Boating Accidents

Written by
Abraham Jaros
Updated on Sunday, Nov 12, 2023

The jurisdiction of courts of law over cases concerning ships of the sea and navigable waters is called maritime law or admiralty.

Maritime law is covered by what is called “The Jones Act”.

The Jones Act

People injured while working on ships or boats, or while repairing and maintaining docks, are protected by special laws. A federal law called “The Jones Act" controls the responsibility, or “liability," of vessel owners, operators and employers for their employees’ work-related injuries.

The Jones Act applies to seamen injured while working on ships or boats. An injured seaman can recover damages from their maritime employer when the employer or a co-worker’s negligence caused an injury. The Jones Act was intended to protect workers and make it easier to recover compensation for those who were injured while working on maritime vessels

Liability may be established if it can be shown that the injury was caused by a failure to provide a safe place to work, an unsafe condition on the vessel or dock leading to the vessel, or other acts of negligence or dangerous conditions.

The firm of Jaroslawicz & Jaros is proud to have represented many members of the NYC Police Department Harbor Unit. These are individuals who were injured while performing their duties on NYPD boats and launches, including repairing the vessels or while on dock and going to or from the vessels.

Jaroslawicz & Jaros was the first law firm in New York to develop the legal theory that, since these police officers were working on navigable waters, they were protected by the provisions of the Jones Act.

Jaroslawicz & Jaros Has Helped Shape the Law

In a case where our client was injured and alleged a violation of the Jones Act, the law was applied to a police officer who worked in the NYPD Harbor Unit and who was injured while employed on a boat. Attorney David Jaroslawicz of Jaroslawicz & Jaros had the privilege of representing the plaintiff and arguing the appeal in Oxley v. New York, No. 90-7555, United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, 923 F.2d 22; Argued, Jan. 11, 1991.

The issue was whether a crew member was entitled to a jury trial on unseaworthiness and Jones Act claims because he presented evidence that employer’s negligence played a part in producing his injury and raised issues of defect and insufficiency in the vessel’s equipment.

In another admiralty case, David Jaroslawicz of Jaroslawicz & Jaros was successful in the case of Murillo v. Caddell Dry Dock & Repair Co., 05 Civ. 3202 (NRB), United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Decided, July 27, 2005. The court found that the suit fell within court’s admiralty jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1333(1) because repairs to a tugboat while in ordinary dry dock were considered to be made in water, not on land.

Jaroslawicz & Jaros was also successful in the case of Carter v. Ogden Marine, Inc., No. 81 Civ. 0024 (Mil), United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Oct. 2, 1981. The court found that the wife of an injured seaman was entitled to present her claim for relief to the jury for loss of society based on her husband’s injuries, and was entitled to recover if the injuries were attributed to the unseaworthiness of the vessel.

Accidents While Boating for Pleasure

The Jones Act protects maritime workers when they are injured while working. However, unfortunately, many injuries also occur while boating for pleasure. If you suffer an injury while on a pleasure boat, there are some things that you should know. If you get injured on a boat, whether a motorboat or a sailboat, to be compensated for your injuries you must be able to prove that your injury was caused by someone else’s negligence.

Whether someone else was negligent always depends on the specific facts of your accident. Was it a collision between two boats? Was it between two motorboats or a motorboat and a sailboat? Were you the operator of the boat or a passenger?

Accidents on boats happen under many different circumstances. Some of the boating cases we have handled at Jaroslawicz & Jaros involved a passenger who was injured when the motorboat struck a pier and a door flew off striking the passenger in the head; a motorboat hitting a wave, causing a passenger to fall and fracture a leg; a Jet Ski with a protruding screw, causing a leg injury; as well as representing passengers injured in the Staten Island Ferry crash.

If you, or someone you know, have been injured in a boat or ship related accident, then, you need to contact the admiralty attorneys at Jaroslawicz & Jaros who can provide you with the assistance you need.

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At Jaroslawicz & Jaros, we have over 40 years of experience helping accident victims in New York recover compensation. The clients we represent benefit from the personal attention of our knowledgeable and experienced attorneys.

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The attorneys at Jaroslawicz & Jaros have obtained verdicts and settlements of over $1 Million for hundreds of our individual clients. Since all New York personal injury law firms generally charge the same legal fee why not hire an experienced law firm with a proven track record?

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You can reach partner Abraham Jaros directly, either call his cell 917-842-9544, or email him at Or call Jaroslawicz & Jaros at 212 227 2780 in New York, or toll free 800-269-2780, or submit an online questionnaire.