What Should I Do After A Boating Accident?
Spending time on the water, whether with friends and family or alone, is one of life’s simple pleasures. Unfortunately, when water and boats are involved, there’s always a certain level of risk. We can limit the risk by taking precautions such as wearing life jackets and getting water vessels regularly inspected, but sometimes accidents happen.
When a boating accident occurs, everything can seem chaotic, and it’s hard to know what action you should take. There are several vital steps to take after every boating accident, from checking to see if everyone is okay to finding a lawyer to help you receive compensation.
Ensure Everyone is Safe
It’s essential to make sure everybody involved in the boating accident is safe and accounted for. Do a quick headcount since there may be passengers overboard that need assistance. It’s also crucial that the boat operator ensures the vessel isn’t causing a dangerous obstruction. If possible, move the boat out of the way to prevent further accidents.
Seek Medical Attention
Everyone involved in the accident should seek medical attention. Even if there are no seriously injured parties that need emergency assistance, it’s essential to see a doctor as soon as possible since some injuries only become apparent in the hours or days following an accident. Seeking medical care will not only put your mind at rest, it may also come in handy later when dealing with insurance companies.
File a Report With the Coast Guard
After a boating accident has occurred, the United States Coast Guard requires operators of vessels to file an official accident report; if someone was seriously injured or died, you need to report it within 48 hours. For accidents with no injuries, you have ten days. Vessels include any watercraft capable of being used as a mode of transport.
Exchange Contact Information
After a boating accident, exchange contact information with the boat operators involved, just as you would after a car accident. Record the registration and ID details of all vessels involved. If there are any other passengers or witnesses, ask for their contact details as well.
Gathering information from the accident scene can help your boating accident lawyer build the strongest possible case. You should take photographs of the area, including any property damage and personal injuries. Ask witnesses if they would be happy to write a brief description of what they saw. This can help in a potential lawsuit.
As soon as you can, write a thorough description of the accident, including as much detail as possible. It is surprising how quickly we forget things, and any inconsistencies in your story could seriously damage your claim.
Keep All Medical Records
When you’ve been in an accident, all you care about is making sure you and your loved ones are safe. This can lead you to forget some things, like keeping a copy of all medical records. Even if your injuries are only minor, these records could mean the difference between winning and losing your case.
Seek Legal Advice
Once the initial shock has passed, you will want to know what your legal options are. The best way to go about this is by contacting a law firm with extensive experience handling boating accidents and personal injury cases.
Your personal injury lawyer ensures you are well informed and guides you through making a claim. At Cochran, Kroll, and Associates, P.C., we fight to ensure our clients receive the compensation they deserve, including pain and suffering, loss of earnings, and medical bills.
If you’ve been injured in a boating accident, call us today for a free consultation at 866-MICH-LAW (866-642-4529)