Boat Accidents: The Injuries
Millions of people every year enjoy boating, jet skiing, and other forms of watercraft. Unfortunately, one wrong move can lead to a motor boat accident. Depending on the conditions and severity of the accident, a motor boat injury could be sustained as a result.
Boating accidents result from inexperience, intoxication, equipment failure, poor weather conditions, and simple driver error.
The law requires boat operators to exercise a great deal of care and caution when out on the water. When failure to do so leads to injury or wrongful death, they can be held responsible for the aftermath.
Some of the most common types of Utah boating accidents include:
- Drug and alcohol accidents
- Wakeboarding, tubing, or waterskiing accidents
- Parasailing accidents
- Boat collisions
- Commercial fishing boat accidents
Boat accident lawyers can help with all these cases.
If you’ve been injured as the result of a boating accident, you may deserve compensation for your compromised health.
Boat Accidents and Injuries: Case Settlement
Almost any Utah boat accident lawyer will tell a client that it is far better to aim for a settlement than a trial. Trials are expensive, lengthy, and have uncertain outcomes. While you may not get as high of compensation through a settlement as you would have in a trial, the money will come quicker, and the risk will be removed. Because every boating accident is unique, it’s difficult to pinpoint how much money you can settle for. There are two ways to go about arriving at a settlement.
The first is to negotiate directly with the person at fault or their insurance company. If the circumstances of the accident are fairly straightforward and show the driver was in neglect, the insurance company will be eager to settle the case. The wiser choice is to seek the advice of a boat accident attorney before moving forward with settlement negotiations. A Utah motor boat injury attorney with experience and expertise in the field will be able to evaluate the case and determine if the potential is there for greater compensation.The boat accident lawyer will be able to argue on your behalf and likely raise the settlement amount.
Boat Accidents and Injuries: Legal Fees
Most boat accident attorneys structure their fees on a contingency basis. In other words, their fee comes from the eventual settlement or award.
It costs nothing out of pocket for the client. Many of these attorneys will also waive their initial consultation fee, meaning it costs nothing for you to bring your case to them. You can call and ask any questions you have at no cost to you. There isno risk at all.
Seek the advice of at least two or three lawyers before you decide to seek your settlement directly. If you have a strong connection with an attorney during your meeting, hire them. Let them deal with the stressful process.
Boat Accidents and Injuries: Compensation
Should your case prove successful, the opposing party may be required to compensate you in several arenas. Here are the most common areas of compensation:
Getting treatment after a boating accident can be expensive. Even if you’re properly insured, deductibles and coverage limits could force you to spend much of your own money. Every year, thousands of people are forced to declare bankruptcy from hospital bills alone. Compensation can be used to cover these medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and other expenses related to treatment. If you’ve been injured in a boat accident, these costs may be exorbitant.
If the boating accident has left you unable to perform your job duties or forced you to take time off from work, the opposing party may have to compensate you for lost income. If a doctor can attest that your injuries are directly responsible for the missed work, it may be incumbent upon the defendant to pay for the lost time. If the accident left you permanently disabled, the compensation may have to be great enough to cover future lost wages as well. This takes away the financial stress of having to miss work.
Pain and Suffering:
Many states have done away with punitive damages in these personal injury cases, but pain and suffering can still be a factor when a jury considers their verdict. A traumatic boating accident could lead not just to physical pain but to emotional anguish as well. Professional therapy is sometimes needed to find ways to cope with this mental pain. Compensation can be used to pay for this treatment.
Boat Accidents and Injuries: Claim Process
To successfully bring a boating accident case to fruition, there are some steps you should follow.
The first step is to file a boating accident report with the correct law enforcement body. The faster you can get a legal record of the incident in the system, the better off you’ll be when it comes time to talk compensation. Next, gather as many names and phone numbers of witnesses that you can. Take photographs of the accident, your injuries, and any property damage that occurred as the result of the boat crash. Seek medical attention for your injuries. This may be the first step if your injuries are severe. Always worry about your health first. Lastly, take copious notes about what you remember. Memories are unreliable and can change over time. If you have notes to look back on, it will prevent you from misremembering later.
Boat Accidents and Injuries: Need to Know
Boat accidents come in all stripes, sizes, and types. Whether you’ve been injured at sea or simply want to keep yourself abreast of the hazards, it can be instructive to know something about common forms of boat injury.
The three primary boat accident categories are those that occur due to:
- An error on the driver’s part
- Equipment failure
- Environmental factors
Of the three, operator error accounts for the biggest slice of the pie. Boating injuries can result from incompetence, inexperience, alcohol and drugs, rule violations, and other forms of negligence. It is also worth noting that not all accidents have a single point of blame.
In many cases, two or more factors may come into play. If this is the case in your accident, don’t let that stop you from seeking compensation. A good boat accident attorney can make a case for you even if you share in some of the blame. Leave it to a judge, jury, or impartial panel to decide who was most at fault in the accident.
Prevent Boat Accidents: Follow Boating Safety Guidelines
Boating should be a fun and safe experience for everyone. Here are some standard guidelines to further prevent boating accidents:
- Remain Sober – By consuming drugs or alcohol while boating, you significantly increase your chances of being involved in a boat accident. Statistically 35% of boating accidents that resulted in a fatality involved drugs and/or alcohol, and 20% of all boating accidents have reported to involve drugs or alcohol.
- Regularly maintain and safety equipment – Standard boating safety equipment includes life jackets, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, lights, flotation devices, an anchor, and emergency supplies.
- Learn standard boating safety – Regularly check exhaust. Carbon monoxide exposure is deadly and can lead to a boating accident. Maintain and test carbon monoxide detectors on each voyage. Regularly inspect your boat for damage, cracks, or leaks.
- Make necessary safety preparations – Always tell someone where you are going if you are leaving on a boat trip. Do not overload your boat because excessive weight can affect the boats performance and potentially cause a boating accident. Follow proper boat launching etiquette to ensure your safety and the safety of others.
- Wear a life jacket – In almost all fatal boating accidents, the victim was not wearing their life jacket. If you become injured and are unable to swim a life jacket can save your life.
- Follow standard navigation and boating rules – This can help avoid accidents with other boats or boating accidents involving stationary objects such as buoys, rocks, ramps, etc.
- Stay Observant – Keeping a watchful eye can help avoid boat accidents and keep you and your passengers safe from injury. Weather and water conditions and the locations of other boats must be paid attention to at all time, negligence of these things are often responsible for boat accidents.
Boat Accidents and Injuries: Laws
Boating laws vary from Utah to the east coast, but there are some general rules regarding negligence that tend to stay somewhat uniform. Before you purchase or rent any watercraft, know the law for your safety and the safety of others. If you’ve been injured as the result of someone else’s negligence, the law states that you have the right to seek reasonable compensation.
In a case like this, evidence should point to carelessness or malicious intent on the part of the driver at fault. In order to reach an agreeable settlement, the plaintiff must show that monetary damages occurred as the result of the accident. With the assistance of a good Salt Lake County boating accident lawyer, you can fight for your rightful compensation.
Boat Accidents: Reporting and Documenting
Federal law requires that if you have been involved in a boating accident which resulted in an injury or damage exceeding 2,000 dollars that you must file a report with your state boating authority and local law enforcement. Here are the precise requirements to report a boating accident within 48 hrs:
- If a person dies due to the boat accident
- Any person needs medical attention outside of standard first aid
- A person has disappeared as a result of the boat accident
If no one was harmed during your boat accident, you are required to file a boating accident report within 10 days if there is damage to the involved boats or someone’s property.