Louisiana has one of the longest coastlines in the United States, along with one of the highest percentages of water. Thus, it is no surprise that a large number of boating accidents happen in the state annually, involving not only ships and other commercial vessels but also recreational watercraft such as speedboats, airboats, Jet Skis, kayaks, and personal fishing boats. Often, boating accidents fall under admiralty or maritime law, a complex area of the law that is filled with codes, rules, and regulations best interpreted by a maritime law attorney. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a crash on the water, the experienced Lafayette boating accident lawyers at Broussard & David can assist you in trying to hold the responsible party accountable.
Maritime law includes the pursuit of compensation for injuries that result from boating accidents, as well as issues pertaining to navigation, operation, and crewing. Maritime-admiralty law differs from “the Law of the Sea,” which is a broader area of the law that addresses the many commercial and transit issues of ships and aircraft. Depending upon the particular claim at hand, a maritime or admiralty case may be resolved in either federal court or the state courts of Louisiana, which may have exclusive or concurrent jurisdiction.Pursuing Compensation for an Injury or Death in a Boating Accident
Boating accident claims arising from non-commercial watercraft accidents are usually pursued under a theory of negligence. Proving a negligence claim requires the plaintiff to establish four elements: that the defendant owed the plaintiff a legal duty, that the defendant breached the duty, that damages arose, and that the breached duty directly led to the damages. There are many ways in which a boating accident may occur, such as distracted boating, boating under the influence, a failure to keep a proper lookout, excessive speed, and a failure to exercise due caution. Product liability and premises liability cases may also arise after boating accidents if a defective product or a landowner’s lack of care was the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.
If a person injured in a boating accident is able to prove negligence, they may be able to recover damages for past and future medical expenses, loss of earnings, pain and suffering, and any other costs and losses. In wrongful death cases, the family of a deceased person may be able to recover medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, and possibly noneconomic damages, such as the deceased person’s pain and suffering and the family’s loss of companionship and guidance.
Boating accident claims in which a qualifying seaman is injured are usually resolved under the Jones Act (also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920) or the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. The Jones Act is a federal law that protects the rights of seamen aboard vessels engaged in the transportation of goods within the nation, including shipping along the coast. Among other things, the Jones Act includes provisions that allow a qualifying seaman to pursue monetary compensation for injuries suffered due to an employer’s negligence or the unseaworthiness of a particular vessel. The Longshoreman’s Act is more in line with traditional state workers’ compensation laws and may not require proof that the maritime employer was at fault in the accident. However, the available damages may be less than under the Jones Act.Discuss Your Boating Accident Case with a Lafayette Lawyer
If you have been hurt in a Louisiana boating accident, or if you have lost a family member, you need advice and counsel on which you can rely. The knowledgeable injury lawyers at Broussard & David are dedicated to seeking justice for injured boaters, seamen, longshoremen, and others who have been hurt on the water. Our Lafayette boating accident attorneys represent people in Lafayette, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, New Iberia, Eunice, Lake Charles, Alexandria, and other areas of Lafayette, Orleans, East Baton Rouge, Iberia, St. Landry, Calcasieu, and Rapides Parishes. Call us at (888) 337-2323 or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation.