On the lakes, rivers, and oceans of the United States, tour boats operate every day giving people the chance to see some of the beauty and wonder our country holds. Sadly, every year people are hurt, and sometimes killed in tour boat accidents.
If you or someone you love has suffered an injury while on a tour boat you need to understand your rights. We also handle commercial fishing boat accidents.
Types of Tour Boat Accidents
Tour boat accidents are usually caused by human error. Sometimes a natural event plays a role, but usually human error makes things worse. Here are some of the typical types of tour boat accidents:
- Slip and fall on the deck of the boat
- Slip and fall inside the cabin
- Fall overboard because of inadequate safety precautions
- Sinking because of collision
- Injury from poorly maintained equipment
- Injury because of crew’s failure to follow safety precautions
Tour boats may be regulated by several different state and federal agencies. Often the U.S. Coast Guard and the Army Corps. Of Engineers are responsible for periodic inspections and licensing of tour boats operating in navigable waterways.
Most states also have separate requirements that tour boat operators are expected to follow.
Types of Injuries in Tour Boat Accidents
Injuries on tour boats range from the minor to the life threatening. Because many bots only carry minimal first aid equipment, injuries on tour boats can be more dangerous that the same type of injuries on land. Here are some typical injuries in tour boat accidents:
- Traumatic head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Fractured bones
- Exposure to toxic fumes
- Sprained or strained muscles
- Torn or ruptured tendons, ligaments, or muscles
- Lacerations and contusions
- Back and neck injuries
After you have been hurt you need to get medical treatment as soon as possible. Even if you do not require emergency treatment, you still should follow up with your doctor within two to three days after the accident. Often, it takes a few days for some injuries to be felt because of the initial adrenaline rush. The sooner a medical professional treats you, the sooner you can be back on the road to health.
Often claims are devalued because people failed to go to the doctor or to follow the treatment plan form the doctor. It is important for your health and for any claim you may have that you seek proper medical care as soon as you can after a tour boat accident.
Who is Responsible?
Tour boats are usually considered common carriers under the law. That means that owners of tour boats have a special duty to keep passengers safe while loading, unloading, and while in transit.
In the case of almost all tour boat accidents the company that owns the boat will be legally responsible for damages caused by the negligence of the company or any of its employees or contractors.
Sometimes a third-party is the cause or a contributor to the cause of the accident. The tour boat owners do not have to pay for injuries caused by another party’s negligence. Tour boat accidents are usually investigated by federal authorities to determine the exact cause of the accident.
If you have been hurt, you must be sure to file a claim with the correct company or to sue the right party in court. If you make a mistake, you could end up without any recovery.
Problems With Filing a Claim
Filing a claim is not always a straightforward process. Even when it is obvious that an employee of the tour boat company was negligent, the claims process can be frustrating and time consuming.
Most companies have commercial insurance to protect them in case of an accident. When you file a claim after a tour boat accident you often have to deal with the insurance company.
It is in the insurance company’s best interest to limit the amount of damages it pays out. There may be a policy limit that caps the total amount of damages the insurance can pay out. This means that every one making a claim must prove what their damages.
This process can be even more difficult because the company itself may have to file for bankruptcy because it fears the insurance will not be enough to cover the damages and it won’t have enough money to pay any overage.
If you are on a tour boat in the first place chances are good that you are far from your home. This means that if a claim has to be litigated in court, you will need a lawyer to represent you far from your home.
Another issue is that when many people are filing claims, sometimes called a mass tort case, there can be a lot of arguments over what court should handle the claims and how they should all be handled.
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a tour boat accident, you need a seasoned and knowledgeable lawyer to make sure you get all of the compensation you deserve under the law.
Contact us today and we can help match you up with a lawyer who understands tour boat accidents and has a successful track record in helping people like you.