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Why You Need A Maritime Attorney to Recover from A Deadly Maritime Accident

Posted in News and Events on July 26, 2018

The Houston maritime attorneys at Lapeze & Johns offer our deepest condolences and concerns to the families and individuals that have been affected by the recent boat tragedy in Missouri.

Should you ever face such a tragic incident, know that you are not alone. Our experienced maritime attorneys are here to offer our services to the families who have suffered dearly as the result of a maritime accident. You deserve justice and peace.

The Incident

On Friday, July 20, at Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri, thunderstorms causing 60 mph winds led to a sudden uproar of powerful waves. Two duck boats from the Ride the Ducks tourist attraction were out on the water and struggled to find land after the turbulence grew more powerful.

As a result, one boat holding 29 passengers and 2 crew members capsized. 17 passengers, ranging from ages 1 to 76 years old, were killed by the rapid waters. One survivor lost a total of 9 family members including her husband and three children, while many other families were also deeply affected by the horrible tragedy.

Eyewitness videos continue to circulate the media and the National Transportation Safety Board continues to collect evidence. An NTSB representative recently stated that the organization has been working to interview survivors, many of whom were hospitalized, and collect physical evidence from the site.

Susana-Smagala Potts, a spokeswoman for Ripley Entertainment, owners of the Ride the Duck attraction, said that the company was deeply saddened by the events. The Ride the Duck attraction had been in service for 47 years and the owner of the company claims that this incident should have never occurred.

Friday’s weather at the lake was not suitable for boat rides. The safety of the passengers was compromised, and as a result, seventeen lives were lost.

The survivor who lost her children and husband among many other family members, stated that the captain told the passengers that safety jackets were available but not necessary.

U.S. Coast Guard Captain, Scott Stoermer, is concerned that the lack of safety precaution could have been the cause of the deaths. Personal flotation devices should have been provided and used by each passenger to ensure safety.

An investigation is underway to understand the various potential factors that could have led to the incident including: the lack of flotation devices used, the weather before and during the voyage, and the conditions of the duck boat itself.

Counselors have been working towards helping survivors and victims’ families cope with the tragedy.

We hope that every victim is being watched over and provided with the care and attention that they need during this exceedingly trying time.

What Legal Actions Can A Victim Take

A personal injury and wrongful death accident can cause victims tremendous amounts of emotional, mental, and financial suffering.

Such situations can be made even more complicated if the incident happened near or on a body of water. Known as admiralty or maritime law, an accident that takes place on water can be affected by more than just state personal injury laws.

Maritime laws can apply to incidents that occur on a ship or on shore and can affect recreational boaters, companies, and employers as well. Because of the complicated nature of maritime law, there are a number of situations in which this body of law can come into play including:

  • Recreational boating accidents
  • Yachts, charters, or sailboat accidents
  • Ferry accidents
  • Fishing accidents
  • Other personal watercraft accidents

Our firm wants victims of maritime accidents to know that they are not alone and deserve the compensation that will help them recover from a life-altering accident. Victims should have time to grieve without the worry of financial predicaments caused by medical care and other financial issues.

A family vacation should never result in life-changing situations involving death and injury. We are deeply saddened by the loss of life that has occurred.


Our skilled maritime lawyers have over two decades of experience in litigating and trying maritime cases all around Texas and across the Gulf Coast. Maritime accidents require familiarity and experience in maritime law. Call us today at 713-739-1010  for a consultation on how our years of knowledge and success in handling these cases can help get you the compensation you deserve.

[Information and image from CNN]