Our boating accident attorneys often report about injuries sustained in recreational watercraft accidents here in the United States. However, accidents involving passenger crafts can happen anywhere and at any time. Just because a boat accident does not occur in U.S. waters doesn’t mean that victims are not entitled to file a claim, especially if the accident was the result of someone’s negligent actions. A recent tragedy that took place in Ukraine is a prime example.
Just a few days ago, 16 people were killed and 20 others sustained serious injuries in a motorboat accident in Odesa, Ukraine. According to an article on sputniknews.com, both law enforcement officials and rescue crews have been working on the accident and have opened a criminal investigation on the matter.
The tragedy was so great that Maria Gaidar, the deputy for Odesa Governor Mikheil Saakashvili, announced that Sunday, October 18, was to be a day of mourning. Also, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk filed an order to establish a special task force to investigate the circumstances of the boating accident.
But what could have caused this deadly motorboat accident? Furthermore, are victims and the loved ones of those whose lives were lost eligible to file a lawsuit? Given the nature of the incident, the answer may very well be yes.
As per the most recent information on the motorboat tragedy, the accident appears to have been caused by excess passenger load.
“According to the Shipping Register, the motorboat had valid documents allowing it to carry 12 passengers and three crew members. However, the vessel went to sea with 33 passengers and three crew members,” said Deputy Infrastructure Minister Yuri Vaskov.
As of now, it is unclear who allowed more than the maximum people aboard the vessel. But regardless of who is responsible, the important thing to acknowledge is that victims and the loved ones of those who were killed may be able to file a lawsuit with a boating accident lawyer.
Disregarding passenger safety can be considered a form of negligence, which can, in turn, be grounds for a maritime personal injury claim. Anyone who boards a vessel, whether a private watercraft or one being operated by an outside company, has the right to know the maximum passenger capacity of said vessel and should take it upon themselves to ensure the number of people on board does not exceed that maximum.
Unfortunately, it is often up to individual passengers and private boat owners to make sure safety is maintained on a vessel because charter and outside companies may not. Before getting on any kind of watercraft, be sure to do your research because by doing so, you may help prevent a serious accident.