Boating is mainly associated with fun, relaxing times with family and friends. It’s only when an accident happens that we realize how dangerous boating can be. A boating accident can lead to severe injuries, sometimes even death.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, in 2017 alone, there were 4,291 recreational boating accidents in the United States, and the number is rising. Maritime laws are different than other personal injury laws, so you need an experienced boating accident lawyer by your side to get the compensation you deserve. If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, you may be wondering what to do next and if you have a case.
Often, people think that boating accidents happen only when boats crash with other boats or jet skis, especially in a controlled marine area such as a lake. It is an unfortunate fact, though, that boat accidents result in thousands of injuries and hundreds of deaths annually.
What Causes A Boating Accident?
The US Coast Guard released a list of causes of recreational accidents. The cause topping the list is operator carelessness, which can lead to collisions, passengers falling off the boat, and injuries on board. Other causes include operator inexperience, alcohol or drug intoxication, excessive speed or machinery malfunction, and poorly marked navigation routes.
We can draw an analogy between boating and car accidents, with drivers in either means being the most responsible for an accident. A case recently made headlines when a woman experienced immediate paralysis in her lower extremities after jumping off from a boat anchored in shallow waters. The incident occurred in Choctawhatchee Bay on Okaloosa Island, and the woman was transferred to an area hospital.
The most notable question is how much the boat operator is at fault. This is something that an expert in Maritime Law can determine. If, for example, the pontoon boat of that incident had to be anchored at a particular distance from the dock, this violates the law.
Boating Accident Lawyers
Hiring a boating accident lawyer is the best place to start if you are determined to take legal action after a boating accident or are unsure whether it is within your rights to do so. Consulting with a boating accident lawyer means you will learn how the ins and outs of Maritime Law apply to your case. The boating accident lawyer can gather all information relevant to your accident, including medical records, beach police or coast guard reports, witness statements, etc., and prepare a claim to get you the compensation you deserve.
Gathering evidence for a boating accident is not an easy feat. This is largely due to a simple reason: boating is linked to recreation and having fun, so no one expects an accident. But when this does happen, the shock is too much, and even witnesses need time to recover from it.
Hiring a boat accident lawyer can help you get compensation for damages related to:
- Injury and disability (temporary and permanent)
- Lost wages due to injury
- Damage to property
- Physical pain, therapy, rehabilitation
- Emotional trauma
- Medical bills
- Funeral costs
Hiring a boating accident lawyer means you’ll have someone on your side who is determined to fight for what you deserve. Boating accident lawyers can help determine who is liable for your accident. If you were on a boat and the accident happened due to operator negligence (of all sorts), then the blame falls on them. Similarly, if another boat or watercraft caused your accident, the liability falls on that party. Sometimes, there are boating accidents where other passengers are found liable for the accident. Determining who is at fault is complex; more often than not, liability is unclear and difficult to determine or prove.
What Should I Do After An Accident?
Ensure that you or other passengers are okay and have not sustained any injuries. In such a case, call for medical assistance immediately. If the boat you are on is sinking or capsizing, you need to put on your life jacket, assist others in putting on theirs (especially children), and prepare flotation devices.
After successfully reaching the shore, you need to contact the authorities and make a statement of what happened. Once this is done and you have been checked by a medical professional (this is crucial because even minor injuries may be significant), you need to contact a boating accident lawyer, especially if you know or believe that a third party is responsible for your accident.
Contact Napoli Shkolnik PLLC for Boating Accident Consultation
Maritime Law is a specialized area of Law, one that requires well-versed lawyers who have studied it thoroughly. Our expert team of boating accident attorneys at Napoli Shkolnik PLLC is here to guide you through the claim process and pursue compensation for any damages resulting from your boating accident. Determining liability is also key to securing the highest compensation you may be entitled to but proving it requires diligence and detailed work.
Our goal at Napoli Shkolnik PLLC is to fight for our client’s rights. We will work to get you the highest compensation possible and to make your case known in order to help further applicable safety laws governing the different bodies of water.