Can You Sue over Boat Race Accident Injuries?
Speedboat accidents can cause severe injuries due to their high speeds. If you are injured as a result of a boat race accident, you may be entitled to compensation through one of a couple of avenues.
However, it should be noted that most boat race accidents do not fall under the area of tort law known as personal injury law. Because such accidents take place on the water, state laws do not apply. Rather a special area of law known as maritime law applies.
Boat Race Accident Statistics
The U.S. Coast Guard collects statistics on recreational boating accidents annually.
According to a report, out of 6,347 accidents reported, 48 involved boat racing. Of these boat racing accidents, eight resulted in death while 12 resulted in injuries.
Boat Race Accident Litigation
Whereas civil law provides the right for an individual to sue if someone elses negligence resulted in an accident that then caused the person to sustain an injury, this is not necessarily true for boat racing accidents.
Under maritime law, there is a strict statute of limitations. For most boating accidents, the statute of limitations will be, at most, three years. Oftentimes the length of time the injured person receives treatment exceeds this three-year limit. In addition, the time limitation can be made even shorter if the person injured signed some sort of contract. This is common in injuries involving passengers on cruise ships.
In addition, whether you have a right to sue at all may be in dispute due to the complexities of maritime law. That is why it is critical that you talk to a maritime lawyer as soon after you sustain the injury as possible. The lawyer will be able to help guide you through the litigation process and advise you on whether you are able to sue at all.
Workers Compensation on the Water
If the boat race accident occurred while you were working and if you predominantly work on the water, then you may be eligible to receive benefits through what is known as the Jones Act.
Because state workers compensation laws do not apply to most areas of water, those who work on vessels must apply for compensation under the Jones Act. The Jones Act says that if an employer is negligent or if working conditions are unseaworthy, then the injured employee can receive compensation for a variety of things, including medical expenses and wages lost.
Employer negligence can take on many forms. Some examples include ignoring safety guidelines, improperly equipping workers, and failing to correct an unsafe working condition.
Unseaworthy conditions exist when the vessel, crew, or equipment on the vessel is not reasonably fit for its intended use. This can include faulty appliances or an ill-trained crew.
Because of the complexities of maritime law, if you are seeking compensation under the Jones Act, you should first consult a maritime lawyer.