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Boating Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident you may be entitled to compensation for your losses including bodily injuries and property loss or damage. 

Boating accident cases are notoriously complex as different bodies of water may fall under state, federal, or international maritime law and each has different regulations regarding boating accidents. The experienced lawyers at Fielding Law have represented many victims of boating accidents and we have the experience and resources needed to successfully represent your claim.

The cases that we have represented have taught us that injuries and deaths from boating and water sports accidents are typically caused by the negligent and careless actions of watercraft operators.  

If you’ve been injured in a boating accident or while engaging in a water sport and you believe the cause was due to the negligence of another party, contact us for a free consultation. 

You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses. 

 

Common Causes Of Boating Accidents

 

Operator carelessness/distraction: It is the responsibility of the vessel operator to stay alert to potential hazards. They have an obligation to maintain the safety of their passengers and their vessel, as well as to look out for other watercraft and people in the water. This involves making sure passengers are seated when the boat is moving, following no-wake rules, and yielding to other watercraft. Statistics tell us that operator inattention and distraction is the leading cause of boating accidents. 

Changes in weather: Some people fail to check the weather forecast if the weather appears clear and sunny.  However, weather can change quickly, storms and high winds can make the water treacherous.  Boat captains should always check the weather forecast before a day out on the water, and be on the lookout for any changes in weather.  

Excessive speed: Just as it’s important to maintain a safe speed while driving on the roadway, it is also important to not use excessive speed on the water with your boat. Maintaining your boat at a safe speed ensures that you are able to spot boaters, water-skiers, objects and other hazards in the water in time to react to potential dangers.  Excessive speed can result in collisions with boats or other objects and rollovers. 

Machinery Failure: Regular maintenance of the boat is the responsibility of the owner of the boat. Equipment and engine failure are often the cause of boating accidents.  Routine checks and maintenance of the boat’s steering, engine and hull can prevent problems from occurring.

Operator Inexperience: Boat operators may not have the skill and experience necessary to safely operate a boat. Passengers should know whether the vessel operator has sufficient experience before boarding a boat.  A boat operator should know the basics of boating such as navigation rules, the regulations for the body of water being used, and what to do in emergency situations. 

Alcohol Use: The combination of boating and alcohol can be a dangerous mix. The more alcohol a person drinks the more their judgment and reaction time is impaired. It is illegal to operate a boat while intoxicated. Drinking while intoxicated puts you, your passengers, and everyone else out on the water at risk. Alcohol is often a factor in accidents that result in serious injury or death. 

 

The Damaging Effects of Boating Accidents

 

The following statistics were released by the U.S. Coast guard regarding boating accidents in 2017

  • There were 4,291 reported accidents
  • 658 deaths
  • 2,629 injuries
  • Over $46 million in property damage
  • In cases where the cause of death was known 76% of fatal boating accident victims drowned
  • In accidents where fatalities occurred, alcohol was often a contributing factor

The U.S coast guard stresses that wearing a life jacket while on or in the water is the most important thing you can do to save your life. 

 

What Should I Do if I Have Been Involved in a Boating Accident?

 

The first thing you should do when a boating accident occurs is to determine if anyone is in need of medical attention.  If someone has fallen overboard you should assist the victim back into the boat if possible. The boat needs to be moved out of the path of oncoming vessels. 

You should call 911 to inform them that an accident has occurred. Tell them the location of the accident and what medical attention might be necessary.  It is recommended to see a doctor after being involved in a boating accident. You may not initially feel that you received any injuries in the accident, but the adrenaline rush from the accident could be masking potentially serious injuries. Remember, it’s better to err on the side of caution. 

After ascertaining that everyone is ok, it is important to obtain information from the other parties involved in the accident.  You should also speak to any who were witnesses to the accident. Gather the following information:

  • Names, addresses, phone numbers of all aboard the vessel involved in the crash
  • Names, addresses, phone numbers of all who were witnesses of the accident either from shore or from other vessels
  • Registration numbers of all vessels involved in the accident
  • Insurance information of all those involved

If it is possible, take photos at the scene of the accident.  These could prove useful later on in determining who was at fault.

 

How Can a Boating Accident Attorney Help Me?

 

The laws that govern our waterways differ from those on land.  Our lawyers at Fielding Law will use our experience and our knowledge of maritime, state and federal law to fight to get you the justice and compensation you deserve.  We will interview witnesses, review the accident reports from the Coast Guard or other law enforcement, and do everything needed to build a strong case for you. If you or someone you love was a victim of a boating accident you need a skilled boating attorney on your side. Contact us today and receive your free consultation.