Bangkok city tour bus crash leaves cruise passengers needing shore excursion accident lawyers.
South East Asian Cruise
Needing shore excursion accident lawyers in the future did not cross Roger’s mind when he went into his local travel agent to book a well deserved break.
Roger was on a 14 night South East Asian cruise with his wife Deirdre. They were in their early 70s. One of the ports of call was Bangkok where the couple were keen to see the Grand Palace and Golden Buddha.
Choosing the shore excursion
Roger and Deirdre researched Bangkok and learnt about the dangers of tourists being taken advantage of by taxi drivers. They were also concerned about road safety in general in a private vehicle.
The couple were therefore delighted to read in their ship’s newsletter that one of the shore excursions the cruise line was offering was a city tour of Bangkok, including entrance to the Grand Palace and Golden Buddha. The cruise line assured passengers in the newsletter and brochures that their tours were safe, and if there were any delays to one of their shore excursions, the ship would wait.
Booking the shore excursion
Roger and Deirdre went to the shore excursion desk and bought tickets for the tour using their cruise card. The tickets were given to them in an envelope with the cruise line’s logo on the front. The envelope was sealed.
When the couple returned to their cabin, they opened the envelope to check the timings and meeting point for the excursion. They noticed terms and conditions on the back of the tickets but did not read them.
Boarding the tour bus
On the day of the tour, the couple listened to the announcements for passengers going on the cruise line’s shore excursions. They waited at the official meeting point on the dock next to the cruise line’s branded sign for shore excursions.
The dock was buzzing with activity. The ship’s crew in cruise line uniform organised the passengers and told them which bus to go on for their particular tour. Roger and Deirdre were invited to board an unbranded mini bus, with a cardboard sign in the windscreen with the cruise line’s logo on it.
When the couple boarded the mini bus, they noticed that none of the passenger seatbelts were long enough to go round their laps. They assumed that as it was the cruise line’s excursion, perhaps seatbelts were not required in Thailand and the vehicle must be safe.
Tour bus crash
Roger and Deirdre enjoyed the sights of Bangkok. On the way back to the port, they hit heavy traffic. The couple could see that time was running out to get back to the ship on time, and were reassured that the ship would wait for them as they were on a ship sponsored excursion.
The driver’s driving became erratic as he tried to make up time. He sped up to get through a set of traffic lights, but went through a red light. The traffic in front was stationary in another queue, and the tour bus driver could not slow down in time. The tour bus went into the back of the vehicle in front.
Roger, Deirdre and the other passengers were thrown forward and back in their seats as they were not wearing seatbelts.
It transpired that the tour was so popular that an extra bus had been provided so that the cruise line could sell more tickets. It also transpired that the driver was only licensed to drive a car and not a minibus.
Injuries and treatment
Roger and Deirdre both sustained whiplash injuries to their necks. Roger also hit his head on the seat in front and broke his nose.
The tour guide contacted the ship and another tour bus came to collect the passengers. Once on board, Roger and Deirdre attended the ship’s medical centre.
They had x-rays and were given painkillers. They were charged for the consultation and treatment, which upset the couple given that the accident had occurred on the cruise line’s official tour. Fortunately they had travel insurance to claim back their expenses.
Remainder of the cruise
Roger and Deirdre struggled with the rest of the cruise.
They were both in pain and spent most of the time resting in their cabin. Deirdre suffered side effects from the pain killers. When they went out for meals, Roger felt self conscious about his broken nose and grew tired of it becoming a talking point amongst other passengers.
The remainder of the cruise was ruined.
Injuries do not subside
When the couple returned home to Perth at the end of the cruise, they sought treatment from their GP. He arranged further scans which confirmed that the accident had aggravated pre-existing arthritis in both of them. He also confirmed the diagnosis of Roger’s broken nose.
Deirdre could no longer do the gardening or look after her grandchildren due to her neck pain. Roger’s stiff neck stopped him from driving. He also could no longer play golf, which was his main social activity.
The couple’s enjoyment of life was severely restricted by their injuries.
Complaint to cruise line
The couple decided to complain to the cruise line about the accident and their injuries.
They were unable to get through to the right department by phone, so they sent an email. After several chasing emails, the couple were offered a refund of the onboard medical charges.
The couple did not accept this and tried to escalate their complaint. The cruise line offered a low value cruise credit in addition to the medical charges refund.
The cruise line were adamant that they would make no further offers. They alleged that the shore excursion was provided by an independent contractor as stated in the terms and conditions on the tickets, and was therefore not their responsibility.
Couple seek legal advice from shore excursion accident lawyers
Frustrated with the cruise line’s customer service, Roger and Deirdre sought legal advice from Victoria Roy.
Victoria is highly experienced in shore excursion accident claims. She established that the terms and conditions on the back of the tickets had not been incorporated into the shore excursion ticket contract.
Victoria also submitted a claim to the cruise line for being negligent in their choice of excursion provider, failing to ensure the safety of tour buses, failing to ensure that drivers held appropriate licences, and breaches of the Australian Consumer Law.
Victoria arranged for Roger and Deirdre to be examined by medical experts to provide reports for the claim. She also took witness statements from the couple and their children to evidence the effect that the injuries had had on them.
Shore excursion accident lawyers resolve case
After gathering all the evidence to support Roger and Deirdre’s claims, Victoria advised the couple on the likely value of their cases and invited the cruise line to hold a settlement meeting.
Roger and Deirdre both settled their claims against the cruise line for sums that they were very happy with. They did not have to go to court.
By obtaining advice from specialist shore excursion accident lawyers, Roger and Deirdre now have money to make life easier, like getting taxis to get out again, and to treat their grandchildren.
Real client names and identifying features cannot be published for confidentiality reasons, both to maintain client confidentiality and in accordance with settlement agreements. The above case study is an amalgamation of our founder and principal solicitor Victoria Roy’s previous successful cases and are typical of the expertise of Victory Travel & Cruise Lawyers.