Personal Injury Claims and Liability after a Boat Accident
Making the most of the great outdoors by spending time on the water sailing, jet skiing, or fishing is a popular way to fill weekends and vacations for many people.
Unfortunately, as with any activity where a vehicle is being piloted, taking a boat out has its risks. If you have a boating accident, how do you establish liability and receive adequate compensation?
Types of Boating Accidents and Injuries
Boat accidents can occur on private boats, commercial vessels, and personal watercraft, such as jet skis, and can hurt people on board, in the water, and even on dry land. Accidents include colliding with other vessels or objects, capsizing, sinking, running aground, and boat passengers falling overboard among others.
Not only can poor boating safety result in damage to property, but it can also lead to numerous physical injuries such as concussions, spinal cord injuries, whiplash, sprains and strains, and, in extreme circumstances, drowning.
Sustaining injuries like this can put the victim in significant financial debt, in addition to physical and emotional trauma. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney can help victims receive compensation to cover damages, including medical bills, loss of earnings, and pain and suffering.
Why Do Boat Accidents Occur?
Some of the most common causes of boating accidents include:
- Hazardous waters are usually caused by changes in the current or rapid tidal flow.
- Distracted operators. Just as drivers need to concentrate in order to avoid car accidents, boat operators must pay attention to other vessels, passengers, and weather shifts. You can appoint a lookout for extra safety.
- Going over the speed limit can lead to collisions or make the boat rollover.
- Alcohol consumption is common on boats and serious accidents can occur if the vessel operators imbibe.
- Inexperienced vessel operators are typically less able to manage emergencies and avoid accidents. This is particularly common for personal watercraft, which are often ridden by novices.
- Faulty machinery or equipment may be due to poor maintenance or manufacturing issues.
- Unsafe operation of a vessel, particularly behavior that violates Michigan’s boating regulations or maritime law.
- Wakes, the underwater waves created by moving boats.
- Weather conditions.
Depending on the accident’s cause, a different party may be held liable for injuries or damage. If a boat has not been well maintained and a machinery failure occurs, the boat owner could be liable. However, a boat operator may be liable for an accident that takes place while they were intoxicated. Establishing the cause of an accident can help determine liability. Boat owners should review their boat insurance coverage to ensure it covers medical payments for injured passengers.
Collecting Evidence After a Boating Accident
If you have been injured in a professional or recreational boat accident and hope to claim compensation, gather as much evidence as possible to support your case.
Your boating accident attorneys at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. will fight to prove that the accident occurred because of the negligence of the at-fault party and that your boating injuries directly resulted from the accident. The more evidence they have to build your case, the better the chance you receive the compensation you deserve.
If possible, you should:
- Take photos of the scene of the accident, property damage, and your injuries.
- Ask witnesses to write a brief description of what they saw happen.
- Record the ID details and registration of the vessels involved in the accident.
- Exchange contact information with the boat operators involved, witnesses, and other passengers.
- Write a description of what happened in as much detail as possible as soon as possible to avoid inconsistencies in your story.
- Keep copies of all medical records, such as X-rays and prescriptions.
Get Support From Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers
If you’ve been injured in a boat accident and are wondering what compensation you may have the right to, seek formal legal advice from Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. Our law firm is not only experienced in personal injury law but also in proving liability in boating accidents.
Whether your injuries were caused by an operator flouting boating laws or a vessel owner’s poor maintenance, our skilled attorneys can help you win your case. Call us today at 1-888-MICH LAW (1-888-642-4529) to schedule your free consultation. Our law firm never charges a fee unless we win your case.