One of the biggest draws for visitors to the Hawaiian Islands is the access they can have to inland and navigable waters. Boating, swimming and a host of other water-based activities and sports are all part of the active culture that residents participate in throughout the year. However, despite the rules and regulations that are in place regarding the safe use of watercrafts on local waterways, many people are hurt in incidents when their boats and other vessels are involved in accidents.
The laws that will apply to a water-based accident will depend on exactly where the incident takes place. If an accident occurs on navigable waters then it is possible the matter will be governed by federal maritime laws. Navigable waters are those waters that are subject to a tide, that have been used in interstate commerce, and that meet other important requirements to qualify as such.
If the location of an accident does not require the subsequent lawsuit to take place in federal court then state law will govern any litigation that results from the incident. In such a case, personal injury and negligence laws may apply to give victims claims on which to base their requests for damages and compensation.
Knowing whether a water-based injury case will be heard in federal or state court can be confusing for individuals who simply know that their harm was suffered while on a boat. It is therefore important that victims of water-based accidents seek counsel from personal injury attorneys who are prepared to litigate claims that arise in both venues. Maritime claims and personal injury claims can be necessary components of helping boat and vessel accident victims get back on their feet after suffering losses.