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Settlement Reached Over Catastrophic Duck Boat Crash

On Behalf of Gierth-Eddy Law Offices, PLLC March 16, 2020

The captain who lost control of a duck boat amphibious vehicle before colliding with an oncoming bus received a $2 million settlement from the tour company. While it has not stopped his nightmares or relieved his trauma, it may help him to move forward. 

According to MYNorthwest, the captain was one of dozens of plaintiffs who filed a complaint against the duck tour company, which then settled the lawsuit for $115 million. Passengers aboard the amphibious vehicle suffered serious physical, emotional and mental trauma. After a mechanical failure caused the captain to lose control of the vehicle, its axle broke while crossing over a Seattle bridge. 

The captain lost control over the vehicle on the bridge and it veered into the other lane. He struggled to regain control of the steering wheel to stay on the bridge and avoid the oncoming traffic. A charter bus carrying several college students crashed into the runaway duck boat vehicle and stopped it before it could plunge over the side of the bridge. The crash also killed five of the charter bus passengers. 

Proving the company’s negligence 

Initial blame for the accident quickly shifted toward the duck boat’s captain, who spent months plagued by guilt. A National Transportation Safety Board investigation, however, discovered mechanical failure was the probable cause of the crash. 

Because the duck tour company owed a duty of care to ensure its passengers’ safety, its failure in providing a vehicle in working order proved negligence. If the company had properly checked and maintained its amphibious vehicle, its axle may not have snapped. 

The captain would not have swerved, but for the mechanical failure. The crash resulted in devastating injuries and five fatalities that the company could have prevented by simply performing a maintenance check. 

Filing a legal action for injuries 

Avoidable accidents and preventable deaths involving cars, trucks, buses or other vehicles can result in life-changing injuries and grieving survivors. Harmed individuals have a legal right to seek compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering or the loss of a family member. Gaining closure and moving on from the emotional turmoil may help in the recovery process.