As summer draws to a close, many Berks County residents will want to get a bit more boating time in before winter sets in earnest. Whether it's fishing or some other form of recreation, boating can be fun and a great way to spend some time. But, if something goes wrong, the fun can end in a hurry. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, in 2015 there were 4,158 boating accidents in the United States. These accidents resulted in 2,613 injuries, 626 fatalities and $42 million in property damage.
What caused these accidents? There are many causes, but some of the major ones include improper lookout, operator inexperience, operator inattention and boating while intoxicated. These are similar to the causes of so many car accidents in Pennsylvania and throughout the nation.
When a loved one is the victim of a fatal boating accident, the family may be stunned and uncertain what to do. How can they seek justice? One possibility that may exist is a wrongful death lawsuit against a culpable party. If one of the causes mentioned above is the cause of a person's death, and another party committed the bad act, a wrongful death lawsuit may be an option.
One important question that must be answered is whether a wrongful death lawsuit should be filed in state court or federal court. Usually, if the fatal accident happened on a navigable waterway as defined by federal law, the case will be filed in federal court. If the accident did not happen in a navigable waterway, the case will be filed in state court.