Just an hour and forty-five minutes after the Titan’s descent into the ocean, it lost communication with its mother ship and did not surface as was expected. This prompted an extensive search and rescue operation with a very tight timeline – as the Titan was expected to only have only 96 hours of oxygen.
The Titan has been missing since Sunday. On Thursday, June 22, 2023, the U.S. Coast Guard stated that the remote-operated vehicle searching on the sea floor found two separate debris fields. They found at least five different pieces of the debri – including both ends to the pressure hull (which were found in different places) and the tail cone. This points to a “catastrophic implosion” that would have killed everyone on the submersible.
OceanGate Expeditions, the company behind the Titan deep-sea submersible, issued a statement saying that they believe that the five people on board “have sadly been lost.” The people onboard included OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman Dawood, Hamish Harding, and Paul-Henri Nargeolet. The expedition cost each person $250,000.
A few people that went on the Titanic expedition with OceanGate have released statements about their experience. One man explained that he had to sign a big packet of with liability waivers and that he understood the risks associated with going on the expedition. Another person, a former employee, said that he was fired from OceanGate after expressing concerns about safety.
OceanGate is part of wealthy adventure tourism – which is a growing business. Many companies are coming up and offering once in a lifetime experience without regard to the risks that passengers/tourists may face.
If you or a loved one suffered harm in an OceanGate expedition or in a similar tour or expedition, it is important that you seek legal assistance as soon as possible. The lawyers here at the Downtown L.A. Law Group are more than ready to provide you with the guidance that you need to pursue your claim and fight for your rights. If you are ready to speak with one of our experienced lawyers, contact us today.
About OceanGate’s Titan Vessel
The vessel reportedly is about the size of a minivan. It has no seats or seatbelts; passengers have to sit on the floor of the vessel. It weighs about 23,000 pounds and is made of a combination of carbon fiber and titanium. The vessel is low-tech and relies on a video game controller for movement. There is no GPS onboard, and there is no way for passengers to exit the vessel – as the only entry/exit is dead-bolted from the outside.
James Cameron Accuses OceanGate of Cutting Corners
James Cameron, Hollywood film director who directed Titanic (1997), is accusing OceanGate of cutting corners with their submersible. Cameron has completed 33 submersible dives to the wreck of the Titanic – yet he reportedly would have never considered going on OceanGate’s submersible.
He claims that the company did not look to get certified because they were aware that they would not pass any certification requirements. He also said that as soon as he found out about the submersible going missing, he had a bad feeling because all systems failing is never a coincidence, but rather a sign of a disaster. He claims that “OceanGate were warned” of the risks present but chose to continue with their expeditions anyway.
According to the New York Times, the Marine Technology Society (MTS) sent a letter to OceanGate in March 2018 saying that the company’s “experimental approach” could ultimately have negative outcomes.
In addition, court documents show that a former employee, David Lockridge who was the director of marine operations, raised concerns of the safety of the vessel that date back to 2018. However, those on top continued to argue that the Titan had undergone thorough testing. In a 2019 blog post, OceanGate stated that even though their vessel was designed outside of the norm, it still met standards. They also argued that developing vessels in accordance with classification agencies actually hindered innovation.
Cameron ended by saying that, without a doubt, going down to the Titanic wreck is dangerous, but there have been no fatalities associated with these expeditions in over sixty years. This highlights the fact that the OceanGate Titan incident could have been prevented.
Liability for Injuries during Experiences
If you purchase an experience through a company, you expect that the company would have done everything possible to ensure that your experience was a safe one – whether the experience is a helicopter flight, bungee jumping, paragliding, parachuting, or deep-sea diving. These companies have a duty to ensure that their customers are safe during the experience. So, how do these companies keep their customers safe? Properly training staff, subjecting their vehicles/vessels to safety checks, having routine inspections, keeping up with necessary repairs/maintenance, ensuring that the vehicle/vessel is built with the best quality material, and informing customers of the risks that come with the experience, for example.
When companies fail to do this, incidents can occur and, of course, injuries and even death can occur. These companies can be held accountable and could be sued.
What If a Liability Waiver was Signed?
Many people believe that they do not have the right to sue if a liability waiver was signed. However, this is not always the case. Liability waivers typically cover accidental harm but not gross negligence. If a company negligently sent out a vessel into the sea that was not equipped to safely handle the expedition (for whatever reason), then the company could be liable and could be sued – regardless of any liability waiver.
For more information about whether you and your family have the right to file a lawsuit for harm resulting from a deep-sea expedition or any other tourist experience, contact us today. Our lawyers are ready to help you every step of the way.
Can I Recover Compensation?
Yes – whether you are filing an injury claim or a wrongful death claim, you could have the right to file a lawsuit and recover compensation. Some of the categories of compensation available for recovery include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income (loss of financial support)
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral and burial costs
- Punitive damages
- Legal fees
Here at our law firm, our legal team is more than ready to provide you with the guidance that you need to fight for your rights and recover the maximum settlement that you are owed. These cases are not typically easy to resolve, but our lawyers are committed to providing our clients with the representation that they need to reach the highest payout available for their claims.
Considering that the victims in the OceanGate Titan incident were almost all high-earners, however, any cases brought forward by surviving family members will likely be worth multi-millions – if not more.
Contact the Downtown L.A. Law Group Today
Our layers have decades of experience handling all sorts of personal injury claims, including those involving incidents with adventure tourism. Our legal team is not afraid to take on any company to fight for the rights of our clients. We offer free legal services, which include free consultations and free second opinions. During these free legal services, our experienced lawyers will be available to answer all your questions and address all your concerns – ensuring that you have access to all the information that you need to either begin or continue your injury claim or wrongful death claim. Our Zero-Fee guarantee ensures that our clients never have to worry about paying any upfront legal costs for our legal services. In addition, our team works strictly on contingency; therefore, our clients will not be required to pay anything until after winning their claims. If you do not win, you simply will not be responsible for paying anything.
If you are ready to discuss your legal options with the experts here at our law firm, contact us today. Our team is more than ready to help you every step of the way.