INSIGHTS On Massachusetts Personal Injury Law

Welcome to the SUGARMAN blog. We'll be sharing our perspectives on the state of the law and current legal issues in Massachusetts personal injury law. Issues relating to medical malpractice, construction site injuries, premises liability, product liability, motor vehicle accidents, insurance, and more will all be reviewed here by our team of lawyers who have prosecuted some of the most complex cases in Massachusetts personal injury law.

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Liability for Accidents and Injuries on the Water

In Boston and throughout Massachusetts, commercial and recreational boating is a way of life. Not surprisingly, boating accidents are too. Lawsuits involving injuries suffered in boating accidents, often referred to as “admiralty” cases, involve various aspects of state and federal law depending on who the injured parties are and where and in what manner the boating accident occurs.  Admiralty is the body of law which regulates the carrying of passengers and cargo over water and provides remedies to individuals injured while boating.

Generally, when vessels collide causing injuries, a claim can be brought for negligence in the navigation and operation of the vessel. The test of fault for causing a collision or other harm-inducing event is whether the operator of the vessel acted as a reasonably prudent mariner at the time of the incident, under the totality of the circumstances.

Under boating or admiralty law, workers injured at sea may be entitled to benefits and compensation under the Jones Act and other federal statutes. In some circumstances, these workers have greater rights than injured workers in other areas. For instance, under traditional negligence law, an employee typically cannot bring a personal injury lawsuit against his/her employer or a co-employee. The remedy is limited to Workers’ Compensation benefits. A “seaman” (a member of a ship’s crew), however, can bring certain types of injury claims against his employer.

People injured on whale watching or sight-seeing boats, cruises or other tour boats are also often entitled to compensation, even if waivers or releases have been signed. And people injured or killed in recreational boating accidents may also seek compensation for injuries and death suffered in such accidents. Another category of boating accident cases are those cases involving personal injuries to children and young adults at summer camps from boating activities, or activities occurring on shores or docks. Depending on the mechanism and manner of harm, an attorney experienced in handling boating accident cases and applying admiralty principles is required.

Lawyers with actual experience litigating and trying boating accident cases are fairly rare – SUGARMAN’s personal injury lawyers have that experience. Our long and varied experience in handling boat accident cases has included boat collisions resulting from negligent operation of boats on area lakes, injuries suffered by swimmers struck by boats, injuries suffered by workers and fishermen at sea and in port under the Jones Act, and injuries to longshoremen and stevedores.

Like any other personal injury case, one of the most important and difficult things a person injured in a boating accident must do is choose an injury lawyer they trust. At SUGARMAN, we are confident that after speaking with one of our partners, you will have found that lawyer.  Please fill out a Contact Form, call us at 617-542-1000, or email info@sugarman.com for a consultation.