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Maritime & Boat Injuries Archives

JonesAct2In our previous post on the Jones Act, we looked at some commonly asked questions people have about this important personal injury law. The Jones Act applies to maritime workers, or seamen, who suffered injuries as a result of the negligence of their employers. While you should always bring your specific questions to an experienced personal injury attorney, we thought we would take a look at some additional questions that many people have about the Jones Act, how it works, and how it can help you.

What is negligence under the Jones Act?

The Jones Act applies to situations that involve employer negligence in a maritime setting. This essentially means that, in order to recover injuries sustained by a seamen, that seamen has to show that the employer failed to use the requisite care to prevent such injuries from occurring.

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JonesAct1When people who work on ocean-going vessels, fishing boats, or other maritime craft get injured, they often speak with a personal injury attorney about the possibility of recovering money for their injuries. In many cases, people injured in maritime accidents can recover compensation under the terms of the Jones Act. The Jones Act is a specific law that applies to personal injuries that arise in maritime situations. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at the Jones Act, what it does, who it covers, and how it works by looking at some frequently asked questions.

What is the Jones Act?

The Jones Act, also referred to as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, is a federal law that covers negligent claims that arise out of maritime situations. When a sailor, mechanic, steward, captain, ship’s crewmember, or other maritime worker suffers an injury in the course of his or her duties as a result of an employer’s negligence, that maritime worker can recover compensation for his or her injuries.

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Boating Accident Statistics

There is arguably nothing more relaxing than spending an enjoyable sunny day aboard a boat. Whether it is in the ocean, on a river, or on a lake, recreational boating is a pastime enjoyed by millions of people in the U.S. each year.

Unfortunately, the enjoyment of boating can suddenly be disrupted by unpredictable factors, such as severe weather or strong currents, both of which can compromise the safety of those aboard a boat. Other factors can also impact safety, including operator inattention, improper lookout, operator inexperience, excessive speed, and machinery failure. In fact, those factors represent the top five primary contributing factors in boating accidents, according to statistics from the United States Coast Guard.

Boating Injury & Fatality Statistics

In 2011, the Coast Guard recorded 4,588 recreational boating accidents, the majority of which occurred to motorboats, personal watercraft, and cabin motorboats. These accidents resulted in 3,081 injuries and 758 deaths. The corresponding fatality rate was 6.2 deaths for every 100,000 registered recreational vessels, which represented a nearly 15% increase over the 2010 rate (5.4 deaths per 100,000).

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Cruise Ship Injuries – Sources and Concerns

Taking a vacation on a cruise ship is a popular choice for many Americans and their families. Cruise ships offer exotic destinations, the promise of wonderful food, and a family-friendly environment that many find irresistible. How irresistible? Just look at some of the numbers. The worldwide cruising industry is incredibly large, with an estimated income of $40 billion in 2010 alone. Almost 15,000,000 Americans take a cruise every year, and each person spends an average of seven days aboard ship, spending an average of $1,800 per passenger. That means a family of four can expect to spend over $7,000 on an average cruise.

Yet as popular as cruising is, there are potential downsides. Though major accidents and disasters are rare, they do happen. One of the most recent occurred in January of 2012 when the Costa Concordia sank off of Italy, resulting in the death of 32 people. But the big disasters are very rare. What’s far more common is for people to suffer injuries while aboard ship. Many of these injuries are relatively minor, but other injuries, such as people falling overboard or being injured as the result of an assault, are very serious. In 2010, for example, 20 passengers fell overboard on cruise ships around the world, while 58 separate incidents of collisions, fires, or other disabling incidents involving cruise ships also took place, resulting in numerous injuries.

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