Navigating Boating Accidents: The Facts You Need to Know
There were over 4,000 boating accidents in 2019 that resulted in over 2,000 injuries and 600 deaths. Boating accidents are often serious and can result in lifelong injuries, or even death. If you have been injured in a boating accident or need to file a wrongful death claim after an accident occurred, you should consider hiring a boating accident lawyer.
A boating accident attorney can help you recover damages for your boat, as well as any medical bills that you have as a result of the injury. Here is your comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about recovering damages from boating accidents.
What are the Different Types of Boating Accidents?
There are several different types of boating accidents that can occur. Boat collisions are by far the most common type of boating accident. The types of boats that can be involved in boating accidents include commercial boats, sailboats, hovercraft, cabin motorboats, yachts, and more.
Jet skis are another common type of boat to be involved in a boating accident. They can sometimes result in the most severe types of injuries. This is because similar to a motorcycle, they are much more exposed than a person on a boat may be.
Who is Usually At Fault During Boating Accidents?
In a significant amount of the boating accident claims that are filed, the boating operator is the one to be found at fault. In fact, a boating operator’s lack of awareness and attention is the number one cause of boating injuries. Being found at fault in a boating accident can open you up to many legal responsibilities. You could be required to pay a portion toward the settlement of a personal injury claim or wrongful death lawsuit.
The Jones Act is a law that allows for maritime employees to sue their employer should they experience an injury due to negligence while on the job. They are able to get workers’ compensation through this law. A boating operator needs to ensure that they have the proper safety equipment onboard their vessel. They need to maintain safe speeds, proper wake zone etiquette and be aware of other boats and vessels near them.
The Common Boating Accident Causes
Boating accidents stem from a variety of causes. Some causes may result in criminal action being brought against the boat operator. Negligence is often the main cause of boating accidents. This negligence can take the form of failing to keep safety equipment such as life jackets on board.
Negligence can mean speeding in a no-wake zone, going out boating in severe weather, speeding, overcrowding the boat, or failing to follow the basic rules of the water. Boating under the influence is another common cause of boating accidents. Under the influence could mean the use of either drugs or alcohol. Boating operators who refuse to take a sobriety test could have their boater’s license taken away.
Another cause of many boating accidents is the reckless and careless operation of a boat. This is the purposeful, willful carelessness for the safety of those around them, including property. A boating operator who gets cited for the reckless and careless operation of a boat could have a first-degree criminal misdemeanor charge brought against them.
If an injury or wrongful death happens while any of these causes are evident, a boating accident victim could have a good case to recover a settlement. They can hire a boating accident lawyer if this is the case.
Common Injuries and Wrongful Death Due to Boating Accidents
Injuries sustained from boat accidents, including both long and short-term injuries, can be devastating. They can result in anything from minor injuries to life-long injuries. An individual going overboard and drowning are common in boating accidents.
Drowning accounted for almost 70 percent of the fatalities where the cause of death was known. Many of those people were not wearing life jackets. Alcohol consumption also played a role in individuals dying from going overboard and drowning. Slip and falls are also a danger on boats that can lead to serious injury. It is the responsibility of the boating operator to keep the deck clear of hazards that could lead to a slip and fall.
Propeller accidents and run-over accidents are another type of debilitating injury that can occur in a boating accident. Due to either negligence or boating under the influence, boating operators can run over swimmers or those individuals who have gone overboard with the boat.
The propeller or vessel itself can then either lacerate, dismember, or disfigure an individual in the water. An individual can suffer from serious head trauma or nerve damage from getting hit with a propeller or boat. It is critical that you hire a boating accident lawyer to represent you should you sustain any of the injuries listed above.
What Types of Damages are Available to Victims Injured in a Boating Accident?
If you are the victim of a boating accident, or if a loved one has died as a result of a boating accident, there are certain types of damages you could be eligible for. You could win a settlement to help pay for medical bills and any lost income while you are out of work.
If you are permanently injured from a boating accident, a boating accident lawyer can help win you a settlement to help pay for loss of future earnings, any physical therapy, and other medical expenses that result. Insurance companies will sometimes try to get out of having to pay for medical bills for boating accident injuries.
It is so important that you document any and all evidence that you can find. Take pictures of all your injuries as well as the boat, make note of dates and times, and keep documentation of medical visits and a police report if necessary.
A lawyer can help ensure that you get the appropriate settlement after you have been in a boating accident.
When is the Victim Not Entitled to Damages?
Sometimes, a victim is not entitled to win damages following a boat accident. If you have suffered an injury in a boating accident, but you were found to be either at fault or partly responsible, you may not be entitled to damages.
Insurance companies may try to communicate that you are not eligible for any damages. Hire a boating accident lawyer if this happens to you, as they will be able to help you determine the eligibility of your potential for damages.
General Virginia Boating Laws
Each state has different maritime laws. However, if you are a boating operator or plan to go boating in a Virginian body of water, it is important you know the basics of Virginia’s maritime law.
All boating operators over the age of 14 are required to take a boating safety course. If you plan on renting a boat, you must take the safety course. You cannot be under the influence of alcohol or drugs while boating in Virginia. If you are in a boating accident, you are required by law to stop and assist if you can.
You must report the accident to the Virginia Department for Game and Inland Fisheries. Failure to stop and assist can result in a serious fine. You must have the proper safety equipment onboard your vessel, including life jackets.
An Accident Occurred: What is the Statute of Limitations for Boating Accident Claims in Virginia?
The statute of limitations determines the eligibility of your boating accident lawsuit. It is critical that you file your lawsuit in a timely manner.
However, certain types of boating accident cases have different statutes of limitations. A personal injury claim typically has a limitation of two years to file, unless the victim is a child. Then, they have two years after they turn 18 years old. A wrongful death claim also has to be filed within two years.
If you have been in a boating accident and some of your property has been damaged, you have up to five years to file a claim. Whatever your case may be, it is important to hire an experienced boating accident lawyer that can help you file your claim in a timely manner.
Need More Info on How to Hire a Boating Accident Lawyer?
Has a boating accident occurred? Do you want to file a claim but maritime laws seem complicated? If you have been injured in a boating accident and need to file a wrongful death claim or personal injury claim following boating accidents, you are not in this alone.
Reach out to the experienced legal team at the law firm of Collier and Collier. We can provide you with a dedicated boating accident lawyer and personal injury attorney.
We would be happy to provide free consultations if you or a loved one have been involved in a boating accident.