Maritime law is not something that most people often think about or even know that much about. There are some similarities to conventional law but also many differences. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions and answers from a maritime injury lawyer.
Q. If someone is involved in a boating accident, whom should they call?
A. This all depends on where in the waters the accident occurs. If the accident happens to be in international waters, the United States Coast Guard is the entity that should be called. If the accident occurs within waters that belong to a specific state in the U.S., there are a few different options to choose from. Generally speaking, the best bet may be the state’s Department of Fish & Wildlife. However, it can also behoove the victim to call the Sheriff of the county that has jurisdiction over the waters or the municipal police where the accident took place. A Maritime injury lawyer should also be contacted as soon as possible after the accident.
Q. Is there any specific information that needs to be collected when an accident occurs?
A. Yes, absolutely! It is the law to stop at the scene of an accident and offer aid except if said assistance would endanger the party stopping to offer assistance or damage the watercraft stopping. If actually involved in the accident, names, addresses, and boat number needs to be written down and exchanged between parties. If an accident is not reported, or if aid is not offered, it could result in criminal penalties.
Q. If right-of-way boater’s rules are being followed, who is liable if an accident occurs?
A. This is where maritime laws differ from rules of the land. Under maritime law, the fault in an accident lies with the negligence of the navigator and/or lack of skill or care, not taking heed of local ordinances that pertain to the water, and non-compliance with customs and usage of the locality.
It is in the best interest of everyone involved to seek legal counsel to protect themselves in the event of any potential lawsuits, or to assist in filing a lawsuit.