Legal Implications Surrounding Titan Submersible Incident: Possibility of Lawsuits Against OceanGate
Following the discovery of debris from the Titan submersible on the ocean floor, legal experts have weighed in on the potential for lawsuits against OceanGate, the company responsible for constructing the submersible. Despite liability waivers signed by the passengers on board, experts assert that the victims’ families can still pursue legal action against the company.
Rescue operations to locate the Titan submersible were officially called off after the US Coast Guard discovered its wreckage. Legal experts argue that the families of the victims are entitled to file lawsuits against the vessel’s owner, OceanGate.
Although the passengers on board, who had paid substantial sums, such as $250,000 each, to journey to great depths below the ocean’s surface, are believed to have signed liability waivers, these waivers may not be foolproof. According to a CBS reporter who experienced a trip with OceanGate Expeditions in July 2022, the waiver he signed explicitly mentioned the possibility of death multiple times on the first page alone.
However, liability waivers can be challenged and dismissed by a judge if evidence of gross negligence or undisclosed hazards is presented.
Matthew D Shaffer, a personal injury attorney and maritime law expert, emphasized that if crucial aspects of the submersible’s design or construction were withheld from the passengers, or if it was knowingly operated despite being unsuitable for the dive, the validity of the waiver could be compromised.
On the other hand, OceanGate may argue against gross negligence and assert that the waivers are valid, as they purportedly provided a comprehensive description of the inherent dangers associated with exploring the deepest regions of the ocean in a submersible comparable in size to a minivan.
The extent of any potential negligence will play a crucial role in determining the causes of the tragic incident, which is currently under investigation.
Joseph Low, a personal injury lawyer from California, explained that despite the waivers, families may still have legitimate claims depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident. However, the specific cause of the implosion must be established before the applicability of the waivers can be determined.
Furthermore, if other parties involved in the design, construction, or manufacturing of the Titan are found to be negligent and implicated in the implosion, families could potentially seek damages from those entities.
As the investigation unfolds, the legal implications surrounding the Titan submersible incident continue to evolve. The families of the victims, armed with the guidance of legal experts, will navigate the complexities of the waivers and seek justice for their loved ones.
In conclusion, while liability waivers have been signed by the passengers of the Titan submersible, legal experts affirm that OceanGate may still face lawsuits from the victims’ families. The validity of the waivers can be challenged if evidence of gross negligence or undisclosed hazards is presented. The ongoing investigation will shed light on the causes of the incident, ultimately determining the legal recourse available to the affected parties.