The photo on left is of my then 16 year-old son and me a few years ago as we were about to board the Duck Boat for a tour of Boston and its harbor. The “Duck Boat” – for those that don’t know — is a six-wheeled amphibious vehicle originally used as U.S. military landing craft during World War II, but later adapted for tourists in cities with a harbor, river or lake such as Boston, London, Philadelphia and Washington.
It was a cool ride! We drove around B-Town, then drove right into the Harbor and kept going. The tour guide — Duck Dude — joked all the way through the tour while sharing useful and sometimes not-so-useful but sure-as-hell entertaining information.
But there is sad news this week for Duck Boat lovers. A Seattle Duck Boat crashed into a charter bus full of college kids. Terrible accident sending 50 people to the hospital.
Witnesses say the accident happened like this: As the Duck Boat was making a left turn it seemed to lurch suddenly, lost control, and smashed into the nearby charter bus. Why? It is too early in the investigation to be certain, but what may have caused this unusual lurching movement is a defective axle. Ride the Ducks International had issued a warning two years ago to all local Duck Boat franchises that the axle was defective and needed to be fixed to avoid failure. The boat involved in the Seattle crash hadn’t had its axle replaced or fixed.
Seattle Duck Boat owner, if that’s what happened, you’ve got a big problem. That’s a pretty heavy injury toll. And if all those good people are maimed, mangled and otherwise messed up because you did not do what you were supposed to do, I hope you’ve got plenty of insurance. You’re going to need it.
Corporations often cause injuries and death by cutting corners on safety to save a buck. This case may be no different. And as I have said over and over again in these blog posts, the job of personal injury lawyers like me is to make them pay. Making them pay serves two purposes: (1) compensate the victim and (2) teach the negligent cost-cutting, safety-violating corporate decision makers a lesson that will — hopefully — give them an economic reason to put safety first. If they know they will have to pay big bucks when their unsafe practices cause harm, they are more likely to avoid the harm by making their products safe.
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Michael G. Bersani, Esq.