Should You Sue Over a Boat Racing Accident?
If you have been injured in a boat racing accident, whether you were the operator of a boat, a passenger, or a bystander, then you may have an opportunity to collect damages, or compensation for your injury. Whether to file a lawsuit to collect compensation for your injuries and related expenses will depend on a number of factors.
It is important to understand that boat racing accidents fall under a different area of law then most other personal injury lawsuits. This is because whereas state law usually applies to accidents on land, such as auto accidents, boat racing accidents and other accidents that occur on water fall under the purview of what is known as maritime law. Maritime law differs significantly from civil personal injury law in certain ways, which will affect whether you should sue.
Boat Racing Accident Lawsuits
Under civil law, if you are injured in an accident, such as an automobile accident, then you have to prove that another partys negligent actions caused the accident that caused your injury. To prove this point, you and your personal injury lawyer will gather evidence and witness testimony.
However, with accidents that occur on water, including boat racing accidents, this process is hampered by the fact that water leaves little evidence. This may make it much more difficult for you to prove negligence in a boat racing accident lawsuit, which may mean that you do not have a fairly good chance of winning damages.
In addition, the statute of limitations, or time period in which you can sue for personal injury cases under civil law, can vary widely from state to state.
With accidents that fall under maritime law, injured parties usually have about three years to file suit. This makes filing suit difficult since treatment often extends well past this time period. In addition, the statute of limitations could be shorter depending on certain factors.
Because maritime law is fairly complex, it is best to consult a maritime lawyer to see what your rights to sue are under the law and if it is in your best interests to file suit.
Boat Racing Accidents at Work
If the boat racing accident you were involved in happened while you were working on a ship, you may be eligible to seek workers compensation under the Jones Act.
The Jones Act compensates those who predominantly spend their working hours on a ship and contribute to the work of the ship. It replaces state workers compensation, which does not apply to injuries that occur for those that work on water.
The Jones Act covers many different occupations. If your injury occurred while you were performing any of these jobs, you may be entitled to benefits under the Jones Act:
- Tugboat operator
- Cruise ship employee
- Fish processor
- Transportation employee
- Oil platform worker
- Commercial diver
In order to receive benefits under the Jones Act, you must prove one of two things: either that you were working in unseaworthy conditions, which caused your accident, or that your employers negligence caused the accident.
Unseaworthy conditions can apply to a vessel, vessel appliances, or the crew. The term means that something was not reasonably fit for its intended purpose. This could mean that a part of the ship was damaged or that the crew was improperly trained or qualified.
Employer negligence could be a number of things including failing to adhere to safety guidelines, failure to provide adequate medical care after an injury, or failure to correct an unsafe working condition.
Once again, if you think your boat racing accident falls under the Jones Act, you should contact a maritime lawyer immediately.