Boating Accidents

Whether you are fishing, water skiing, or just cruising on your boat, on a cruise, boating accidents are a risk of being out on the water. Most boating accidents are caused by human negligence.

boating-accidentIn some ways boating accidents are more dangerous than car accidents because of the lack of safety equipment, the difficulty in transporting the injured to adequate medical care, risks of hypothermia, risks of drowning, and the presence of flammable fuel on top of the water.

If you have been injured in a boat accident because of someone else’s negligence, you need to understand your rights.

Don’t miss out on the payments you are legally entitled to. Let us find you a lawyer with experience in dealing with boating accidents today.

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Boating Facts and satistics

While boating is statistically a safe activity, every year thousands of people are injured or are killed in recreational boating accidents.

The U.S. Coast Guard reports than in 2014 over 4,000 accidents were reported where someone was injured or killed while boating. This number does not include accidents that happen due to maintenance issues while a boat is docked.

Boat accidents occur on rivers, lakes, and oceans. The state governments and the federal government both have rules and regulations about how boats are licensed and who is qualified to operate them.

boating accident claimSome states require a driver’s license to drive a recreational motorboat while others simply have age restrictions. A few states require a basic boat safety course.

The mix of different state and federal rules can be confusing for people who have been injured in a boat accident who are trying to get paid for their injuries, pain, and suffering.

Anyone driving a boat has a duty to do so safely and to avoid causing injury to anyone else. Just as there are rules of the road, there are rules when out on the water.

Unfortunately, the rules of boating are often not as well understood or followed as the rules for driving are.

Boating accidents happen on boats of all sizes and descriptions. While most boating accidents happen in the warmer summer months, boating accidents are a hazard all year round.

Causes of Boating Accidents

Boating accidents are almost always caused by human error. Weather can have a profound affect on a boat and its occupants, but when boat operators follow the rules and use their common sense, most accidents are preventable.

The most frequent caused of boat accidents are:

  • Failure to pay attention
  • Alcohol impaired driving
  • Illegal drug impaired driving
  • Unsafe speeds
  • Inexperienced driver
  • Weather conditions
  • Distracted driver
  • Drowsy driver
  • Violated rules of navigation
  • Turn too sharp
  • Poorly maintained boat
  • Improper loading of cargo or passengers

There is an almost unlimited number of ways a boating accident can occur. But, the vast majority of accidents involve alcohol, failure to follow standard rules, or distracted driving.

boating-accident-lawyerThe U.S. Coast Guard often enforces the laws and rules that govern boating. But, in smaller bodies of water, local law enforcement is often the primary law enforcement agency on the scene. Because of budget constraints, the ratio of law enforcement to boaters is low.

After an accident the first ones on the scene are usually other boaters. Coast Guard or law enforcement often doesn’t arrive until much later.

All boaters have a duty to rescue other boaters if doing so does not put them in jeopardy. Some accidents happen while regular boaters are trying to perform a rescue.

Types of Injuries from boating accident

Injuries in boating accidents can be catastrophic. Boating also has a high rate of deaths per accident because once a boat is involved in an accident there are fewer safety features than is common in automobiles.

Some of the most common types of injuries include:

  • Drowning
  • Burns
  • Lacerations
  • Severed limbs
  • Traumatic head injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Head and neck injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Internal injuries
  • Hypothermia

While all boats are required to have first aid kits, life preservers, flares, and other emergency supplies, the nature of a boat accident can make it difficult to treat the victims.

lawyer-for-boating-injuryOne problem is that the boat itself is often unstable and the victims must remain in the water for long periods of time. It is difficult to treat wounds while in the water, even with life jackets on. Minor wounds can worsen when not given proper treatment.

Boating Accident Compensation Claim

Not every state requires boaters to have insurance. Unlike most car accidents, it is usually difficult to exchange information with another boat owner or driver immediately after an accident.

It can take weeks or even months for any type of official report to be released about the accident. Trying to decide how to file an injury claim can be difficult.

The operator of the other boat may have to be sued because there is no insurance to file a claim against.

State and federal laws may also come into play when trying to file an injury claim. If you were the passenger on a commercial boat, you may have an easier time getting compensated for your injuries because the company is probably required to carry insurance.

If you have been injured in a boat accident because of someone else’s negligence, you need to understand your rights.

Don’t miss out on the payments you are legally entitled to. Let us find you a lawyer with experience in dealing with boating accidents today.

Free Case Evaluation

Contact us to schedule your free consultation.

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