Maritime accidents are accidents that happen on coastal or river waters. They can occur on fishing vessels, cargo vessels, passenger vessels, cruise ships, offshore oil rigs, or other types of vessels that spend more time on the open water than at dock. Maritime accidents can happen for a variety of reasons and involve injuries that may or may not be severe, but some of the most devastating types of maritime injuries are those that occur due to negligence.
Accidents caused by negligence—also sometimes defined as careless, reckless, or wrongful actions—are those that could have been prevented had the guilty party been acting responsibly, correctly adhering to safety guidelines, or been more watchful. Here are some of the most common causes that lead to maritime injuries in Mississippi and all along the Gulf Coast:
Capsizing – Operating a boat during rough weather or at unsafe speeds can cause a boat to overturn and capsize.
Falling Overboard – Slippery boat decks, consuming too much alcohol while boating, or otherwise being reckless on a boat can lead to passengers falling overboard and becoming seriously injured. On a recreational vessel, it’s the responsibility of the vessel owner to ensure no slip and fall accidents occur which may lead to someone falling overboard.
Boat Collisions – If an operator of a boat is driving recklessly, too quickly, or not properly watching for other vessels, it can be easy to collide with another boat on the open waters.
Work Accidents – Workers onboard cargo ships, oil rigs, or other types of ocean or river vessels are at risk for work injuries which may be caused by company or employee negligence. Working in hazardous conditions in enclosed spaces can be dangerous and absolute precaution needs to be taken.
Boat Defects or Improper Maintenance – When a vessel is not maintained properly or has a defect of some type, it’s the owner’s responsibility to ensure the vessel is in working order and does not pose harm.
In all the above examples of Mississippi maritime accidents, someone can be found legally responsible for the incident or situation which caused the accident. In the case of a slip and fall accident or an improperly-maintained boat, for example, the owner of the vessel can be found responsible. In the case of a boating accident or a situation which causes a boat to capsize, a reckless operator of a boat can potentially be held liable for injuries.
How Common Are Maritime Accidents in Mississippi?
When it comes to questioning how common maritime accidents are in the state of Mississippi, statistics are difficult to come by. We can, however, get a glimpse of how common boating accidents are in Mississippi by examining nationwide data. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 4,064 recreational boating accidents involving 610 deaths and 2,678 injuries occurred in 2014. These figures do not include work-related incidents.
These figures are quite telling. Statistically, this amounts to roughly 5.2 fatalities per 100,000 registered recreational vessels. This number is a 10% increase from 2013. Recreational boats are indeed vehicles of enjoyment, but boat operators and owners need to be responsible and prioritize safety above everything else.
If you or someone you love was injured or had their life lost in a Mississippi boating accident or maritime accident that was caused by negligent, reckless, or careless actions of another person, company, or entity, you have legal options. Corban Gunn, Mississippi maritime injury attorney, can help you get the compensation you need to move forward. Contact our Biloxi office to learn more.