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Boating Accidents Require Urgent Legal Advice!

Please read about the VERY TRICKY “Limitation of Liability Actions” that are filed by insurance companies after boating accidents.  It’s a very tricky legal move that can have the practical effect of shortening the statute of limitations in boating accidents to less than six months! See below to learn more and why you need a lawyer quickly in any serious boating accident.

By now you have probably heard about the Duck Boat accident in Missouri that claimed 17 lives.  There is no telling what caused this tragedy but it sounds like the weather was a contributing factor.  Though I must say, it surprises me that a boat like that could not anything a lake in Missouri could have thrown at it.  Regardless of speculation, the matter will be fully investigated to determine the actual cause.


The possibilities that immediately come to mind as potential causes are:

  • Manufacturing defect
  • Design defect
  • Negligence on the part of the captain
  • Power failure
  • Catastrophic collision with another craft
  • Catastrophic collision with an underwater obstacle (Rock or Stump)

Any of the potential causes listed above could have caused the boat to take on water so quickly that the people would have been unable to escape but it strikes me as odd that none of the occupants had time to get a life jacket on and get away from the craft before it sank.  Surely, the water in the Missouri lake is not so cold that people would have succumbed to hypothermia before rescuers could arrive.

While we wait for news about what happened in Missouri, I want to take this opportunity to give our readers some very important information about boating accidents.  Boating accidents and auto accidents are very different animals and have very different rules.  Did you know that owner of the boat can cause the statute of limitations to be shorter than six months?  Well, they can, and the insurance company lawyers handling cases like this often surprise people by filing a suit against the victims who have not even had time to grieve much less find a lawyer. Keep reading to learn about this worrisome issue in boating and maritime cases.

Limitation of Liability Act

The Limitation of Liability Action, discussed in this Wikipedia article , can actually allow the owner of a vessel to limit the liability to the value of the vessel itself, which could be very little.  As you can imagine, this would be terribly unfair to the victims in Missouri or any other incident involving a boat and serious injuries or death.  The boat itself is likely worth less than a million dollars which is hardly enough to fairly compensate victims and their families particularly those who died that were the breadwinner of a family.

How to Avoid Problems

Maritime law is extremely specialized and to avoid becoming a victim of this complicated area of law, hiring a lawyer immediately is essential.  The average person, and many lawyers, will have no idea how to handle a Limitation of Liability Action which is almost certain to come along in a case like the case in Missouri discussed in this CNN article.

There are ways around the Limitation of Liability Act but one must know the ropes! There are many people, including but not limited to the Captain, the Manufacturer, the Tourism Company and others that could have liability but when a Limitation of Liability Action is filed against the victims, they will have only 30 days to respond and protect their rights.

The Bottom Line!

Hiring an experienced Maritime attorney IMMEDIATELY after you or a family member suffer an injury or lose a family member in a boating accident is essential.  A victim has no control over when a Limitation of Liability Action will be filed and you and/or your lawyer must be prepared!


by Roberts Wilson
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