Child injured on a cruise ship's water slide...

by Scott
(Marietta, GA)

My 10 year old son slipped on an unsupervised water slide on a cruise ship (out of Jacksonville) and chipped both of his front teeth (basically in half). This happened while we were docked in Key West (4/2/12).

He was with his 9 year old friend at the time, who did not see the incident, and his 6 year old brother who was with him on the slide, but also did not see exactly what happened. An adult was near the boys on the deck, but also did not see what happened.

He was bleeding and in pain. I took him to the medical center which was closed. Then to Guest Services where they contacted the nurse. Then went back to the Medical Center where a doctor took a look and gave him ibuprofen. Security came in and took a report, then later came to our room to take pictures of his teeth.

Since we were leaving port (Key West) within the next 15 minutes or so, the doctor said if he was in serious pain, they would set us up to see a dentist in Nassau, Bahamas (our next stop).

My son's pain was not too bad and the ibuprofen helped, so we did not see a dentist in the Bahamas, but he is scheduled to see our family dentist on Monday (4/9/12). Obviously his appearance has changed and his speech has changed since the injury.

Is the cruise line responsible for my son's dental bills? Or any other compensation? Any information you can give would be appreciated. Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Child injured on a cruise ship's water slide...":

Scott (Marietta, GA):

There is a good chance the cruise line is responsible for your son's injuries and related dental costs. As long as there isn't any clear evidence your son was engaging in dangerous activities separate and unrelated to the cruise ship's scheduled activities, the cruise ship should be held liable for your son's injuries.

You state your son's "appearance has changed and his speech has changed since the injury". That seems to be a stretch from 2 chipped teeth. To recover compensation for your son's new change of appearance and speech impediments you will need verification from a dentist as well as a speech pathologist.

Unless your son's injuries are much more severe than the two chipped teeth, your compensation from the cruise line or their insurance carrier may be limited to the repair of his teeth, and an additional amount for his pain and suffering.

The amount of compensation for your son's pain and suffering will be difficult to establish. If your son's chipped teeth were going to be his final teeth, then your compensation will be higher than that if his teeth were not his final ones.

Contact the cruise line's corporate headquarters and report the incident again. Although you might be able to handle this claim by yourself, it wouldn't hurt to consult with a personal injury attorney. Most won't charge a fee for an initial office consultation.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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