Louisiana and Gulf Coast residents enjoy access to the Gulf of Mexico, Lake Pontchartrain and a vast network of rivers and bayous. Our waterways are a source of recreation as well as a hub of commerce. From gargantuan tankers and container ships leaving the Port of New Orleans to folks on jet skis and pontoon boats enjoying the day on a placid lake, our waterways can be as busy as any highway. And just like traffic accidents, collisions, and injuries happen every day on the road, so too do boating accidents and injuries on the water.
Given the many ways we spend time on the water and the many kinds of vessels we use, boating accidents and injuries happen in a wide variety of circumstances. They often are the result of another boater’s negligence, such as carelessness, failure to follow safety rules, speeding, disobeying no wake zones and operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Whether you are a seaman or dockworker injured on the job or a recreational boater injured while enjoying time on the water, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. But maritime law and accidents can be complicated, involving federal as well as state laws. It is important to consult with an experienced New Orleans boat accident lawyer to understand your rights and learn about your options.
Common Boating Accidents
At Bloom Legal, we have experience with boating accidents and injuries of all kinds. Some of the most common types of boating accidents which result in injuries and claims for compensation include:
Commercial Boating Accidents
When you make your living on the water, every day presents unique dangers. Careless operations, equipment failures, and deck fires are just a few of the ways in which seamen can suffer life-changing injuries. Whether you work on a tanker, barge, tugboat, or any other commercial vessel, a serious injury can keep you laid up and out of work for a long time.
The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, provides protections for injured seamen and allows them to sue their employer for the negligence that caused their injury. Additionally, other claims may be available which could result in compensation for injuries suffered while working on a commercial vessel. At Bloom Legal, we work with injured seamen and their families to get them the maximum amount of compensation available.
Jet Ski Accidents
Jet skis and other personal watercraft can be fun and exhilarating. But a combination of speed, water conditions, and a lack of experience or instruction can lead to tragic consequences. So too can operating such craft under the influence of alcohol or drugs or while disregarding basic safety rules. Being so close to the surface and fully exposed with minimal if any protective gear, Jet ski operators are particularly vulnerable to serious injuries or death.
Our firm has significant experience representing those injured in jet ski and personal watercraft accidents. When such craft are rented from concessionaires who fail to properly train the rider, maintain the craft, or otherwise are negligent in entrusting their rentals, we seek and obtain compensation from them for their negligence.
Money may be able to buy you a beautiful yacht, but it doesn’t necessarily buy owners or operators of yachts the proper training and experience to safely operate such large and hard to maneuver vessels. This, along with many other factors such as speeding, ignoring safety rules, failing to maintain the vessel, and failing to follow navigational rules, can lead to injuries to passengers as well as those on other boats. No matter the cause or nature of injuries caused in a yacht accident, Bloom Legal can help victims of boater negligence get compensation for their injuries.
Shrimping and Fishing Boat Accidents
At Bloom Legal, we have the utmost respect for the hard-working men and women who spend long days along the Gulf Coast and on our state’s waterways on shrimping and fishing boats. As with all seamen on commercial vessels, crewmen on shrimping and fishing boats may be entitled to compensation for their injuries under federal maritime law, including the Jones Act. Boat owners owe their crewmen a duty to provide a safe working environment, which includes maintaining and operating the boat properly. If a fishing or shrimping boat crewman is injured through negligence or unseaworthiness, he may claim damages for lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, and medical expenses.
Pontoon Boat Accidents
Pontoon boats are perfect for a relaxing afternoon on the water, but the fact that they aren’t built for speed like other types of boats doesn’t mean they are free from danger. In fact, passengers on pontoon boats may be even more at risk for injuries. More people die in pontoon boat accidents every year than in jet ski accidents, for example. That can be due to conduct such as “bow riding,” or sitting outside railings on the edge of the boat, dangling feet over the side. This can lead to drownings, propeller accidents, and run-over accidents. Poor training, alcohol use, and failure to follow safety rules can all contribute to pontoon boat injuries or deaths. Operators of the boat as well as concessionaires who rent pontoon boats can be held accountable for their negligence.
Marina and Dock Accidents
Not all boating accidents happen away from shore. Dockworkers, longshoremen, and others who work or are present on marinas or docks can be injured when boats or other equipment are operated or maintained negligently. Workers may have remedies under the Jones Act and other federal law, and we have the experience and knowledge of dock operations to effectively obtain compensation for our injured clients.
Party Boat Accidents
It’s no surprise that alcohol can be the culprit in many party boat accidents, whether it is an intoxicated operator who causes a collision, or a drunk passenger who falls overboard. But other factors may lead to serious injuries as well, and when those injuries are the result of negligence on the part of the owner, operator, or others responsible for the boat, we fight to hold those parties responsible.
Waterskiing and Towing Accidents
Being pulled behind a boat at high speed can result in horrific injuries when vulnerable and unprotected individuals crash into the water, other boats, or other objects such as docks and wharfs. If the driver of the boat acts recklessly or in violation of safety rules, they can be held accountable for the injuries they inflict on those who put their trust in them.
Types of Boating Injuries
We represent individuals injured in boating accidents no matter the cause, nature or degree of their injuries. This includes obtaining compensation for those injured in:
- Propeller Accidents – serious lacerations, dismemberment, and internal injuries are just a few of the impacts that the sharp, rapidly spinning blades of a propeller can inflict on those in the water as well as those on the boat.
- Run-over Accidents. Swimmers or passengers who fall overboard can suffer traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries, disfigurement, and death when run-over by a boat.
- Overboard Accidents- When passengers or workers fall overboard, the impact can not only seriously injure them but can also render them unconscious. This, along with rough water conditions or an inability to swim, can lead to drowning.
- Drowning Accidents – Any time spent on a boat can lead to time spent in the water unexpectedly. Dangerous conditions, lack of life jackets or an ability to swim, and injuries which interfere with a person’s ability to stay above water can cause drowning accidents.
- Slip and Falls on a Vessel – As do owners of property on land, boat owners and operators must keep their decks and other surfaces free from slip and fall dangers which can lead to serious injury.
- Crew Member Accidents – The nature of the work and equipment used on commercial vessels present constant dangers to crew members.
Call Bloom Legal Today for a Free Consultation to Discuss Your Boating Accident Injuries
With experience, fierce advocacy, and a deep understanding of the unique issues involved in boating accidents, Bloom Legal will fight to get you what you deserve when you have been affected by an accident on the water in New Orleans. Contact Bloom Legal today at 504-636-6729 or through our contact form to arrange for your free consultation to discuss the details of your claim.
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Posted by: Sarah Perrie