Boat Accident Lawyer

Maritime accidents are subject to a different set of laws than accidents on land. If you suffer from an injury caused by a recreational vessel, a cruise ship, a port accident, or similar maritime injury, you will need a boat accident lawyer who can navigate your claim through these unique laws from initial consultation to award or settlement.

Boating and Maritime Accident Lawyers

Our boating and maritime accident lawyers have a long history and proven record of getting compensation for individuals injured in maritime accidents, whether they are maritime workers on land or sea or passengers on a vessel.

While not all are catastrophic, and in fact, many barely register public notice, even the most minor maritime accident is a reminder of how important it is to observe safety rules and regulations. Maritime accidents often have a broad reach, affecting not only the lives of those involved in the accident–such as a vessel’s crew and passengers–but also impacting the marine life and the environment.

Maritime accidents may involve vessels ranging from small private pleasure boats to large working ships like commercial fishing vessels, oil tankers, tugboats and cargo ships. These accidents also may affect structures such as oil drilling platforms, cranes and even the shipyard itself.

U.S. maritime law is a body of laws, regulations, and international treaties and agreements governing activities in any navigable waters, the open sea, and in some cases on land. Federal courts have jurisdiction over maritime law, and while maritime workers who work aboard seagoing vessels do not qualify for traditional workers compensation coverage, maritime laws provide some legal remedies for employment-related injuries.

Boat and Ship Accidents

Small Boat Accidents

Our maritime accident attorneys handle both personal injury and maritime claims, depending on the type of vessel involved, the location of the accident, and other considerations. Our boating accident lawyers handle many cases involving recreational boats, such as open and cabin motorboats, tour boats and charter boats, and more individualized vessels such as jet skis. Boating accidents involving smaller vessels could be subject to either U.S. maritime law or state liability laws, depending on the circumstances.

Negligence is the most common denominator in accidents involving small boats. Negligence that leads to boating injuries often involves:

  • Alcohol or drug use
  • Not following boating rules
  • Excessive speed, especially in areas where other, smaller craft are present
  • Reckless maneuvering
  • Failure to provide onboard safety equipment

Cruise Ship Accidents

Although relatively rare, cruise ship accidents do occur, turning long-awaited dream vacations into nightmares at sea for scores of passengers. Cruise ships may capsize or run aground as a result of rough weather, mechanical problems or negligence. Rough weather may also result in passengers becoming ill or falling and becoming injured. Due to weather or other mishaps, ships may become stranded at sea, subjecting passengers to dangers from the elements as air conditioning, refrigeration and sanitation systems become inoperable. Passengers also may face dangers resulting from ill-trained or negligent crew onboard ships. Serious personal injury and even death sometimes occur during a shore excursion or at a spa, pool or restaurant.

If you are injured while on a cruise, you will need a maritime accident lawyer who knows the various maritime laws and regulations that will affect your case. Your lawyer must also have the experience and proven track record to bring your claim to a successful resolution.

Cargo Ship Accidents

Cargo ships and container ships are similar vessels that can transport large and heavy loads of commercial goods and materials. Companies use them to travel between U.S. ports or to ship freight internationally. Other types of cargo vessels may include tankers, which transport petroleum, petrochemicals, and other liquid cargo, and dry-bulk carriers.

One of the major causes of accidents on cargo tankers is explosions. Cargo tanker explosions may result in loss of the vessel, its cargo, and loss of life, as well as environmental damage.

Cargo ships also may pose hazards to crews that work to load and unload the ships, those who work on the vessel during transportation of goods, and others who contact the vessel on the sea or in port. Crane accidents may take place in ports or on ships. Crane accidents are often the result of faulty wires or winches or also may be due to operator negligence or inexperience. Different rules apply to workers who are injured offshore than those who are injured at port.

Cargo ship crew, workers, and other seamen do not qualify for workers compensation, but can seek compensation for injuries suffered at sea through several remedies provided under U.S. maritime law. If you are a maritime worker who has been injured on the job, Beasley Allen’s personal injury and maritime accident lawyers bring the skill, knowledge, and experience your case needs to get you the compensation you deserve.

Other Maritime Accidents and Disasters

Shipyard Accidents

Shipyards, where ships are constructed and maintained, are rife with hazards. Accidents in shipyard facilities include fitting and welding accidents and illness from the inhalation of poisonous fumes released during welding and other toxic exposures. Shipyard workers who are injured on the job usually qualify for workers compensation. In contrast, maritime workers who work about vessels (seamen) can seek compensation for on-the-job injuries through remedies provided by maritime law, primarily the Jones Act — a century-old federal law that gives injured maritime workers the right to sue their employer for compensation.

If you are a maritime industry employee and suffered an on-the-job injury, Beasley Allen’s maritime accident lawyers will work with you to identify and pursue your best course of legal action – one that will maximize your claim and get you the compensation you need and deserve.

Oil and Gas Platform Accidents

An oil or gas platform, also commonly called an offshore platform or oil rig, is a large structure in a large body of water, usually the ocean, with the facilities to drill wells, extract and process oil or gas and temporarily store it for transport to refineries on land. The platform may be fixed to the ocean floor, attached to or comprise an artificial island, or may be floating and movable. Large oil and gas platforms will provide accommodations for crew, which live and work on the platform for set periods of time.

They are complex structures with heavy machinery and complex operating processes. These platforms are located in an often volatile environment, subject to the whims of the weather, marine life and the elements.

Perhaps the best-known oil platform tragedy is a recent one. On April 20, 2010, a massive offshore oil rig known as the Deepwater Horizon exploded and caught fire in the Gulf of Mexico, about 50 miles from Louisiana’s coastal wetlands. The Deepwater Horizon was one of 14 offshore oil rigs owned and operated by Transocean in the Gulf of Mexico. The rig was under lease to oil giant BP for exploratory drilling when the explosion occurred. Eleven workers were killed.

Firefighters and the U.S. Coast Guard fought for two days to contain the fire, but the rig sank on April 22, releasing nearly a million gallons of diesel fuel into the Gulf waters and creating a nearly unstoppable leak of crude. It took four months to seal the well and stop the flow of oil. This eventually became the biggest oil disaster the U.S. has ever seen.

Contact a Boat Accident Attorney

We live by our creed of “helping those who need it most” and have helped thousands of clients get the justice they desperately needed and deserved. If you feel you have a case or just have questions please contact us for a free consultation. There is no risk and no fees unless we win for you.

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