Scuba Diving Injuries

John O’Connell represents victims of scuba diving and maritime accidents in Hawaii. He got his early training in scuba diving in 1978, and started litigating scuba diving cases in 1991 when a newly married spouse on his honeymoon embolized and died during a PADI Discover Scuba Diving Experience while vacationing in Kona, Hawaii. Since then he has worked on numerous scuba diving and rebreather accident cases in Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Florida, California and New Hampshire.

He has also litigated maritime claims of crew members, Jones Act seaman, scuba workers, Hawaii residents and tourists who have been injured during recreational and commercial diving activities in Hawaii. While "releases" or "waivers" appear to exempt the tour operator from liability, he has obtained recent decision voiding the snorkeling/scuba release and waiver.

Based on his experience he has put together a checklist of What to do if a SCUBA incident has occurred.

What to do if Involved in a Scuba Diving Accident

Usually, if a there is a death or serious injury on or under the water, the insurance company or dive certification company has an investigator on scene within 3 days. They are there to gather information to help the person or company that did something wrong.

You should do the same.

Equipment gets used, photos get deleted, witnesses drift away and memories fade. The earlier you get helpful information the better.

There is no better evidence than a video or photo taken when the incident happened. Just about everyone these days takes cellphone photos and video. If you are still able to take pictures of the injuries or the area please do so.

TV stations will try to get a videotape of the scuba diving accident. Witnesses post videos online. Tour companies often take a video that they will try to sell you at the end of the tour. Try to get as many of these as you can before they disappear.

Other Information you should gather include:

  • Names and phone numbers of the witnesses, divemaster, dive instructor, dive buddy and other dive participants
  • The Police Report, Ocean Safety Report and Coast Guard report when ready

If this was a serious injury or fatal dive the scuba diving equipment was probably confiscated and taken somewhere to be tested. Find out where and whether they are affiliated with the scuba shop.

Don't let the equipment get returned to service unless tested and any information copied from the dive computer.

If a death was involved an autopsy is usually conducted. Ask for the report.

One other thing you may get a call from an insurance company or claims person who wants to talk to you and get you to make a recorded statement. Remember that they are not doing so to help you and you are under no obligation to do so.

These are just some of the things you should be thinking about.

Of course, you should consult an attorney as soon as possible to learn more about your rights.

We are ready to help. Please call us. Our initial consultation is free.

John Offers Some Advice on Scuba Diving Accidents

Testimonial SH Testimonial


One Past Client Has Said:

After almost two years of struggling with the untimely and unnecessary death of my husband and father of my children in a scuba diving accident off the Kona, Hawaii coast I met John O’Connell.

John worked tirelessly to understand our case and the many factors that would impact the outcome of our lawsuit with a clear goal to achieve the highest results possible for our family. This included seeking to understand all aspects of the events that lead to my husband’s death through comprehensive research and in-depth preparation for completion of depositions, court filings and tireless work to present and make our case during trial. Work on our case required extensive travel over long distances and multiple time zones all the while remaining accessible and responsive to conferences and updates to me and our family. I came to respect and trust John both professionally and personally.

John provided individual insight and expertise on all matters, listened to the perspective of everyone involved in the case incorporating, sharing, expanding or refuting defense ideas and information expertly.

The loss of a loved one suddenly and unnecessarily is devastating, exposing that pain, treasured memories and maintaining composure during depositions and trial is difficult to say the least. John took care not only to protect and guide our family through the process but also to fiercely protect our interests and get the best trail result possible and we were successful.

John O’Connell is honest, compassionate and dedicated to his clients. He has built a strong bond of trust and friendship with our family, one that we will always value and be grateful for.