Duck Boat Accident Lawyers

Handling Cases of Drowning & Wrongful Death

In 2018, 17 people were killed in a tragic duck boat accident on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri. Stormy weather suddenly struck a boat owned by Ride the Ducks, a popular tour service. The vessel capsized while filled with 31 passengers—of them, 11 were members of the same family. None of the passengers were wearing lifejackets because the captain had allegedly told them they didn’t need them.

17 people died—9 from the same family. Young children and teenagers were among the dead.

“Duck boats” were amphibious military vehicles designed for troop and supply transport in World War II. After the war, the vehicles were utilized for tourism. Cities near bodies of water—Philadelphia, Boston, Seattle, and more—used them to tour the streets and local waterways. Businesses like Ride the Ducks created tourist attractions out of riding the enormous vehicles. However, duck boat lawyers have called them by another name: “sinking coffins.” The duck boat attorneys at Arnold & Itkin believe that companies like Ride the Ducks need to be held accountable before other people die in their vessels.

If you or a loved one was harmed while riding a duck boat, call (888) 493-1629 or contact us online to review your options.

Fighting For People When The Worst Happens

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Duck Boat Design Creates Drowning Accidents

One of the worst problems about duck boats is that they haven’t been redesigned or altered since they were created in WWII. Their design still includes a hard canopy—an iconic part of the boat’s design. It’s also one of the reasons why fatal duck boat accidents happen. In 1999, a duck boat accident in Hot Springs, Arkansas killed 13 people. The problem was the canopy. When other boats sink, occupants can easily leave the boat before the vessel goes under. With the canopy, passengers are dragged down with the boat. That’s why duck boat tragedies often include so many deaths at once—the canopy creates drowning accidents.

The boat started taking on water. It sank within 30 seconds.

Another issue is that duck boats sit low in the water. The Hot Springs duck boat accident took place in less than a minute. The boat started taking on water and sank within 30 seconds. At that speed, 20 or 30 passengers don’t have nearly enough time to save themselves—certainly not parents who are scrambling to rescue their children.

Wrongful Death Claims in the Wake of Duck Boat Accidents

With 13 passengers drowning in Hot Springs, the NTSB investigated the incident and released a detailed report about why over a dozen wrongful deaths took place. Their official recommendation was that all duck boat operators remove the canopy and make other safety alterations to prevent other mass drownings. After 19 years, Ride the Ducks still uses canopies on their duck boats.

Companies have an obligation to keep customers and passengers safe. When companies offer their services to the public, it’s with the understanding that their services are reasonably safe. If customers die while in their care (and it’s due to their negligence), then companies are legally and ethically bound to pay for the damages.

Our wrongful death lawyers have helped hundreds of families honor their loved one’s memory by holding their wrongdoer accountable. No amount of justice can bring our family members back—but by fighting in their name, we can make their death mean something. Our firm can fight to ensure that companies can’t sweep their mistakes under the rug or go on with “business as usual.”

Our clients have won billions of dollars in verdicts and settlements thanks to our experience and investigative resources. Review your legal options with us today. Call (888) 493-1629 to set up a free consultation!

Common Questions

  • What Makes Duck Boats So Dangerous?

    Duck boats can pose a higher risk to passengers in the event of an emergency from heavy weather or mechanical failure for two key reasons: they sit low in the water and they have overhead canopies. Because they sit so low, more of the vessel is already below the surface. They are more likely to take on water when waves get high and they will sink faster. Their canopies make it more difficult for passengers to escape if the boat starts to sink. Some duck boat companies have added windows to the canopies to heat and cool the boats, but this only makes it more difficult for passengers to get out in an emergency. Because these are amphibious vehicles, both bus and boat, it can also be difficult to determine which safety regulations apply–opening the door to hazardous conditions that put everyone on board at risk.

  • How Many People Have Died On Duck Boats?

    The NTSB reports that 37 people have died and 104 have been injured in duck boat accidents in the United States. Some of these injuries and deaths have been attributed to unseaworthy vessels, heavy weather, and negligence by boat operators. Others have occurred on land while the boats were driven on streets or docks. Both passengers and pedestrians have suffered harm from duck boat accidents.

  • What Can I Do If I Was Injured or Lost a Loved One in a Duck Boat Accident?

    If you lost someone you love or were injured in any type of accident on or involving a duck boat, talk to an attorney. Don’t accept the first settlement offer or give a statement to the insurance company or a representative of the duck boat tour company without talking to a legal professional about your rights. If negligence or wrongdoing was involved, you are entitled to compensation from the responsible party. You deserve to be compensated for your medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and more.
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