The warm weather is perfect for numerous spring and summertime activities, including boating. While this can be a great way to relax, it’s important to exercise good judgment to keep yourself and others safe. When individuals fail in these duties, they risk causing harm to others. In some cases, a boating accident may constitute a personal injury case.
If you are injured in a boating accident, you could recover damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost time at work. Determining if you have a viable claim ultimately depends on the accident.
Types of Accidents
One of the factors to take into account is the nature of the accident. There are many ways in which a boating accident may occur, including:
- Hitting the wake of another boat, which could jostle and throw passengers
- Collision with a naturally occurring wave
- Collision with another boat
- Hitting submerged objects
- Mechanical or structural failure of the boat
In addition, an accident can be made worse if the boat does not have proper safety equipment such as life jackets, life rings, flares, fire extinguishers, whistles, and navigational lights. An accident that may not otherwise result in liability for personal injury could end up doing so if this equipment is not on board.
Location is also an important factor. For instance, if a boat operator is going recklessly fast through a crowded area, then that person could be held liable for wake accidents or collisions that occur. On the other hand, if that same operator were going fast through an isolated spot on the lake and someone else happens to hit their wake, they are less likely to be found responsible for any injuries that result.
Was Negligence Involved?
Depending on the nature of the accident, one of the following parties may be held liable:
- The boat operator
- The operator of another craft
- The boat’s owner
- The manufacturer or designer
In some cases, no one might be liable at all. For instance, if the operator was exercising an adequate amount of caution, using proper navigational equipment, and warning passengers of potential dangers, then they would not be held liable if the boat happened to hit a wave.
The key is negligence—if someone was negligent in their duties to ensure the safety and wellbeing of others, then that party would be held liable for the accident and any damage it caused. On the other hand, if it’s a scenario where no party could be held responsible, then there is no viable case.
To recover damages for a boating accident, you need to know what went wrong, who was responsible, and how it resulted in your injury. In addition, you need to be able to prove this to a jury. Even if the case settles outside of court (most cases do), it’s still important to be able to take it that far. This will help you get the maximum amount for your injury since it puts pressure on the responsible party and insurance companies to resolve the situation.
Naturally, a skilled attorney is key to making a boating accident claim work. Hart David Carson LLP can assist you in recovering compensation for a boating injury.