Boat Accident Attorney
In this article we’ll be dwelling extensively on Boat Accident Attorney, causes of boat Accidents, what to do when you have a boat Accident and how a boat Accident attorney can be of help to you.
With approximately 11.88 million registered recreational boating vessels in the U.S., recreational boating remains a popular leisure activity. Recreational boating includes:
- Personal watercraft
While boating is a popular activity, there are risks involved when operating a motorized vessel. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 4,168 accidents involved 613 deaths in 2019. Moreover, 2,559 injuries and $55 million of property damage resulted due to boating accidents.
In this article, we’ll take a more in-depth look into common causes of boating accidents and what to do should you ever be involved in one. You’ll also understand how a boating accident lawyer can help you and why it’s crucial to contact a boat injury lawyer immediately after your accident.
COMMON CAUSES OF BOATING ACCIDENTS
It can be easy to let your guard down while enjoying your boating experience. Collisions often occur when you least expect them. Below are some of the most common causes of boating accidents.
Operator inattention was the number one contributing factor to boating accidents in 2019; just like driving a car, operating a maritime vessel while distracted can result in severe consequences.
Using cellphones, eating, or adjusting the GPS takes your attention away from the waters. Even briefly directing your attention away can be dangerous since the water conditions can change at a moment’s notice.
Boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a significant problem, contributing to nearly half of all boating accidents. Alcohol is also the most deadly contributing factor, as there were 113 recorded deaths in 2019 due to alcohol alone.
Dangerous waters were the next most deadly accident cause, contributing to 48 deaths.
Due to the leisurely nature of recreational boating, alcohol onboard a vessel can be common. If passengers enjoy a few drinks in the sun, it’s easy for the driver to follow suit. However, even just a drink or two can severely impair your judgment, risking death or serious injuries.
Without constant monitoring of the surroundings, accidents can and will occur.
Under U.S. navigation rules, every vessel is required to “maintain a proper look-out by sight and hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions to make a full appraisal of the situation and the risk of collision.”
This means looking out for other boats, bridge clearances, logs, and other hazards. Ideally, you’d have a separate passenger aiding as the lookout, as this role is quite involved.
Operator inexperience is also a significant factor in boating accidents. The U.S. Coast Guard attributes a lack of operator experience and safety training to 70 percent of boating accident deaths.
Compare this to only 20 percent of deaths in accidents where the vessel operator was nationally certified for boating safety.
Operator experience is essential during emergencies. Operators need to understand how to respond to changing conditions to ensure the safety of all those on board.
Operating a boat at high speeds can be a recipe for disaster. Speeding poses several hazards, such as:
- Capsizing due to choppy waves
- Difficulty identifying submerged rocks or other hazards
- Increased stopping time
- Less time to react and maneuver your boat around hazards
- Increased severity of property damage and injuries
Operators need to consider varying factors, including visibility, weather, and traffic conditions, when determining a safe operating speed.
When your boat is not operating correctly, it can leave you and your passengers stranded. That’s why you must inspect your vessel before you leave shore.
Your checklist should include inspecting the hull, bilge, outdrive, hoses and lines, battery, oil, fuel, electrical and cooling systems, and most critically, the drain plug. Regular inspection and maintenance will help reduce the risk of a mechanical failure in your vessel. Don’t forget essential hand tools or merely spare parts.
JET SKIS & BOATING ACCIDENTS
Personal watercraft is a type of smaller vessel used primarily for recreational purposes, such as jet skis. They are small, agile, and easier to handle, making them extremely popular for boating enthusiasts.
Police and rangers also leverage jet skis’ speed and maneuver while patrolling or conducting various legal enforcement activities.
Why Jet Skis are So Dangerous
While popular and fun to operate, jet skis are more dangerous than your typical boat. Jet ski accidents made up 20% of the total number of recreational boating accidents in 2019—ranking second to only open motorboats as the vessel type with the most incidents.
Here are some reasons why jet skis are so dangerous:
- Reckless operation: The lighter weight and powerful jet motors allow top speeds of 65 mph or higher. Ease of mobility can lead to overconfident, reckless operations such as weaving in and out of congested traffic or “jumping” large boat wakes.
- Jet ski design: While newer jet skis are relatively stable, their small size makes them easier to flip over. This is especially true when cruising at high speeds. Like a motorcycle on land, the chances of sustaining an injury on a jet ski are higher as there is nothing to stop you from falling or flying off the vessel.
Additionally, the steering column can collide with your chest or head even in a moderate speed incident.
- Lack of training: Personal watercraft are relatively easy to operate. In certain states, operators aged 12 are permitted to ride a jet ski. The ease of operability may encourage under-trained thrill-seeking drivers to hop on these zippy personal watercraft, thus endangering others.
- Weather: Jet skis don’t offer the same amount of protection as most larger vessels. Their size and general lack of safety features make it extremely dangerous to navigate stormy weather. If you get tossed from your jet ski, it could drift out to sea without you.
Common Jet Ski Accident Injuries
Jet ski riders involved in an accident can face a variety of injuries:
- Broken bones
- Pelvic injuries
- Damaged eardrums
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Bruises and abrasions
If you’ve sustained any of these injuries during a jet ski or boating accident, consult with a boating accident attorney.
Often, these injuries can have long-lasting effects, impacting every aspect of your life. A boat injury attorney can provide you with expert advice on how to get the maximum compensation available.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A BOATING ACCIDENT
Whether you’re a passenger or an operator, here are some steps you should take after a boating accident.
Contact Emergency Services
Check to see if everybody is accounted for after the emergency occurs. Then, ensure there are no significant injuries. If someone is injured or there is substantial damage to the boat, contact the appropriate emergency services immediately.
Report the Accident
State laws will differ in reporting requirements after a boating incident. Federal law requires you to file a report with the U.S. Coast Guard if the boating accident resulted in either the following situations:
- Injuries requiring more than first aid treatment
- Death or missing person(s)
- Damage of over $2,000 to any vessels or property involved
Document the Accident
Just like a car accident, you’ll want to gather relevant information relating to the boating accident. Take photos of the surroundings, including injuries, damages, and weather conditions.
Ensure you take down the registration and insurance details of the boat operator. Contact details of everyone involved should also be collected.
Get Medical Attention
The adrenaline rush immediately after an accident can make it seem like you are okay. However, symptoms can show up days after the incident took place. Even if you don’t feel anything, visit your doctor to be on the safe side.
A medical record right after an accident will also help establish a causal link between the accident and your injuries.
Consult a Boating Accident Attorney
Consult a boat attorney to help you navigate through the legal process. They’ll advise you on the best legal options, so you don’t make any costly mistakes while pursuing your boating accident compensation.
HOW A BOAT ACCIDENT ATTORNEY CAN HELP YOU
Turning to an experienced boat lawyer is the best thing you can do when navigating the ins-and-outs of a boating accident case.
To get compensation from a boating accident, you must demonstrate negligence or malicious intent on the part of another party.
This means you must show that someone owed you a duty of care, and they acted in a manner that breached that duty or that the incident was caused by prohibited maritime behavior.
Getting to the bottom of who is responsible for the accident is not always clear. For example, a collision with multiple boats can have numerous parties liable.
However, you must also consider other factors, such as weather or the condition of the vessel. Accidents can even be caused by parties other than the operator, including passengers, the boat owner, the boat manufacturer, or the boat rental company.
Most states don’t require operators to carry liability insurance when operating a boat. However, operators may choose to have boat insurance to cover any damages.
If that’s the case, a boating accident lawyer will negotiate with insurance companies to ensure you get a fair settlement value. A lawyer will also advise on whether to pursue legal action directly against the liable party.
As you can see, there are many moving parts in a boating accident claim. A lawyer will assess your case, gather evidence, and develop a strategy based on the findings.
Gain peace of mind knowing a legal professional is advocating on your behalf while you recover from your injuries.
Boat accidents can involve all types of seafaring vessels, including boats, ships, ferries, and personal watercrafts like jet skis. The United States Coast Guard counted close to 5,000 boat accidents in 2006. The operator and owner of a boat have a responsibility to take every precaution to decrease the chances of an accident and injury to passengers, swimmers, and others around the watercraft. When they do not exercise an appropriate level of concern and caution, tragedy can occur, and people can be hurt or killed.
COMMON BOAT ACCIDENTS
The most common boating accidents involve collisions with other vessels; more than 1,400 such collisions were reported to the Coast Guard in 2006. Collisions between two or more vessels can cause irreparable harm and damage, and unfortunately occur much too often. Other commonly reported boating accidents include:
- collision with a stationary object
- passenger falling overboard
- injury to a waterskier or swimmer
CAUSES OF AND CONTRIBUTING FACTORS IN BOAT ACCIDENTS
The majority of boating accidents are caused by inattentive, inexperienced, or intoxicated operators who speed or pilot recklessly. When an operator fails to exercise caution in operating his or her vessel and an accident results, he or she could be held liable for any injuries or wrongful deaths.
In other cases, a defect in the watercraft could cause significant damage and bodily harm to a passenger. The manufacturer or seller of the boat could be held responsible for any accidents that occur as a result of the defect.
DO I NEED A LAWYER?
Sustaining an injury in a boating accident can be debilitating and devastating, especially when the accident was caused by the negligent or careless actions of the operator or owner of another vessel. While the injured party or parties attend to immediate matters like medical attention and rehabilitation, an attorney can investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident, research maritime laws, and gather facts to build a case against the party responsible for the accident.
CONTACT A BOAT ACCIDENT ATTORNEY FOR MORE INFORMATION
If you have been injured in a collision with another vessel, or another type of boating accident, you could be entitled to compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Contact an experienced attorney in your area through our nationwide legal network.
California Boat Accident Attorneys
Boating accidents often result in catastrophic injuries that require emergency care. Although there are countless factors that lead to boat crashes, the majority are due to negligent and reckless behaviors such as drunk boating, speeding, and inattention. The California boat accident attorneys at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers help victims of boating injuries fight for the compensation they need to afford medical treatment, lost wages, and other damages.
Our lawyers have recovered more than $300 million in personal injury and wrongful death cases. We are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We can even come to you if you are unable to come to us. Call 1-800-GO-HARRIS to arrange a free case evaluation.
Types of Cases Our Boat Accident Attorney Handle:
Boating is a year-round activity in California, which is why our state has some of the highest boating accident rates in the country. Hundreds of people are injured and dozens die in boating accidents each year. Victims and their families are often left wondering how they will afford the medical expenses and loss of income.
The California boating accident lawyers at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers understand how traumatic the aftermath of a serious crash can be. We are passionate about helping our clients recover the maximum compensation as quickly as possible.
Our attorneys handle a variety of boating accident cases including:
- Alcohol-Related Boating Accidents: Drunk driving is a leading cause of boating wrecks in the United States—and California is certainly no exception. Our attorneys will evaluate toxicology and crash reports and talk to witnesses to determine if alcohol impairment may have played a role in your crash. If so, we can help you pursue punitive damages in addition to compensation for your economic and non-economic losses.
- Boating Accidents Due to Speeding: Driving a boat at an excessive speed not only makes the vessel more difficult to control, but it also increases the likelihood of an injury or death occurring in the event of a crash. Our attorneys will investigate your case and may bring in accident reconstruction experts to prove that speeding contributed to your wreck.
- Boating Accidents Due to Equipment Defects: A negligently designed or manufactured part could result in an equipment malfunction. If a defective part contributed to your crash, our boating accident lawyers can review schematics and blueprints, speak with boating parts specialists, and identify all potentially liable parties.
- Ejection Injuries: Being ejected from a boat at a high speed can result in debilitating injuries such as broken bones, a dislocated shoulder, soft tissue damage, and brain trauma.
- Injuries Caused by Propellers: Coming into contact with a propeller can cause deep lacerations and even amputations. Most of these injuries are caused by negligent boat operation.
- Violations of Boating Regulations: In the state of California, there are strict laws that govern who can operate a watercraft, where it can be operated, and how it must be operated. Violating these rules not only is illegal but could also result in devastating injuries.
Other Types of Boating Accidents: Even if the at-fault party was not breaking a law, you may still have grounds for a claim. Our California boating accident attorneys handle personal injury and wrongful death cases involving inexperienced boaters, poor weather conditions, and other types of hazards. We handle cases involving all types of watercraft including cabin cruisers, yachts, tenders, personal watercraft (wave runners and jet skis), inflatable boats, sailboats, kayaks, canoes, and airboats.
How Soon After My Boat Accident Should I Contact a boat Accident Attorney?
If you were injured in a boat crash, you should consult a boating accident lawyer as soon as possible. The attorneys at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-GO-HARRIS.
Valuable evidence that can be used to prove liability and damages may become unavailable within days of your crash. Our lawyers will perform an immediate investigation into the cause of your accident. We will identify all potentially liable parties, handle correspondence with the defendant and insurance company, calculate your damages, and help you avoid critical mistakes.
There are also strict deadlines for filing personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. If the deadline passes, your case will almost certainly be dismissed. It is important to contact a boat accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Contact Our Boat Accident attorney Today to See How We Can Help You!
The path to a fair settlement is riddled with legal hurdles that can be difficult to overcome without the guidance of a personal injury attorney. The lawyers at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers provide aggressive legal representation to victims of personal injury and wrongful death throughout California.
We are well-versed in the laws that govern boating accident claims, and we will use our extensive knowledge and resources to help you fight for the highest possible compensation. Call us today at 1-800-GO-HARRIS or Contact us online to schedule a free case assessment.
The Ruth Law Boat Accident Attorney in Florida
If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one in a boating accident, a qualified boat injury lawyer from The Ruth Law Team can help to ensure that medical, funerary, and other expenses are covered. Our knowledgeable and caring team has the experience to fight on your behalf, giving you the best opportunity to negotiate a fair settlement.
The Sunshine State is surrounded by water on three sides and features numerous bodies of water, including nearly 8,000 lakes and 60 rivers. This, coupled with an average of nearly 240 days of sun each year, makes Florida a wonderful place to be on the water when the weather is warm. Unfortunately, more boats on the water also mean a greater risk for boating accidents. In 2019, Florida led the nation in recreational boating accidents with 679 reported, including 55 fatality accidents that resulted in a total of 62 deaths. If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one in a boating accident, a qualified boat accident attorney from The Ruth Law Team can help to ensure that medical and other expenses are covered.
The last thing you need when you’re recovering from injury or mourning the loss of a loved one is to get railroaded by insurance providers looking to delay or deny your claims until you simply give up in frustration. Our knowledgeable and caring team has the experience to fight on your behalf, giving you the best opportunity to negotiate a fair settlement. As your expert boat accident laywers, The Ruth Law Team will guide you through the process of recovering maximum compensation. Contact us today at (888) 343-5202 or online to speak with an experienced boat injury lawyer to learn how we can help you.
Frequently Asked Questions About Boat Accident Attorney
When you’ve been injured or lost a loved one in a boating accident, you’re sure to have many questions when you hire a lawyer to represent you. At The Ruth Law Team, we are always happy to address your questions and concerns, starting with a few of those we hear most frequently.
Should I Hire a Boat Accident Attorney?
The answer is yes. The qualified attorneys at The Ruth Law Team have the knowledge, experience, and skill to help you fight for the settlement you deserve. The insurance company has extensive resources and they won’t hesitate to delay or deny your claims until you’re willing to take a fraction of what you’re owed or simply give up and walk away. Don’t go it alone! Let our experts take the lead and secure the compensation you deserve.
What is the Cost to Hire a Boat Injury Lawyer?
When you choose the Ruth Law Team as your trusted boat injury lawyer, you won’t pay a dime until a settlement is reached. We know you’re dealing with a mountain of medical bills and all the stress that entails, in addition to recovering from injuries. We’re not about to pile on additional hassle. We work on a contingency-fee basis, which means if you don’t get paid, we don’t get paid. When we reach a settlement on your behalf, a percentage of the recovery will be used to pay our fee.
What Should I Do After a Boating Accident?
The first thing you should do is to seek medical attention, if needed. Next, gather evidence like photos, insurance information, and witness statements. Have someone at the scene do this for you, if you are unable to do so yourself. Finally, contact The Ruth Law Team as soon as possible to schedule a free consultation. The sooner we get started, the quicker we can begin working to secure compensation for you.
Will My Case Go to Trial?
The Ruth Law Team always tries to negotiate a fair and speedy settlement without going to trial for your convenience and peace of mind. However, our goal is to ensure that you get the settlement you deserve so that you can cover current and anticipated expenses, and we are prepared to go to trial to fight for you if necessary.
Do You Have Experience with Boating Accident Trials?
Yes. The Ruth Law Team has over 40 years of experience successfully settling personal injury claims like yours, and that includes significant trial experience.
Why Should I Trust The Ruth Law Team?
The Ruth Law Team has extensive experience recovering damages in cases like yours, and we pride ourselves on securing maximum settlements for our clients. We always want to make your life as easy as possible so that you can focus on important tasks like recovering and getting back to your life. This is why we come to you, at home or in the hospital. We’re on call 24/7 to address any questions or concerns you may have.
You’ll enjoy the full power of our diverse team of legal experts. The Ruth Law Team represents you — and your best interests drive every action we take.
In addition to negotiating your settlement with insurance companies, we have experience working with medical providers to ensure you get the care you need now, sometimes with payment delayed until your case reaches settlement.
What If I Already Have a Boat Accident Attorney?
If you’ve hired another attorney that isn’t meeting your needs, The Ruth Law Team invites you to schedule a free consultation with our qualified and experienced lawyers to see if we’re a better fit. Whether you’ve discovered that your current law firm doesn’t have expertise in boating accidents specifically, or you simply can’t get anyone to return your calls, our experienced and attentive team is happy to take the reins and work to secure a fair settlement quickly.
What Types of Damages Can I Recover After Being Injured in a Boating Accident?
Whether you were the operator of the boat, a passenger, or a person in the water, if you suffer injuries due to a boating accident, you can file a personal injury case to attempt to recover damages. Compensation could cover:
- Medical expenses, including physical therapy
- Permanent disability
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
The scope of your injuries and the impact to your life will affect the types of damages you seek and the amount you recover.
Is There a Time Limit for Filing a Lawsuit After a Boating Accident?
In Florida, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury case may vary based on the circumstances of your accident. For example, in a boating accident involving general negligence, the statute of limitations is generally four years from the date at which the accident occurred. However, this time drops to two years in the event of a wrongful death. Exceptions may also apply if you were injured as a passenger on a cruise or if you had purchased a ticket for a boat ride, as you may have agreed to certain limitations or waivers as a part of your purchase. Boat accident cases are unique, so it’s always best to contact the experts at The Ruth Law Team as soon as possible to find out how the statute of limitations impacts your case.
What If I Was Partially at Fault for a Boating Accident?
Even if you are deemed to be partially at fault for a boating accident, the state of Florida observes the comparative fault doctrine, which means you could still seek recovery for your injuries. However, the amount of fault assigned to you will reduce the amount of damages you’re eligible to recover.
What If I Don’t Know Who Was at Fault?
A claim for damages following a boating accident requires you to establish that the boat operator had a duty of care, that the duty was breached, and that the damages you suffered were due to said breach. If you can’t establish fault in an accident, these requirements are difficult to meet. However, The Ruth Law Team has the resources to investigate your case, find evidence, and help to determine fault, in order to move forward with seeking a settlement.
Boat Accident Attorneys
For over 40 years, The Ruth Law Team has successfully secured settlements in cases like yours. As your trusted boat injury lawyer, we’ll put our extensive resources to work fighting for the compensation you deserve. Our talented team of expert attorneys includes:
- Steven C. Ruth
- Eric D. Roslansky
- Jenna C. Ruth
- Jessica E. Shahady
- Amy A. Catledge
- Austin J. Grinder
- Alex H. Longo
Every lawyer on our talented team has the knowledge, experience, skill, and drive to win settlements and secure maximum compensation on your behalf.
Boating Accident Lawyers in Florida
The Ruth Law Team is available 24/7. Call us toll-free at (888) 343-5202 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation, contact us online for a free case evaluation, or use the live chat feature on our website to learn more.