Injury on board

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Feb 10, 2017
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#1
About 6+ weeks ago, my family and I (4 of us) checked in for a 7 day cruise on HAL. Within minutes after we boarded the ship, as we were making our way to our room, my wife slipped on the stairs within the ship and suffered a fall. After a wait, we were seen by the nurse and doctor on the ship, they confirmed the fracture, temporarily splinted it and medically disembarked us stating that this would need to be seen in an ER, and require surgery. Subsequently, my wife was seen in a local ER, a procedure performed, and advised to return ASAP to our home town to see an orthopedic surgeon to schedule surgery. We stayed at a hotel that night and re-booked our flights and returned home the next day. The surgery has since occurred, and post surgical care includes physical therapy (PT) for at least 6 weeks. The doctor has recommended no return to work for at least 8 weeks from incident, possibly longer. We have been working with HAL in relation to this injury and they emailed us early on that they will "assist us with reasonable direct out of pocket medical costs with respect to this care" and asked us to send the explanation of benefits (EOBs) we receive from our insurance company. We have been sending statements as we receive them. We had not received a response other than "Thanks" to these from HAL. Some of these costs have come due and been paid to the providers out of our pocket. In attempting to follow up with HAL on how these costs will be handled, repeated emails and phone calls later, we were told yesterday that they will only pay "reasonable costs". Our attempt to ask them what exactly that is, and our request that they cover our direct out of pocket expenses in relation to this were met with resistance and we kept getting told that the same thing. They are aware that my wife's out of pocket maximum per her medical coverage is $3250. The question is -we are asking that they cover this amount (we have already met this amount out of our pocket with ambulance, ER, surgery and post surgical care so far and PT is to begin next week) and the expenses we had related to staying at a hotel that night the injury occurred. What can be expected in a situation like this from the cruise company? Any insight on handling this situation?
 
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John Galbraith

Staff Member
Director
Jan 22, 2017
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Poole
#2
Hi DGHS

Firstly I am really glad (and slightly amazed) that they have said in an email that they will assist with reasonable direct out of pocket medical costs. I say slightly amazed because i don't know the cause of the slip. I suspect that if you are still incurring expenses they are thinking they want to wait until all the expenses have been incurred so they can work out
what they think is reasonable but i appreciate that is costly to you.

Firstly stay away from phoning if possible. Email is always better because it creates a paper trial. My view (but feel free to wait for one of the advocates) is to write a short polite email to your current contact. I would write an email something along the lines of;

"Dear Sirs

Re: Re Claim for out of pocket medical costs

I refer to our recent correspondence and your email of x when you agreed to pay reasonable out of pocket medical expenses.

You asked that we provide an explanation of benefits we receive from our insurance company and we have done that. I can confirm we have incurred costs (that our insurance company will not reimburse and some of these have become due and therefore we have already had to pay these. The total amount (so far) of our reasonable out of pocket medical expenses is $x

I would be grateful therefore if you could reimburse me the amount of $x. Given I have already incurred these expenses and had to pay out of my own account I would appreciate receiving reimbursement within the next 7 days.

I look forward to hearing from you as set out above and thank you in advance for your assistance in this matter.

Yours"


If you do not get a reply within 7 days the site lists company contacts above and you can write to one of those after the week.

Hope this helps.
 

Carrie Livingston

Moderator
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Jan 6, 2015
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#3
In addition to John's advice I would make sure to mention that this is a partial reimbursement or something along those lines so if they do make partial payment, they don't later claim it was payment in full. We've got some attorneys on site who hopefully will come along and provide the legalese for that.
 

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
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#4
Did you have Travel Insurance purchased for this cruise? The credit card used to pay for the cruise also may have had travel insurance benefits, be sure and check on that.

Now explain exactly why HAL is paying for a fall on a stairway? What are the circumstances that cause HAL to be at fault? I am truely confused as to why payment should come from HAL.

If HAL truely is at fault you need an Attorney to send a letter along with your expenses.
 

John Galbraith

Staff Member
Director
Jan 22, 2017
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#5
In addition to John's advice I would make sure to mention that this is a partial reimbursement or something along those lines so if they do make partial payment, they don't later claim it was payment in full. We've got some attorneys on site who hopefully will come along and provide the legalese for that.
Thanks Carrie - I meant to make that clear in the letter. In the UK I would put something along the lines of "in making this request the payment would be in partial payment of my claim and not in full and final settlement."

I suspect that because they would want a F&F settlement is why they are waiting so they can work out what they think is reasonable.
 

John Galbraith

Staff Member
Director
Jan 22, 2017
325
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Poole
#6
Now explain exactly why HAL is paying for a fall on a stairway? What are the circumstances that cause HAL to be at fault? I am truely confused as to why payment should come from HAL.
I am surprised/amazed as well.Either they think they have some liability or someone slipped up in saying they would pay (ignoring my unintentional pun there).
 

Carrie Livingston

Moderator
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Advocate
Jan 6, 2015
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St Louis
#7
Now explain exactly why HAL is paying for a fall on a stairway? What are the circumstances that cause HAL to be at fault? I am truely confused as to why payment should come from HAL.

If HAL truely is at fault you need an Attorney to send a letter along with your expenses.
I am surprised/amazed as well.Either they think they have some liability or someone slipped up in saying they would pay (ignoring my unintentional pun there).
Me three! Didn't want to say it.
 

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
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#8
I am surprised/amazed as well.Either they think they have some liability or someone slipped up in saying they would pay (ignoring my unintentional pun there).
I have fallen down steps on a cruise ship. Learned my lesson I walk up steps but never down, I take the lift! But it never occurred that HAL, in my case was at fault for my bruised tail bone. Was there torn carpet, water on stairs? This is rather unusual but maybe you can clear it up.

We are here to help but I think we need a bit more info. The HAL contacts on at the top of the thread. But if there is a true medical claim you may need to get an Attorney to review your case.
 
Feb 10, 2017
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#9
Thank you for your responses and insight John and Carrie.

We did not have travel insurance purchased for this. We did check with the credit card we used, and they have denied any coverage for this (their terms exclude this type of incident). The family assistance department from the cruise line contacted us shortly after the accident while we were in the ER waiting for my wife to be treated. A few days later, the same department from HAL sent us a bill for medical services provided on the ship. We requested a credit back of that amount as the accident occurred on the ship even before we left on the cruise and the care that was provided was basic and temporary. They then stated that some one from claims will contact us and a few days later we received a call from claims asking us to explain the situation which we did. About a week later there was an email from claims crediting us the amount the cruise line billed us for medical charges and the same email stated that "we will assist you with reasonable direct out of pocket medical expenses with respect to this care by way of a goodwill reimbursement"

Circumstances of the fall - my wife was holding the railing and walking down the stairs beside my older son. The horizontal depth of each step seemed small, and the sole of the shoe slid over the carpeted edge of the step, and she fell down.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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New York
www.promalvacations.com
#10
It sounds like the fall is not the fault of HAL. It was an accident, your wife mis-stepped and fell. If there was no torn carpeting or something on the step that caused her to fall - she simply fell by missing a step. If this had happened the exact same way at home, would you ask for your homeowners insurance to pay the bills? And if you had purchased travel insurance, all of this would have been covered. This is just what travel insurance is for.

We have executive contacts for HAL listed on our pages - you should move up one by one to the executives and see if they can give you any more assistance.
 

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
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#13
They said that they normally would not but they are not ruling it out and would look into it.
Ok this is a clue. If HAL had any obligation, the full Cruise at the very least would have been an immediate credit. It's been 6+ weeks and even the credit for the cruise is not settled.

Did everyone in your party of 4 disembark and you are now out the cost of the cruise for all?
Do you have anything in writing about the medical expenses or the credit or refund for the cruise? Or has this all been verbally over the phone?
 
Feb 10, 2017
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#14
Yes, all 4 disembarked. The part about the medical expenses is in the email they sent. The mention of possible credit/refund of the cruise was verbal
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#15
DGHS, I am so sorry that you all missed your cruise and had to go through all the trauma following your wife's accident. Since you have HAL's pledge in writing of 'assisting you', I think that they will. But, they're not going to deal with your expenses submitted one by one. They'll need a complete package and it sounds as tho she is well enough so that you can put it together and submit to HAL.

I would draft a cover letter stating all the facts, keep it as concise as possible. Make a list of all your out-of-pocket expenses, state the total in the letter, estimate the cost of the PT and include that as well. I wouldn't hold out too much hope for much of a settlement, since HAL is not at fault. But I'm sure every little bit helps.

One thing they can definitely do is give you a credit for the four of you to take another cruise when she's well. If I were in your shoes, I would thank them for their offer of assistance with your expenses, but ask them only for another cruise. Good luck and please let us know the outcome.
 

kenish

Verified Member
Sep 1, 2015
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KSNA
#16
HAL is better than most cruise lines, from my experience. On an Alaska cruise, there was a problem where smoke and fumes filled the interior spaces of the ship. I wrote a letter to HAL saying what went great with the cruise, and what could have been done better. Though I didn't ask for any compensation (I had no "damages"), they went over and above with their personalized reply and a surprising compensation.

As others recommended, I'd stay in email or written contact with HAL but accumulate your costs before submitting them. Like most companies, compensation will probably be one time only. The check will probably have a restrictive endorsement stating it's a final settlement and you hold HAL harmless for any and all other expenses. I'd collect your EOB's and send them in when you reach OOPM (out-of-pocket maximum). You said you've hit your OOPM....was your accident before or after Jan 1st? OOPMs usually reset every calendar year, so if the accident was in December you will face a new OOPM for 2017.

I frankly would drop the hotel and other claims. As far as the cruise fares, I'd ask for a credit good for a future cruise. Note there will be a time limit to use the credit.

It's good HAL is receptive at all...most cruise lines will refer to the contract stating they aren't responsible, and trip insurance is available. Since cruise ships are foreign-flagged any legal action would be under the laws and courts of that country in most cases.
 
Nov 20, 2015
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#17
If and when you get money from HAL to cover your out of pocket medical expenses, keep in mind that your healthcare insurer may be entitled to some or even most of that money to offset their expenses.. When you're injured, your insurance company will usually send you a letter asking you to disclose any payments from third parties.

I know this seems unfair, but read over your healthcare policy, and check your state laws to be safe.

If offered, vouchers for a future cruise may be a better deal for you if you willing and able to try the cruise again.
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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#18
Hello,

I stayed at hotel in Lisbon, I fell in the bathroom on the slippery wooden board and broke my shoulder. I immediately called the reception, they came in with ice and agreed to pay for taxi to the airport because I had to catch a flight in 2 hours. I booked my hotel on Orbitz.com. I made a claim with them and also emailed the hotel management with the examination from the hospital that shows that I have a fracture.
They emailed me back saying it's under their legal department. The email said nothing more than that.
My question is how do I get some compensation for medical bills. Is it better to go through Orbitz or through hotel directly? Or is it useless to contact either because most likely I wont get anything anyway?

Thank you in advance.
It is best you start a new thread with your question so others can advise.