Recreational boating is a popular leisure activity enjoyed by many people; unfortunately, it can sometimes turn into a life-threatening situation. If you have ever been in a boating accident, you know how quickly a relaxing day on the water can turn into a chaotic and scary scenario. Boating accidents may result in serious injuries. This traumatic experience may lead to long-term mental anguish, as well as severe and potentially life-changing physical injuries. Raynes & Lawn Philadelphia personal injury attorneys have represented victims of boating accidents who have suffered severe injuries for decades. In fact, Raynes & Lawn attorneys have represented victims of boating accidents not only in the United States but also in other countries, including the Cayman Islands and the Galapagos Islands.
The road to recovery can be difficult after an accident, and knowing what steps you should take after you have been injured can be confusing, especially after a boating accident. Since a boating accident is not the same scenario as a car accident, you may be wondering who is responsible for your injuries, along with other questions, such as:
There are so many questions that may not be immediately clear after a boating accident, leaving you wondering what you should do.
Talking to an attorney should be a high priority. An attorney will be able to guide you through the entire legal process. However, you need to be aware of the general steps you should take after involvement in a boating accident. Raynes & Lawn has the experienced trial lawyers to navigate the investigation and prosecution of a boating accident matter involving serious personal injury or death.
The US Coast Guard defines a “boating accident” as a situation where a boat passenger dies or becomes seriously injured, a boat passenger disappears, and death or injury is suspected, or a vessel causes or sustains damage.
Federal Law requires that you submit an accident report (CG-3865 Recreational Boating Accident Report) for any boating accident that results in death, an injury requiring medical treatment beyond first aid, a disappearance that indicates death or injury, or damage to a boat above $2,000 (including total loss). Reports should be made within 48 hours of the accident if a person is killed, injured, or missing. If only the boat or property were damaged, you have up to 10 days to report the accident to your state’s primary boating authority.
There may be other reporting requirements depending on in what state the accident occurred. These reports are essential for establishing regulations and safety standards, identifying and remedying boat defects, quantifying statistical data, investigating boating accidents, and measuring the effectiveness of boat safety programs.
If you aren’t taken to a hospital right away, you should visit a medical professional as soon as possible to get an evaluation. Even if you don’t think that you are seriously injured, it is imperative that you visit a medical professional as some injuries, like brain injuries, don’t manifest until days or even weeks later. You will need to keep a record of all of your medical bills and medical records if you plan on filing a personal injury claim in the future.
If you have been injured in a boating accident, you need to know your legal rights. If someone else’s negligence caused your injuries, you could be entitled to seek financial compensation for your boating accident injury. When you file a personal injury lawsuit, a successful claim may result in compensation for economic loss such as lost wages and loss of earning capacity if you are rendered permanently disabled as well as the costs of medical treatment and lifecare expenses (past, present and future). In addition, non-economic claims for damages may be substantial, such as physical pain and mental suffering, loss of life’s pleasures, disfigurement, embarrassment and humiliation.
Remember that being able to prove that you were hurt is not the same as being able to prove that someone else was negligent. You you must be able to prove not only that you were injured, but also that your injury resulted from someone else’s willful negligence.
Every year the US Coast Guard compiles information to deliver statistics on recreational boating accidents. The report for 2018 shows:
There are many precautions that people can take to protect themselves from being another statistic. The US Coast Guard encourages everyone to wear life jackets, enroll in a boating safety course, keep an eye on the forecast, attach the engine cut-off switch, get a free boat safety check, and refrain from intoxicated driving.
Boating accidents can happen in many different ways, including:
Many people who are killed or injured in a boating accident are the victims of trauma and/or drowning. These injuries can occur in several different ways.
Severe injuries sustained in boating accidents are often due to:
Traumatic brain injuries are among the most serious of injuries. These injuries may occur if the boat crashes, throwing your body into a hard object such as a propeller or rock.
During an accident, if you hit the water before you have a direct impact with another boat or object, you are less likely to suffer a severe injury. The most serious injuries occur as a result of direct impact.
Raynes & Lawn Philadelphia personal injury attorneys have represented clients who have suffered the most severe personal injuries in boating accidents as a result of negligence by the drivers of boats as well as a result of defects with the equipment (unsafely manufactured and designed boats and their component parts).
Determining liability for a boating accident can sometimes be challenging. Generally, one of the following parties may be held liable in a boating accident:
When boating accidents happen, the injured party has the right to seek compensation from the person or persons responsible. Often this is in the form of a personal injury lawsuit. Here are some examples of parties that may be held liable in a personal injury case:
Negligence is often the most common cause of action that is associated with boating accidents. If the operator did not follow the rules and regulations of the water, improperly passed another boat, or failed to have proper safety equipment on board, the operator may be held liable for negligence.
The victim must prove that any injuries sustained were a direct result of the boating accident and that another person’s negligence caused the boating accident.
It is also important to note that laws can vary. Depending on where the accident took place, it will fall under state law or federal maritime law. Maritime law covers accidents that take place at sea or in port. You can bring any case before a local court; however, federal laws may still apply.
Being on the water means that the operator of the vehicle has to contend with multiple distractions such as the wind, sun, engine noise, etc. Add alcohol to these distractions, and it could result in a serious boating accident. Generally, the DUI laws are very similar for operating a boat under the influence of alcohol as they are for operating a car. An operator can be convicted if his or her BAC limit is above a certain threshold, usually 0.08%. A conviction could result in jail time, expensive fines, and driver’s license suspension, among other penalties.
If you were injured in a boating accident, you may be able to seek damages for:
If a boating accident was due to the negligence of another individual, you should seek an attorney. You may come across challenges such as the boat operator not having insurance or liquefiable assets. An attorney can help you secure your claim for damages and get you the compensation that you deserve. Raynes & Lawn attorneys are experienced boating accident lawyers.
A boating accident attorney can help you gather the records needed to help your case, from medical records to insurance policy information. As your attorney reviews the details surrounding your accident, he or she will determine the best approach to take.
Recovering from your injuries and returning to the way things once were may be difficult but seeking the services of an advocate who will fight to get you the legal compensation you need for the best recovery possible is essential. If you have been injured in a boating accident and need legal counsel, please fill out the contact form or call our toll-free number at (800) 535-1797. A member of our legal team will get back to you shortly to discuss your potential case.
For the general public: This Blog/Website is made available by the law firm publisher, Raynes & Lawn, for educational purposes. It provides general information and a general understanding of the law but does not provide specific legal advice. By using this site, commenting on posts, or sending inquiries through the site or contact email, you confirm that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Blog/Website publisher. The Blog/Website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.
For attorneys: This Blog/Website is informational in nature and is not a substitute for legal research or a consultation on specific matters pertaining to your clients. Due to the dynamic nature of legal doctrines, what might be accurate one day may be inaccurate the next. As such, the contents of this blog must not be relied upon as a basis for arguments to a court or for your advice to clients without, again, further research or a consultation with our professionals.
1845 Walnut Street • 20th Floor
Philadelphia PA 19103
10,000 Lincoln Drive E •
One Greentree Ctr, Ste 201
Marlton, NJ 08053-1536