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Injuries in Hawaii waters can mean complicated legal claims

Water means life for many us in Hawaii. Commercial fishing is important industry. Tourists come by the millions every year from the mainland and all parts of the globe. Thousands take to the water every day to nature watch, explore reefs or just to get from one island to another.

One accident can cause injury to passenger and crew alike, but obtaining compensation for victims means working through different laws. Federal laws cover the work injuries suffered by the crew. State laws apply to passengers. To seek optimal results, it's important to consult with an attorney who knows the lay of the land and the water.

Understanding common carrier liability

Vessels come in all sizes. They range from small personal watercraft all the way up to big cruise ships and we see all of these in the islands. One thing that is common to all of them is that if they are carrying paying passengers they are considered common carriers. As such, they are subject to increased regulatory oversight.

That does not mean they are always up to snuff in terms of meeting minimum safety standards. Indeed, many of the smaller craft fall into the category that the U.S. Coast Guard calls uninspected passenger vehicles. The operators must be licensed, but official checks can be irregular.

If an operator decides to save money by cutting corners, that would amount to negligence. Negligence could also be alleged if an operator fails to take reasonable precautions to avoid dangerous conditions at sea or warn passengers about those dangers.

When an injury-causing accident occurs, victims are eligible to seek compensation for the losses they suffer.

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Turbin Chu Heidt Attorneys at Law
737 Bishop Street
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Honolulu, HI 96813

Phone: 808-379-3586
Phone: 808-528-4000
Fax: 808-599-1984
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