Sightseeing and river boat cruises are a fun part of living in a city with a large waterway like the Missouri river. Riverboat cruises are a great way to enjoy all that Omaha has to offer. However, as we found out on July 21, 2016 the waters of the Missouri River can be dangerous. Omaha's "River City Star" Riverboat hit the shore while attempting to navigate a turn on the Missouri River. The boat, with over 135 passengers on board, lost power after hitting the shore on the Nebraska side of the river and drifted powerless across the Missouri River to the Council Bluffs, Iowa side where firefighters evacuated the injured and stunned passengers using a makeshift ramp. The cause of this boating accident is under investigation.
With high activity on busy waterways in our community, it is inevitable that accidents may occur, and passengers can be injured.
- Passengers and Tourists - Every individual traveling on a vessel is protected by state of Nebraska civil tort laws. Any passenger or guest suffering injuries on the Missouri River, off the shores of Nebraska, is entitled to compensation for their injuries from every responsible party.
- Workers and Crewmembers - Federal and state law protects crewmembers under U.S. federal maritime law called the Jones Act. This Act gives maritime employee the right to receive financial compensation for injuries suffered and lost wages from missed work caused by the accident.
Common Carriers Owe the Highest Level of Care to Protect Passengers
Every tourist or passenger on a sightseeing vessel in Nebraska is entitled to receive financial compensation if involved in a sightseeing excursion accident caused by the negligence or recklessness of the staff. This is because the operator of any water vessel is required by law to maintain a specific level of safety.
Maintaining safety includes the duty of the boat owner to maintain the vessel to ensure that it is "seaworthy" and in proper working order at all times. In addition, the boat's captain has a legal obligation to provide safe navigation of their vessel, never placing passengers and tourists at unnecessary risk.
Any crewmember that is injured by a tourist sightseeing accident also has legal recourse to recoup damages. The sightseeing boat operator must properly service and maintain the vessel. It is also the boat operator's duty to ensure that all crewmembers work reasonable hours. This will minimize worker fatigue to ensure a level of safety to everyone on board. The owner of the vessel has a legal duty to provide an adequate margin of safety to every crewmember.
Anytime the vessel owner is negligent in their actions or inactions concerning a sightseeing boat tour accident, they can be held legally liable for any injury caused by negligence, carelessness or recklessness.
If you or a loved one was hurt during a sightseeing or dinner cruise on a River Boat and have questions, call (402) 810-8611 or contact us online.