Being involved in a boating accident can be an incredibly terrifying experience. You expect to be out on the water, having a good time, and in the blink of an eye, everything can change. If you were injured while on a boat and you believe you might be eligible for monetary compensation through a personal injury lawsuit, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer right away. The attorneys at Haug, Farrar & Franco, PLLC are here for you. Contact us today to set up a free and confidential consultation to discuss your options.
Common Reasons for Boating Accidents
The most common reasons for boating accidents typically involve the operator’s negligence or carelessness, such as driving the boat while intoxicated, going too fast or driving dangerously, and being distracted by other passengers on the boat. Severe weather and inexperience of the driver are also reasons that boat accidents occur. It’s worth noting that you could be on a boat where everyone, including the driver, is taking every precaution possible, but you are still involved in an accident due to another boat’s negligence. Whether you’re a driver or a passenger, an experienced boat injury lawyer can help you determine if you are eligible for financial compensation.
Statute of Limitations
In Mississippi, the statute of limitations for boating accident injuries is three years. If you fail to file your claim by this deadline, you will be unable to pursue your claim and recover compensation.
If you’re involved in a boating accident and can prove that another party was responsible in court, you are entitled to compensation in the form of economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages refer to monetary losses that can be easily quantified. The most common examples include medical expenses, lost wages, lost future wages, and lost earning capacity. In Mississippi, there is no cap on the amount of economic damages that can be awarded.
Non-economic damages are losses that cannot be easily quantified in monetary terms, such as pain and suffering, depression, anxiety, and other emotional consequences of the accident and injuries. Mississippi caps the amount of non-economic damages that a plaintiff can be awarded at trial at one million dollars. This means that no matter how severe the accident and emotional consequences were, you can never receive more than one million dollars for intangible losses you may have suffered and continue to suffer.
Punitive damages are very rare in personal injury claims in Mississippi. While economic and non-economic damages are intended to make the plaintiff whole and compensate them for specific losses, punitive damages are used to punish and deter the defendant and others from engaging in similar behavior in the future. Punitive damages are only awarded when the plaintiff can show that the defendant was acting with actual malice or gross negligence, which shows a willful, wanton, or reckless disregard for the safety of the others around them.
Some common circumstances that might warrant punitive damages include negligent acts that occur with criminal conduct, some cases of medical malpractice, injuries and illnesses due to dangerous or toxic products, dangerous or violent conduct, and severe injuries that are a result of drunk driving. It’s possible that causing severe injuries while operating a boat while intoxicated could lead to punitive damages.
The Jones Act
In many situations, a boating accident might occur while an employee is working on a boat. If this is the case, the Jones Act would likely apply. The Jones act is a federal law that provides seamen (a seaman is broadly defined as anyone who performs a significant portion of their work on a vessel that travels on navigable waters) the right to file a personal injury claim against their employer. This is important, as injured seamen are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
To succeed in a personal injury claim, an employee who is injured on a boat will need to show that their employer was negligent and that the negligence was one of the causes of their injuries. There is no requirement that the negligence be the proximate cause, as there is in typical personal injury claims.
Contact Haug, Farrar & Franco, PLLC for Assistance
If you were involved in a boating accident, we will do everything possible to make sure you receive the justice you deserve. We know money can’t solve everything, but if someone else was the cause of your injuries and other losses, you deserve to be compensated. The lawyers at Haug, Farrar & Franco, PLLC are here to help. Contact us today to set up a free and confidential consultation to discuss your options.