Choose a Boating Accident Lawyer to Navigate the Complexities of Maritime Law

As compared to other personal injury cases, boating accident claims are regulated by maritime law. Depending upon the circumstances surrounding your accident, you may be able to seek compensation under the Jones Act or the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act. To ensure you receive the restitution you deserve for injury and property damage, it is important to work with a boating accident lawyer who understands the nuances of these cases. Our lawyers have handled maritime injury cases for over five decades and can review your legal options during a private consultation. If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident in Lafayette, LA, contact a member of our team at the Law Offices of Richard. R. Kennedy.

photo of a speedboat

Types of Boating Accidents

There are a variety of accidents that fall under maritime law, including:

  • Recreational boating accident
  • Commercial fishing boat accident
  • Shrimp boat accident
  • An accident involving a push boat, tug boat, barge, or other type of commercial watercraft
  • An accident involving transfer of cargo

In comparison to accidents involving privately owned watercraft, commercial boating accident cases tend to be more complex. Multiple parties can be implicated, and the help of a lawyer is vital to negotiate with respective insurance providers on your behalf. 

Negligent Behavior

Many boating accidents could be avoided by boat operators exercising a reasonable degree of care. According to the United States Coast Guard, the primary contributing factors of accidents and casualties fall into several categories: operation of vessel, loading of passengers or gear, failure of boat or equipment, and environment. Common causes of boating accidents include:

  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Excessive speed
  • Operators violating navigation rules
  • Inadequate or nonexistent onboard navigation lights
  • Improper ventilation of carbon monoxide, or fuel vapor
  • Operator inexperience or inattention
  • Improper anchoring 
  • Overloading or loading incorrectly
  • Unsafe or sharp turns
  • Impeded vision 
  • Boating in unfavorable conditions

The Coast Guard found that there were 4,463 recreational boating accidents in 2016, of which 701 resulted in death and 2,903 in injuries. Many incidents were due to negligence or improper maintenance. At the Law Firm of Richard R. Kennedy, we believe boaters should be held legally responsible when their behavior results in injuries.

What to Do after a Boating Accident

The most important thing to do if you are injured in a boating accident is to seek medical care immediately, as waiting may compromise your case. If possible, take pictures at the scene of the accident or have someone take pictures for you. It is also important to keep a thorough log of everything that happens, including any forms you submit or sign.

If the accident occurred while you were at work, you may be covered under the Jones Act or the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA). Report the accident to your supervisor as soon as possible and fill out an accident report. Make sure the report is complete and accurate before signing it. As your employer may try to pressure you into signing an agreement placing you at fault, you should show all documents to a qualified maritime attorney before signing. 

Special Laws Regulating Boating Accidents

Boating accident cases are different than other types of personal injury lawsuits because they fall under maritime law. Also known as admiralty law, these regulations often affect the party who has jurisdiction over your case. Boating accident lawsuits can be presented federal court or state court, depending on the circumstances. 

Boating accident cases are different than other types of personal injury lawsuits because they fall under maritime law. 

If the incident occurred while you were working on a navigable vessel, you may be covered under the Jones Act. This allows seamen to file a lawsuit against negligent employers in the case of work-related injury. However, maritime workers who are not covered by the Jones Act may still be able to seek compensation under the LHWCA. An attorney can review your case and recommend the best course of action.

Types of Damages

A boating accident can have a long-term effect on your health and well-being, as well as pose a significant financial burden. You may sustain a serious injury, which diminishes your earning capacity. In addition, damage to your watercraft can inhibit you from making a living and supporting your family, if your livelihood depends upon it. Depending on the extent of your injury and its cause, you may be eligible for damages. 

One of the most common forms of damages awarded in personal injury suits is compensation for medical bills. Insurance companies may cover the bills incurred immediately after an injury. However, if you are seriously hurt, you may require more extensive care, including follow-up appointments, visits to specialists, physical therapy, and modifications to your home, as well as assistive devices such as a wheelchair. In cases involving spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, or other catastrophic injuries, the effects may last a lifetime. As such, you can also seek compensation for potential future earnings if you no longer have the ability to work.

Boating accidents can have non-economic consequences as well. Your pain and suffering is just as important to the calculation of the settlement amount as economic concerns. Our team of compassionate maritime law attorneys understands the complexities of personal injury lawsuits involving boats and other personal watercraft and has helped our clients collect millions.

Why Choose Us for Your Boating Accident Lawsuit?

Many attorneys do not have the necessary experience to handle boating accident cases. At the Law Offices of Richard R. Kennedy, such lawsuits have been a key part of our practice for almost fifty years. Our attorneys understand the complexities of maritime law. They will investigate every circumstance of your accident to seek the compensation you deserve. Our team also recognizes victims may be suffering tremendous physical and emotional pain, which is why they handle each case with compassion and a personalized approach. They will keep you fully informed about all aspects of your case. You can even talk to a member of our team on evenings, weekends, and holidays.

Contact Our Firm Today

If you are the victim of a boating accident, we will work tirelessly to help you build a strong case. Contact our office online to schedule a consultation, or call us at (337) 232-1934 or (800) 440-1934 to speak with a member of our team.