Hire a Boating Accident Attorney Who’s Dedicated to Your Rights
Experiencing a boating accident can be a frightening experience. It can also leave you with expensive damage to repair or injuries that will result in a pile of medical bills. When the accident was not your fault, you have every right to hold the responsible party liable with an experienced boating accident attorney.
You should learn your options to rectify any damages you have sustained to your physical well-being and your property. It is wise to research the steps you must take to protect your legal rights.
Under Which Conditions Do Most Boating Accidents Occur?
About one-third of all boating accidents are a result of a driver who is under the influence of alcohol. Many people continue to ignore the laws. Driving a boat under the influence is a criminal offense in all states.
One of the main causes of accidents is boating while intoxicated. It dulls your abilities to react and function in a safe manner when operating a boat.
Besides that problem, severe weather also can contribute to accidents. Strong winds or heavy rain can cause a boat wreck, especially with less experienced sailors piloting the boat. Lightning strikes may strike passengers or damage the boat or its electronic equipment. If you chose to go out boating knowing there is severe weather or that it is possible, the law may consider you to be negligent. Prolonged periods of time in the sun can cause you or your passengers to suffer from sunstroke and experience heat-related illness, which would produce emergency health conditions and could possibly make it difficult for you to properly operate the boat.
Another cause of accidents is a boat engine deficiency. Your boat may produce an extreme amount of carbon monoxide. If you and the passengers are exposed to it, it could lead to intoxication from fumes and possibly even death. It’s crucial to properly maintain your boat to avoid such accidents and the liability that comes with them.
One of the top risks aside from boating under the influence is inexperienced and negligent boaters. Some boaters may cause accidents because of a lack of experience in unfamiliar conditions or because they choose to ignore the safety guidelines. In this type of case, the driver of the boat responsible often faces criminal charges in addition to any liability for an accident.
Steps to Take After a Boating Accident
In the immediate aftermath of a boating accident, you may be stunned, but your instincts should kick in. You will then start to assess the situation and focus on making sure everyone is okay.
Assessing the Situation
Your first step will be to identify who needs medical attention. If you’re able to, check your injuries and the injuries of others involved to determine if you need to call for emergency help.
Even if you do not see any apparent injuries, you should still insist that everyone see a doctor as a precaution soon after the accident. Many people do not experience pain until hours after an incident, which could allow a serious injury to go untreated.
It is possible during the crash that passengers fell overboard. Make sure to do a headcount and locate all passengers.
Get to Safety
The next thing you want to do is to get to a safe place. A boat crash can result in a variety of scenarios. Your boat may be sinking or be unstable. When possible, move the boat so that you’re not blocking other boat traffic or in a spot where you could cause another accident. If you cannot move it but it is safe to stay aboard, then just make sure you are visible to other traffic on the water.
If you cannot stay on your boat, then get yourself and your passengers to a safe spot on land away from the boat. Do another headcount once you reach land to make sure everyone made it safely off the boat.
Contact the Coast Guard
You will need to contact the Coast Guard to let them know the location of your boat. This is to ensure they provide help as soon as possible. You can also alert the Coast Guard to any serious injuries as they will request medical assistance. Stay in the same area as you wait for the Coast Guard to arrive.
After they arrive, the Coast Guard will collect information about the details of the accident from you and the other parties involved. Answer honestly as this report will be a major consideration in helping you and your boating accident attorney fight for fair compensation.
While you wait for the Coast Guard, exchange contact and insurance information with the other parties involved in the boat wreck. If there were witnesses, make sure to get their information as well. They could play an important role in testifying toward your claim for compensation. It’s important to remember to not get into a discussion or a negotiation with either the other involved parties or witnesses as you collect information.
Take photos of the accident scene. Get images of the boat, scene and injuries. Also, make sure to document the condition of the other boats or vessels involved. Your photos and the information you gather can help your boating accident attorney build a strong case for proving liability and negligence of the other party.
Contact a Boating Accident Attorney
Once you handle everything at the accident scene, you can begin to move forward. Your first step needs to be contacting a boating accident attorney. An attorney will support you through the legal process of filing insurance claims and seeking compensation for your injuries.
It’s important to work with an attorney specifically experienced in handling boating accidents instead of just general personal injury cases. He or she will have a strong understanding of the applicable laws.
Working with a specialized boating attorney will take the legal burden off your shoulders. He or she will handle the investigation of the accident and negotiations with insurance companies so that you can focus on recovering to full health.
Your attorney will also help you to understand the damages you may qualify for in an injury lawsuit. These may include economic, non-economic and punitive damages.
Economic damages are quantifiable losses, such as a medical bill or lost wages due to not being able to work because of the sustained boating accident injury. Non-economic damages include quality of life issues or any pain and suffering you’ve sustained as a result of the accident. Punitive damages are something the judge may order to punish the party responsible for the accident. They may include prison time or monetary compensation.
Choosing a lawyer who has experience in boating accidents will also help you when it comes to collecting damages. He or she will understand the intricacies of boaters’ insurance, which is significantly different from motor vehicle insurance.
Work with an Experienced Local Lawyer
We understand that a boating accident can be a traumatic experience. If you’ve been injured in a boat crash, rest assured that our team of specialized boating accident attorneys will work extensively to defend your rights to fair compensation for your injuries.
Let one of our attorneys handle the investigations and negotiations and take the legal burden off your shoulders. Be well prepared to take action. Contact a boating accident attorney near you to recover the compensation you deserve for your boat wreck injuries.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!