traffic accident, report your accident to the police (Gardaí).
- For an injury sustained in a bar, restaurant or shop, report your accident to the owner of the business.
- For an injury sustained in a place of public access (for example a trip and fall in the street), report your accident to Dublin City Council.
Illnesses due to food poisoning should also be reported to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (www.fsai.ie) and, if you are unsure about who to make a complaint to or how the complaint should be worded, the Irish Tourist Assistance Service (www.itas.ie) should be able to help you – although this organisation will be unable to give you legal information about claiming compensation for onshore injuries to cruise ship passengers. For legal information, you will need to speak with a solicitor.
Claiming Compensation for Cruise Ship Passenger Accidents in Dublin
Ireland has a non-adversarial system for resolving many types of personal injury claims- the “Injuries Board”. The Injuries Board is an independent body whose role it is to assess claims for personal injuries and determine how much compensation should be paid. The process can be done online or via the post and usually takes ten to twelve months to complete depending on the complexity of the claim.
The issue for many cruise ship passengers when using the Injuries Board system is that it is difficult – even when English is your first language – to communicate the full consequences of your injury. For this reason, and to ensure that you claim is assessed accurately, it is in your best interests to engage to the services of a solicitor to complete the application to the Injuries Board on your behalf.
How Much Compensation for Onshore Injuries to Cruise Ship Passengers?
Settlements of compensation for onshore injuries to cruise ship passengers are calculated according to the nature and extent of the physical injury you have sustained, any psychological injuries that have been diagnosed, the deterioration in the quality of your life, and the economic cost to you of the accident. There are no punitive damages awarded in Ireland.
In the event that you or the negligent party do not agree with the Injuries Board assessment – or the negligent party fails to give their consent for the Injuries Board to conduct an assessment – you will be given an “authorisation” to contest your claim for cruise ship passenger accidents in Dublin through the courts. Court action is not always necessary, as many claims for compensation for onshore injuries to cruise ship passengers are resolved by negotiation.
Making Compensation Claims of Behalf of Your Child
If your child has been injured during an onshore excursion, you would still use the Injuries Board system to claim compensation for cruise ship passenger accidents in Dublin, but – as children are not legally allowed to represent themselves – you would be required to make the application to the Injuries Board on your child´s behalf as a “next friend”.
This process involves being approved as a “next friend” after it has been established that there is no conflict of interest, and also having the settlement of compensation approved by a judge to ensure it is in your child´s best interest. The settlement of compensation is then paid into court and released when your child is eighteen years of age – although an application can be made to the courts to release some of the funds beforehand if they are required for medical or educational purposes.
Unsolicited Approaches from Insurance Companies
When you make compensation claims for cruise ship passenger accidents in Dublin, you must be wary of unsolicited approaches from insurance companies. Often insurance companies are alerted to a potential injury compensation claim by the individual or business responsible for causing the accident. Insurance companies then try to intervene in the claims process by making you an offer of compensation.
The purpose of the insurance company´s offer is to save themselves money. Typically they will offer a settlement of compensation for cruise ship passenger accidents in Dublin much lower than would be assessed by the Injuries Board, awarded by a court or achieved through negotiation. Consequently, any unsolicited approaches from insurance companies should immediately be referred to your solicitor.
Seek Legal Advice at the First Practical Opportunity
There are circumstances in which it is possible to claim compensation for onshore injuries to cruise ship passengers by yourself – although, with little knowledge of how the Irish personal injury claims system works, you will be taking the risk of being under-compensated for your injuries. If your settlement of compensation for cruise ship passenger accidents in Dublin is insufficient to cover your repatriation costs or pay your medical bills on your return home, you will not be able to make a second claim.
Consequently it is in your best interests to speak with a personal injuries solicitor at the first practical opportunity to have the merits of your claim assessed and to receive specific legal advice that is relevant to your personal situation. Usually, a personal injuries solicitor will not charge you a fee for a preliminary assessment of your claim, and – if you have a claim for cruise ship passenger accidents in Dublin that is worth your while to pursue – you will be guided though the claims process to ensure you receive a fair and accurate settlement of compensation.