Yachting Accidents

With their beautiful beaches, bays, and lakes, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and California are all states known for yachting accidents. Yachts are some of the most popular types of watercraft.  However, when negligently operated or maintained, yachts can be quite dangerous, especially when they are involved in a collision with other watercraft.

If you were injured in a yacht accident, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the party you believe was responsible for causing the accident. If you retain a skilled maritime lawyer that can prove the defendant’s liability, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries.

Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and California Yachting Accident Lawyers

If you were injured in a yachting accident, contact Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, LLP. As skilled maritime lawyers, we can help you recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and more. We can also determine who should be held liable for your losses and file a claim on your behalf.

If you reside in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, or California, our team is prepared to take your call today. Call 1 (800) 262-8529 to secure a free consultation with Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, LLP today.

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Information Center

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The Death On the High Seas Act

Generally, the Death on the High Seas Act permits family members of people killed in boating accidents to recover damages from people who caused fatal accidents. Concerning yachting accidents, individuals whose family members died in yachting accidents may be able to sue the person or vessel at fault under the Death on the High Seas Act.

Damages refer to monetary compensation an individual may receive. Under the Death on the High Seas Act, individuals may recover pecuniary damages. Pecuniary damages provide fair compensation for calculable losses associated with the death. Only close family members can sue under the Death on the High Seas Act. Expressly, family members permitted to recover damages for wrongful deaths under the Act include spouses, children, parents, and dependent relatives.

In addition, the Death on the High Seas Act applies to boat accidents, including yachting accidents, that occurred at least three miles from shore. Interestingly, the Death on the High Seas Act also covers airplane accidents at least 12 miles from the coast. The Act preempts state law, meaning that once the Act applies, family members may not file traditional wrongful death suits under state law. However, the Act does not prevent simultaneous cases in foreign courts. Moreover, foreign causes of action may constitute the basis for a case under the Death on the High Seas Act.

Furthermore, family members may recover damages under the Act even if the deceased person contributed to the accident; however, the court must reduce the damage award by the dead person’s contribution to the accident. Finally, if a yacht accident victim has a civil action pending but passes away, the victim’s family member may then bring a wrongful death case under the Death on the High Seas Act.

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State Workers’ Compensation Law

When yacht workers sustain injuries during their employment, they may wish to pursue claims for workers’ compensation. California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska state laws allow injured employees to obtain compensation from their employers. However, state worker’s compensation laws only cover certain yacht workers and may exclude most yacht workers. For state law to apply, yacht workers must work on bodies of water enclosed entirely by state lines. Many yacht workers work on the ocean, and state law does not cover them. When yacht workers are employed on navigable waters, federal law, rather than state law, applies.

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The Jones Act

Generally, seamen have no right to receive workers’ compensation benefits under state law. Under the Jones Act, yacht workers can receive damages for yachting injuries. The Jones Act covers yacht workers who are employed on navigable waters. Navigable waters include ocean waters, lakes, and rivers that traverse state lines and facilitate interstate commerce. Yacht workers who sustain work-related injuries may sue their employers under the Jones Act. In addition, US Code 46 Section 301301 allows injured workers to sue an engineer who worked on the vessel or a mate and master on the ship. The Jones Act stipulates that a worker must establish negligence on the part of their employer or another worker. Generally, employers must provide yacht workers with a reasonably safe work environment and exert ordinary care to keep the vessel safe. Failure to maintain a safe work environment constitutes negligence when an employee sustains injuries. Examples of unsafe work conditions include:

  • Slippery materials on deck
  • Broken or poorly maintained equipment
  • Lack of necessary equipment
  • Lack of correct training for the crew
  • Unsafe work procedures
  • Negligence of the seaman’s co-workers, and
  • Assault by a co-worker

To prove employer negligence, injured yacht workers must show:

  1. Their employers had a duty to take reasonable care to ensure their safety.
  2. Their employers put their safety at risk, breaching the duty of care.
  3. The yacht workers suffered an actual injury.
  4. The employers’ failure to take reasonable care contributed to or caused their injuries. Under the Jones Act, it is sufficient to show that an employer contributed to an accident, and an employee does not need to show that the employer’s actions, or lack of actions, were the sole cause of the accident.

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Statute Of Limitations

A statute of limitations is the time period in which a person may bring a lawsuit. Injured yacht workers and the family members of deceased yacht workers may wish to be aware of relevant statutes of limitations. Once a statute of limitations expires, an individual generally will not be able to bring a lawsuit to recover compensation for injury or death.

  • Death on the High Seas Act– The Death on the High Seas Act has a three-year statute of limitations. Therefore, family members of deceased yacht accident victims must file their claims within three years of the death to recover damages under the Act. However, yacht workers must tell their employers about their injuries within a week of sustaining an injury, preferably as soon as an injury occurs.
  • Jones Act– The Jones Act has a three-year statute of limitations, similar to the Death on the High Seas Act. Injured yacht workers must file claims for compensation within three years after sustaining an injury.

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Additional Resources

Death on the High Seas Act– The Death on the High Seas Act allows representatives of deceased seamen to recover damages.

Oregon State Marine Board Boating Incidents and Fatalities– The Oregon State Marine Board provides information about boating safety and statistics about boating injuries and deaths.

California Division of Boating and Waterways: California Boating Accident Statistics– The California Division of Boating and Waterways provides statistics for boating accidents in northern and southern California up to 2016.

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Yachting Accident Attorneys |  Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and California

If you have been injured in a yachting accident, contact Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, LLP. Our skilled maritime attorneys at Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, LLP know how to use the Jones Act and other maritime laws to protect your legal rights. We can review your case and help pursue effective action.  With our proven record of success, you can be confident in our ability to retain optimal compensation on your behalf.

Our knowledgeable yachting accident attorneys at Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, LLP serve clients in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and California. Call 1 (800) 262-8529 to secure a free consultation with Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, LLP today.

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  • The Maritime Law Association of The United States
    The Maritime Law Association of the United States (MLA) was founded in 1899. Its formation was prompted by the organization, some three years earlier, of the International Maritime Committee.
  • Washington State Bar Association
    The Washington State Bar Association operates under the delegated authority of the Washington Supreme Court to license the state's nearly 40,000 lawyers and other legal professionals.
  • Oregon State Bar
    The Oregon State Bar is a government agency in the U.S. state of Oregon. Founded in 1890 as the private Oregon Bar Association, it became a public entity in 1935 that regulates the legal profession.
  • Alaska Bar Association
    The Alaska Bar Association is a mandatory bar association responsible to the Alaska Supreme Court for the admission and discipline process of attorneys for the State of Alaska.