Despite the invention of larger, faster, and more technologically capable ships, vessels continue to be lost at sea every year. These harrowing events often involve mariners fighting for their lives by racing to rescue equipment, escaping the vessel, then surviving in open water while waiting for rescue.
All vessels run the risk of sinking if negligently maintained or operated. However, sinking claims are most common among:
Commercial Fishing Vessels
Vessel sinkings often require a complex investigation to understand. The United States Coast Guard, the National Transportation Safety Board, and attorneys for those lost or injured during a sinking often work hand-in-hand to determine how the sinking occurred and how to prevent the same thing from happening again.
Sinkings rarely happen without explanation. Improper loading, bad maintenance practices, negligent navigating, and human error often come into play. Indeed, multiple failures can culminate and result in a vessel casualty.
Often too, ships are not properly equipped in case of emergency. Safety equipment such as life jackets, immersion suits, rafts, marine radios, fire extinguishers, and emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRBs) are just a few examples of equipment that may be required by law aboard vessels.
You can be sure that the vessel owner, its insurers, and its attorneys will immediately investigate the sinking of a ship. Time is critical and the issues are complex. It is imperative that those who were injured or lost a loved one aboard a sinking ship immediately contact an experienced admiralty lawyer to open an investigation on your behalf. You may be entitled to compensation.
It may be difficult to discern what damages are recoverable when a mariner tragically dies during a vessel sinking incident. The Jones Act, general maritime law, and DOHSA can be overlapping and confusing—all with different outcomes for family members with potential wrongful death claims. Indeed, even the types of damages available under each legal scheme varies.
If you or a loved one was injured or tragically killed during a vessel sinking incident, contact an admiralty lawyer now. The experienced maritime counsel at Mariner Law, PLLC can help you investigate what happened and fight for justice. Call now for a free consultation: (253) 600-2531. This is a complex area of the law and time is of the essence. The firm serves mariner clients in Washington, Oregon, New York, Connecticut, Alaska, and nationwide.