When you are riding on a ferry or cruise liner, you probably never consider the possibility of a collision between vessels. While these types of accidents are rare, they do occur and can result in severe injury or even loss of life. Insurers of commercial owners of vessels that provide boating excursions to the public understand the complex maritime and admiralty law that apply in such incidents and that possess the litigation resources to tenaciously fight liability. In certain cases, ship owners will utilize tactics designed to cap the damage recovery and deprive an injured passenger or surviving family members of full recovery for their loss. In this blog post, our cruise accident attorneys review the recent federal court decision in Holzhauer v. Gold Gate Bridge Highway & Transportation District regarding the attempt of a ferry line owner to limit liability for injuries incurred in a collision with another vessel.
Our Miami cruise ship injury lawyers are very familiar with a strategy commonly employed by owners of ships to limit their negligence liability for boating accidents. The ferry was taking about 500 passengers on a thirty-minute excursion when it crashed into a speed boat. Two people on the speed boat incurred injuries in the collision causing one to die. The captain of both vessels indicated they did not notice the other vehicle until it was too late to avoid the accident. The plaintiff introduced evidence that the captain of the ferry was using his mobile phone immediately before the vessels collided. The estate of the decedent alleged that the captain of the ferry was distracted which constituted the proximate cause of the fatal collision. Continue reading →