The sea is a dangerous place, and many types of accidents can occur when you’re on a boat or any other type of vessel. Boating accidents can result in death, disability, and serious injury. One of the purposes of maritime law is to allow those injured due to another’s negligence, including the negligence of an employer, to recover for losses. Maritime attorneys help the victims of boating accidents determine which laws apply and what claims may be filed.
Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and California Boating Accident Lawyers
If you were the victim of a boating accident, whether it was as a crew member, passenger, or in any other role, contact a skilled maritime attorney at BoatLaw, LLP. We represent seamen and others who were injured in boating accidents off the Pacific Coast. Call us today at 1 (800) 262-8529 to schedule a consultation.
We represent clients throughout the Pacific Northwest, including in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and California. Our offices are in Seattle and Bellingham, Washington; Portland, Oregon; and San Francisco, California.
Information on Boating Accidents
- Causes of Boat Accident Injuries
- Does the Jones Act Apply to My Boating Accident?
- Can I Recover If I Am Not Covered by the Jones Act?
- Additional Resources
Causes of Boat Accident Injuries
Boating accidents can happen in any number of ways. A boating accident could involve a collision with another boat or a fixed object, flooding or swamping, grounding, or a collision involving a person in the water, including a swimmer, diver, skier, or person who has fallen overboard.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the number one cause of recreational boating accidents is operator inattention, followed by improper lookout, operator inexperience, machinery failure, intoxication, excessive speed, and a violation of navigation rules. Weather, hazardous waters and other forces of nature ranked lower than various forms of negligence.
Does the Jones Act Apply to My Boating Accident?
The Jones Act is a federal law that, among other provisions, allows seamen the right to recover from maritime employers. Whether or not the Jones Act pertains to your accident depends on whether or not you meet the definition of “seaman.” The Jones Act defines a “seaman” as a person who contributes to the mission or operation of a vessel or of an identifiable group of vessels, or has some sort of connection through his or her employment to a vessel or group of vessels. The connection must be substantial in both duration (time) and nature (the job duties are significantly tied to the vessel or vessels).
The Jones Act, as it pertains to boating accidents and injuries, applies to crew members of vessels and other maritime employees. If you fit this description and were injured in a boating accident, and your injuries were caused by your employer’s negligence, you may be able to recover under the Jones. Negligence can include acts and omissions by the employer, including the failure to properly train other workers, have policies in place that ensure the safety of crew members and other employees, and keep a vessel properly equipped with safety equipment.
Can I Recover If I Am Not Covered by the Jones Act?
If you are not covered by the Jones Act and are injured at sea in a boating accident involving either a commercial vessel or a recreational vessel, there are other laws that may be applicable to your situation.
The applicable law may depend on the extent of the injuries you or your loved one suffered and how far you were from the shore. For instance, if your loved one died at sea in a boat accident and was more than 3 nautical miles away from the shore of the United States, you may recover under the Death on the High Seas Act. If they were closer than 12 miles, the wrongful death statutes of the state or territory generally apply.
Your attorney will help identify the best way for you to recover if injured in a boating accident due to another’s negligence.
Additional Resources for Boating Accident
The Jones Act – Follow the link provided to read the complete text of the Jones Act. The majority of the act deals with commerce, but read section 33 to learn more about compensation for injuries at sea.
Recreational Boat Statistics | U.S Coast Guard – View a PDF from the U.S Coast Guard providing the most recent set of data for boating accident statistics. You can find out which percent of boating accidents are fatal, primary contributing factors and the number of accidents by vessel type.
BoatLaw, LLP | Boat Accident Attorneys in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and California
If you were the victim of a boating accident, an attorney can assist you in getting the recovery you deserve. At BoatLaw, LLP, we are experienced in all areas of admiralty law and can identify the applicable statutes or precedents for your case. Call us today at 1 (800) 262-8529 if you were involved in a boating accident in the Pacific Northwest.