Owners of Dive Boat File Lawsuit to Prevent Lawsuits after
34 People Perish in California Boat Fire
Taking advantage of a law that predates the Civil War, Truth Aquatics (the owner of the dive boat that went up in massive flames over the Labor Day Weekend) filed a federal lawsuit overnight to attempt to block potentially costly lawsuits by families of the 34 people that perished on the watercraft. The shield law now being invoked in the aftermath of the California boat fire was perhaps most notoriously and effectively used by the owners of the Titanic when that ill-fated craft struck and iceberg and went down on its maiden voyage, killing more than 1,500.
The archaic but still operative law limits surviving family members to six months to file what technically is known as a wrongful death lawsuit. Absent the limitation, under California law, surviving family members would have two years to bring such a case. Significantly, if the six-month deadline is not met, surviving family members of the 34 people killed in the catastrophic fire are severely restricted in what they can seek in the way of compensation. They are limited to compensation in the amount of the total present value of the boat.
Nearly all of the watercraft in question was destroyed in the California boat fire. What is left of the boat is now upside down in 60-foot water off the coast of Santa Cruz Island. The value of the boat is $0.
All is Not Lost for Family Members of People Killed in the California Boat Fire
Jimmy Doan, President of The Doan Law Firm – a legal practice with broad experience in representing people injured or killed in a variety of different types of aquatic and watercraft accidents – made it clear that “all is not lost for family member so the passengers and one crew member who were killed in the Labor Day Weekend California boat fire.” Mr. Doan explained that it is possible to pursue a claim and file a lawsuit within the six-month window imposed upon victims as a result of the lawsuit filed by the owners of the Conception, the boat in question.
Mr. Doan did note that this type of legal maneuver was anticipated by maritime law experts. “However, I think all legal observers are surprised or even shocked that the owners of the Conception and their insurance company moved so quickly and didn’t have the compassion to allow the families of those who lost their loved ones even enough time to bury their dead,” Mr. Doan said, echoing statements by other seasoned legal observers.
Professor Martin J. Davies, director of maritime law at Tulane University School of Law, made it clear that the lawsuit of the kind filed by Truth Aquatics, the owner of the Conception, has one objective: to limit payments by the insurance company.
The lawsuit filed over night September 5-6, 2019, in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, and its impact on the rights of people who lost loved ones in the California boat fire, underscores the vital need for family members to be highly proactive in seeking experienced legal representation. “Another reality of these types of accidents is that the governmental investigation into causes can go on for months, sometimes even longer,” Mr. Doan explained. “As a result, in order to build a case, surviving family members truly require skilled, experienced legal representation by attorneys who’ve access to respected investigators of their own to build a case in a timely manner.”
The Doan Law Firm is a nationwide law practice, with offices from coast-to-coast in the United States. This includes at office in Los Angeles with a legal team experienced in these types of California wrongful death cases.
The Grim Results of the California Boat Fire
Three days after the calamitous Conception fire investigators confirmed that 34 people were killed. This total included 33 passengers and one crew member. All of the people killed were in a bunk room below deck, an area in the boat that they were unable to escape when the blaze started. The reasons why escape was impossible is at the heart of the current investigation.
Consult with a California Boat Fire Lawyer
An immediate consultation can case evaluation can be scheduled any time, day or night, by calling (424) 334-0000.
The Doan Law Firm has offices in LA located conveniently at:
12100 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90025
There is no charge for an initial consultation and case review with a California boat fire attorney at The Doan Law Firm. Indeed, a client pays no fee unless the firm obtains a successful settlement or judgment in a personal injury case.