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The Jones Act (or maritime law) was passed by the U.S. Congress to protect injured seamen. This law also applies to recreational boaters. If a boating accident occurs, the operator of the vessel is required to file a report when:
- Someone dies
- An injury can't be treated by first aid
- Damage occurs to the vessel or by the vessel
- Someone disappears
Most often accidents occur on inland waters, such as rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds. The most common types of accidents include: collision, explosion, capsizing, falling overboard, flooding or sinking, and fire.
The Jones Act protects injured workers by allowing them the right to file negligence claims against their employers. It protects boaters by allowing them to collect damages from the owners of the at-fault vessel for injuries that occurred because a vessel was not seaworthy.
According to the National Safe Boating Council, most boating accidents are caused by factors that are in the operator's or passengers' control. For example, the number one cause of death in boating accidents is drowning. The number one reason: boaters were not wearing life jackets. In fact, less than 23 percent of boaters wear life jackets at all. Additionally, 80 percent of deaths occurred on boats where the operator had not taken a boater education course.
Each year, over three million passengers embark on cruises from various ports across the U.S. Unfortunately, some of these passengers suffer injuries during these voyages. The most common reasons for injuries include:
- Trips and slips due to slippery substances and dangerous surfaces
- Falls in cabins and on decks, stairways, ladders and ramps
- Injuries while on shore excursions
- Fires and collisions at sea
- Viruses, gastroenteritis and illnesses caused by contaminated food and beverages
If you or someone you love has been injured, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us today for a free legal consultation.