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 to recover for losses due to another’s negligence, including the negligence of an employer. Maritime attorneys help the victims of boating accidents determine which law applies and what claims may be filed.
If you are the victim of a boating accident, whether it was as a crew member, a passenger or in any other role, contact a skilled maritime attorney at Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski today. We represent seamen and others who are injured in boating accidents off the Pacific Coast. Laws like the Jones Act are meant to help injured maritime workers obtain justice. 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.
Boating accidents can happen in any number of ways. The sea is an unpredictable place. A boating accident could involve a collision with another boat, collision with a fixed object, flooding or swamping, grounding or a collision involving a person who is 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, to name a few. These could all be the result of negligence. Weather, hazardous waters and other forces of nature ranked lower.
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, therefore, 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 if that connection is 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 any injuries that might result, applies to crew members of vessels and other maritime employees. If you fit this description and were injured in a boating accident, you may be able to recover under the Jones Act if your maritime lawyer can sufficiently prove that your injuries were caused by your employer’s negligence. 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, or keep a vessel properly equipped with safety equipment.
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 he or she was 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.
If you were the victim of a boating accident, an attorney can assist you in getting the recovery you deserve. At Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, 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.
This article was last updated on Monday, July 9, 2018.