Maritime Matter of the Week

What Causes The Majority Of Maritime Accidents And What Can Victims Do To Protect Themselves?


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Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. is comprised of attorneys that are nationally-recognized industry leaders in the field of maritime and admiralty law. Our team of lawyers has over a century of combined experience, has successfully handled over 3,000 cases, and has recovered over 300 million dollars in damages for our clients.

Factors Contributing to Maritime Accidents

Accidents on the high seas happen more frequently than anyone might imagine. The need for maritime attorneys is always high due to the severity of the injuries that incidents at sea might cause. Whether the vessel is a personal pleasure craft, such as a motorboat or jet ski, or a large commercial vessel, including a cargo or cruise ship, accidents can happen, but with legal assistance, victims and their loved ones can fight to obtain the compensation they deserve for their pain and suffering.

Maritime injuries occur for several reasons, a large majority of which are caused by the negligence of the vessel’s operator. Whether the pilot was inexperienced, boating while under the influence (BUI) or simply not paying attention to their surroundings, negligence is a main contribute to accidents involving both personal vessels and large ships. Vessel operators have a responsibility to make sure their passengers remain safe, and when an accident occurs at sea, victims may then take legal action against the pilot, if the incident is determined to have been a direct result of their wrongdoing.

However, not all maritime accidents are the result of an operator’s negligence. Some are due to unfavorable weather conditions or equipment failure. Although weather conditions can’t usually be used as defense in filing a legal claim, equipment malfunctions can, especially if there was underlying negligence involved in crafting the vessel and its parts.

Tips to Prevent Maritime Accidents and Injuries

  • Always wear a life jacket – If your vessel crashes and you are thrown into the water, your chances of survival are much greater if you are wearing a life jacket, which will ensure you stay afloat, especially if you lose consciousness.
  • Never operate a vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs – Alcohol and controlled substances impair vision and motor skills, and operating a vessel – no matter how small – is not something that can be done while intoxicated. If you choose to drink while out at sea, make sure a designated operator is manning the helm so everyone onboard can stay safe.
  • Always pack emergency equipment – If a maritime accident does occur, you might not be able to seek help right away. Always bring onboard emergency equipment, including flashlights, batteries, provisions, and a first-aid kit, to help you treat injuries and stay as safe and healthy as possible until help arrives.
  • Never go out in bad weather – The last thing you want to do is be out at sea in the middle of the storm. Not only can your vessel capsize, but rough waters can throw you off a vessel and lead to serious and fatal injuries. Always check weather conditions before going out to sea to prevent any weather-related maritime accidents.
  • Let loved ones know where you are going – Never go out to sea without letting someone know where you are going and with whom. Accidents can – and do – happen, so let your loved ones know where you will be and what time you plan on returning to ensure if you are not back home around your scheduled time, that a search party can be issued immediately.

After an accident involving a water craft or commercial vessel does occur, seek legal help immediately. At Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A., we have helped hundreds of maritime accident victims file claims after sustaining injuries or losing loved ones and have been able to secure over $100 billion in damages to victims. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident on the high seas, contact our maritime attorneys today to discuss your options and file a case to protect your rights.

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