Have you or someone you love been injured in a boating accident? Read on to learn about your rights and what the next course of action should be.
There are few things scarier than a boating accident, and they happen more frequently than we’d like to believe. An accident on the water can be expensive at best and fatal at worst. If you or someone you love has been injured in a boating accident, it’s important that you take the proper steps to get the compensation you deserve.
Just like car accidents, boating accidents can be caused by a variety of factors. Determining the cause of a boating accident can be difficult, and working through the legal ramifications can be even harder.
What should you do if you’ve been injured in such an accident? The steps you take next can be key. Read on and we’ll walk you through what you need to know.
What Causes Boating Accidents?
Most days, boat operators enjoy their time out on the water with little incident. So when an accident does happen, it can come as a shock. In these cases, there is usually a reason that the accident has occurred, and often, a boat operator is at fault.
Careless or irresponsible operating of a watercraft is one of the main reasons boating accidents occur. This could be in the way that a boat is handled on the water, in terms of the speed of the craft and the handling. It could be as simple as allowing passengers to sit in dangerous areas of the boat, or a failure to maintain a safe distance from other boats on the water.
At the end of the day irresponsible behavior can take many forms, but all kinds of reckless behavior can lead to an accident.
In some cases, bad behavior isn’t the cause of an accident. Something like bad weather or harsh tides might play a big part in causing an accident to occur. However, all boat operators are expected to be reasonably prepared for such occurrences before going out on the water.
While bad weather may help create conditions for an accident to occur, irresponsible behavior by a boat owner still often causes an accident to actually happen.
Immediately Following an Accident
The procedures following a boating accident should be not too dissimilar from what you would do following an automobile accident. It’s important to first assess the safety of all involved and call emergency services if anyone is badly hurt.
Next, someone needs to report the accident to the coast guard or the appropriate state agency. This will allow an official report of the incident to be filed. This report will serve as a key piece of evidence in fighting for compensation later on.
If you are on a small body of water and can’t reach the coast guards, it’s important to contact local authorities and make a report yourself.
If you can, it’s a good idea to gather as much evidence at the scene of the accident as possible. Take photos of the scene, the boats, and any injuries one may have sustained. If there are other witnesses to the accident around, see if you can get there contact info and their perspective on what occurred.
All of this evidence will be helpful in creating a case later on.
Proving Fault in a Boating Accident Case
The injuries and damage sustained in a boating accident can be quite severe. Medical bills can be high, and the costs of repairing a boat can be just as high or even higher. Who is expected to pay for this damage?
If another boat operator acted irresponsibly and caused the accident, then they are liable for these damages. They might also be liable for further damages, as the pain and suffering of those involved with the accident.
In order to receive this compensation, the victimized party would need to prove conclusively that the other party was at fault and caused the accident. This is where that evidence comes in.
If you or someone you loved has been injured in an accident, it can be key to hire an attorney to represent your case. They will be able to build a strategy, gather further evidence, and present your argument in the best light.
They can also help to properly value your case and ensure you’re getting the full amount of compensation you deserve. On top of it all, they’ll ensure you’re staying on top of tricky deadlines and complicated legal paperwork.
Boating Insurance Companies
If the owner of the other boat has boating insurance, you’ll likely be negotiating with their insurance company for the compensation. It’s a good idea to ask about insurance at the scene of the accident so you know who you’ll be working with.
Insurance companies can be tight-fisted and will likely try to pay up as little as possible. That’s another reason to have an experienced attorney on your side. They will have a background in negotiating against insurance company lawyers and can make sure you don’t accept a settlement deal that’s less than you deserve.
In instances where the other boat owner doesn’t have insurance, you might have to bring a formal lawsuit forward to get the compensation you deserve.
Injured in a Boating Accident?
A boating accident can be shocking, scary, and downright dangerous. If you’ve been injured in a boating accident it’s essential that you get the compensation that you deserve. The steps you take following an accident can determine the stability of your health and your financial future.
Need help making your case? Contact us anytime for a free consultation.