Hawaii has one of the highest tourist populations in the country, and both tourists and locals alike enjoy the tour boat experience. A tour boat is a great way to see many of the beautiful sights of the Hawaiian Islands, including beaches, volcanoes and gorgeous views.
A tour boat excursion can quickly turn into a nightmare when a boating accident occurs. There are many common causes of boating accidents in Hawaii, including tour boats, and although some happen because of natural disasters and arguably could not have been prevented, some occur due to someone else’s negligence.
A boating accident can be serious
Injuries from a boating accident can have long-term or permanent consequences. Your injuries could require extensive medical treatment and prevent you from returning to your job.
Additionally, the mental and emotional suffering you experience could be severe. You might have been an avid boater, swimmer or diver and now find yourself afraid to approach a body of water altogether.
A personal injury claim for negligence could result in compensation for these types of damages, but proving negligence is challenging, and first you must determine who to bring the action against.
The tour company, the vessel owner, the staff or a mixture of all three could be responsible for the accident. You should bring your claim against the party who was most directly responsible for the boating accident, and that is going to depend on the specific facts of your case.
Negligence means that a party had a legal duty to do something and failed to do it, causing another party damages.
Types of legal duties
When it comes to tour boats, a tour boat operator has a legal duty to provide a safe experience for both passengers and crew.
This means the boat should not have any construction or mechanical defects. It must be properly equipped with safety devices and be adequately staffed. All staff must be trained in how to safely operate the tour boat and should not engage in dangerous behavior that could cause injury.
Boat owners and staff also have a duty to make sure a boat is not overcrowded, which can increase the chance of an accident. Intoxicated or distracted staff are another factor that can contribute to a boating accident.
Hawaii negligence law
Hawaii uses a modified comparative negligence legal standard when determining negligence. This means that a court will compare each party’s percentage of negligence and reduce your compensation in proportion to your own percentage. If you are found to be 51% or more at fault than the other party, you cannot recover any compensation at all.
This is why it is so important to know the elements of negligence and apply the facts of your case to these elements. Insurance companies can also take advantage of your lack of legal knowledge to try to get you to accept a settlement that is less than what your case is worth.
Personal injury attorneys can develop strategies to prove negligence and increase your chance of obtaining fair compensation after your boating accident.