Water and watercraft carry inherent risk in both commercial and recreational settings. As such, there is a well-established body of law practiced by admiralty attorneys who work with individuals and families who suffered injuries or death due to accidents on the water or on ship docks.
The types of injuries that occur in recreational vehicles on the water can include loss of limbs, severe internal injuries, drowning, catastrophic head injuries, and death due to any of these occurrences. On land, plaintiffs can pursue compensation for victims and families as personal injury cases under state or federal court jurisdiction. But for injuries that occur at sea, an admiralty attorney must deal with a different set of circumstances.
Complex laws require knowledgeable legal guidance
The complexity of maritime accidents requires attorneys with specific experience in maritime law. For example, an admiralty attorney understands how to retrieve and interpret a Coast Guard Report for recreational boating accidents, which can include any of the following scenarios:
• Accidents due to negligence, including intoxication by one or several parties
• Collisions involving another recreational watercraft (negligent or incompetent operation)
• Collisions involving larger, commercial vessels
• Accidents involving jet skis, parasails or speedboats
• Accidents on or near shore, such as on a boat dock
• Accidents involving uninsured second parties
In addition, admiralty attorneys sometimes pursue products liability litigation in cases of product failure, such as those involving tangled sails, inadequate guardrail design, malfunctioning engines, or other design or manufacturing flaws from the maker of the watercraft or related manufacturers or distributors.
In both personal injury and products liability cases, pursuit of a settlement from negligent parties is handled on a contingency basis. Plaintiffs (victims and their families) therefore only pay attorneys fees upon successful settlement of the lawsuit.
Damages to vehicles and other property loss as a result of the negligence of another party can also be pursued in a lawsuit. However, under most circumstances, the courts do not award compensation to a boat owner for loss of use of a recreational vehicle. This is established case law going back to the late nineteenth century. The only exceptions are non-accident related, such as when a seller fails to provide clean title in transaction of a recreational vehicle. The legal definitions change, of course, when the vehicle is used for commercial purposes.
Powell & Majestro provides legal representation to clients in personal injury litigation, including cases where maritime law applies and where a Jones Act lawyer is required. The firm is experienced in working on behalf of injured seamen, tourists, and the operators of recreational seagoing craft in both inland waterways and open seas. Contact us today.