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Could old maritime law prevent loved ones from seeking relief?

On Behalf of | Nov 1, 2018 | admiralty & maritime law

In July, a duck boat accident in another state claimed the lives of 17 people. The surviving family members of the victims are trying to seek compensation for their losses, but an old maritime law may stand in their way. Louisiana residents and visitors to the state who have suffered maritime injuries or lost loved ones in maritime accidents may find themselves struggling to achieve compensation for their losses as well if this law is utilized in their cases.

According to a recent news article, the duck boat company cited an 1851 law that limits their monetary liability to the victims to the boat’s value. The duck boat is considered a total loss, as it remains at the booting of Table Rock Lake. If the particular statute is controlling, this means that the company’s financial liability should amount to $0. A judge has yet to rule on this.

One of the victims is, understandably, upset that the boat company is basically saying the lives of her husband, children and several family members are worth nothing. She has filed a suit against Branson Duck Vehicles and Ripley Entertainment and is seeking damages to the tune of $100 million. Obviously, her legal team plans to fight this to the end and claims that the Limitation of Liability Act of 1851 has been misapplied in this case.

Only time will tell what happens in this particular case. It certainly serves to prove that those dealing with personal injury or wrongful death claims that involve maritime law issues may face obstacles not typically seen in such cases. An experienced maritime law attorney in Louisiana can assist victims of maritime accidents or — in the event of fatality — their surviving family members seek fair compensation for their losses in civil court.