Pennsylvania waterways are full of commercial and recreational activity and our waterways are an important contributor to Pennsylvania’s economy. The downside to having such busy waterways is that sometimes offshore accidents and injuries happen. Whether injured while working or playing on the water, it is important to have a boating and maritime accident attorney who understands the rules of the water when it comes to offshore accidents, injuries, and liability. Boat and maritime accident attorneys understand federal and state laws as they apply to water accidents and they are experienced in representing injury victims seeking compensation for their resulting injuries and damages.
Responsible parties in boating accidents
Parties that are commonly liable in waterway accidents include the following:
- Employers and workers’ compensation insurance are usually responsible for offshore injuries sustained by workers. Accidents that occur while working on the water are often subject to federal maritime laws such as the Jones Act or the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. Federal laws governing these injuries and accidents can be complicated and only attorneys who are knowledgeable in maritime law should handle these cases.
- Manufacturers and sellers of defective vessels may be responsible for injuries caused by those defects.
- Negligent boat operators and owners that cause accidents and injuries may be liable. Negligent behaviors include drinking alcohol, speeding, failing to follow the rules of the water, failing to have a lookout when necessary, poor boat maintenance, and failing to have the appropriate water flotation and rescue devices on board.
- Cruise ship owners and operators may also be liable for injuries sustained by passengers. River cruises are a favorite getaway for Pennsylvania residents, but sometimes those trips do not go as planned. Cruise ship injuries may be caused by things such as overcrowded boats, negligent or inexperienced operators, faulty equipment, and inadequate safety measures/precautions.
Types of boat accident injuries and recovery
Offshore accidents and resulting injuries are often severe and sometimes deadly. Depending on the cause and type of accident that occurs, injuries may include drowning, burns, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, cuts and lacerations, chemical exposure, and broken bones. Recoverable damages for boat accidents caused by someone else’s fault may include medical expenses, future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, property damage, and pain and suffering.
Wrongful death and survival actions
When an innocent victim suffers fatal water accident injuries caused by someone else’s fault, surviving family members may sometimes recover for their own damages. Family members suffer significant losses when they lose a loved one which may include loss of financial support, funeral and burial expenses, medical bills, and loss of support and services. Survival actions are also sometimes available to recover for damages sustained by the deceased between the time of the accident and the time of his or her death. Recoveries in survival actions benefit the deceased’s estate.