Boating accidents are far too common along the Louisiana shores on the southern edge of the state. They happen for a wide variety of reasons, with many of them actually being boat operator error while out in the water. Where an accident occurs can actually make a significant difference when claims are processed. Accidents that occur on “navigable waterways” away from the dock or inlets are governed by maritime, or admiralty law. Those that happen closer to shore can be determined as falling under state pure comparative negligence law. While the standards are similar, determining fault can be difficult.
Boating accidents that occur out in the waterways are investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard and fall under federal guidelines for compensation and determination of fault. Those that happen inland are investigated by Louisiana water patrol enforcement officers, and the accident reconstruction report is local. This means they fall under state jurisdiction. Even in a pure comparative state, determining fault can be problematic even when the same damage payment rules apply.
The differing complexities in fatality cases
Boating accidents often result in fatalities, which means that wrongful death can also be a component of any accident injury claim. Personal injury claims can be filed when someone is injured and dies later due to the amount of time they endure pain and suffering before succumbing to the injuries. Personal injury cases are handled differently than fatality cases because fatality cases are often instantaneous events.
Determining the material facts of a boating accident can be challenging as well. In cases of boat collisions, the actions of the drivers are evaluated by reconstruction officers who will produce an official accident report. This is not always easy when accidents happen in remote locations with few witnesses. Clear evidence of fault is not always discernible. Additionally, injured boat operators are also assessed for fault, and their comparative fault percentage as assigned by a jury will be used to reduce the total value of their injury claims.
Experienced Louisiana personal injury attorneys understand these potential problems when representing boating accident cases. The truly dedicated private attorney will conduct an independent investigation into the mishap when crafting a case for maximum damages for their clients.