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Long Island municipality faces another lawsuit after boat crash

Although no one expects a car accident, most drivers know how to handle one. They may take photographs of the scene for insurance purposes or call the police to report a serious incident. But the process can be unclear in the case of a boating accident, when effects or liability may not be as obvious to victims and their families.

Two of the three people who experienced injuries in a recent boat crash off Long Island are suing the nearby town for damages. The incident occurred near the entrance to James Creek, a common waterway on the so-called "fishtail" of land at the east end of Suffolk County.

A 27-year-old woman was killed and three were injured when their boat slammed into a bulkhead west of the creek's mouth. Two of the surviving victims are suing the nearby municipality of Southold Town for more than $50 million in compensatory and non-economic damages.

This is not the first time that the town has been the defendant in a similar case. The suit is the second in several months to charge the municipality with improper navigational aids near James Creek. Towns or other property owners may be liable if they are legally required to mark their territorial water with aids for safe boating.

Victims of boating accidents and the survivors of passengers or crew killed in one have the right to seek financial damages in civil court or under the Jones Act. An attorney can help review cases as individual incidents and figure out who may have responsibility for a boat trip going wrong.

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