Baby boomers and pop culture enthusiasts will no doubt remember many a Saturday night watching the hi-jinks on the popular show television show, The Love Boat.

Whether you were interested in Gopher’s many mis-haps or Julie’s new beau, The Love Boat always offered great fun. Sailing with Captain Stubing was safe, secure and benignly adventurous. Who wouldn’t love to ignite a romance on an ocean-bound vessel, complete with cabaret shows, buffets and poolside antics?

Do you have a sinking feeling?

But what happens when those antics turn from frivolity to frightening, from lighthearted to lethal? While most people return from a cruise with warm and pleasant memories–what if your story is not a happy one? What if you or your traveling companion suffers food-borne illness or, worse, a traumatic brain or spinal cord injury?

While southbound ships offer an air of exotic excitement, in reality they are nothing more than floating cities–and anything that can happen in a city can happen on your cruise. What should you do if you find yourself a victim?

Taking the wind out of the their sails

The single most important thing you can do if you are hurt on a cruise ship is refuse, under any circumstances, to sign a statement, release or waiver without first consulting an attorney. Just as in any accident–whether it be a car wreck or a grocery store slip-and-fall–the folks in charge want to minimize their losses.

Signing a release or statement can adversely affect your case and potentially limit your financial recovery. It is critical that you wait until you can speak with a lawyer who can advise you of proper procedures. You don’t want to add something to a report that could inadvertently hurt your claim, nor do you want to omit information that might help it.

Leave this area to a skilled counselor-at-law. While this might seem like any other personal injury case, it isn’t. Landlubber law does not control the high seas, maritime law does. Fault can be fuzzy, negligence can be nebulous and what seems like impartial information to you might be anything but. In these cases, and in order to ensure that you receive remuneration for your medical bills, lost wages and other damages, protect yourself by seeking salient legal advice.