People have been enjoying the feel of the water beneath them while taking in the sun and air above on a boat since as far back as 7600 B.C. and while many improvements have been made the structure of boats and the materials used to build them, the popularity hasn’t diminished. Boaters and sailors flock to water while on vacation year round, hoping to spend their free time relaxing, fishing, swimming, and spending time with family and friends.
But boating accidents often get in the way of having fun and leave destruction in their wake.
Who Is Responsible In Boating Accidents?
Even though there are no painted lines to provide a clear lane for a boat to stay in, there are a set of laws known as Navigation Rules that anyone steering a boat must be familiar with, as they may prevent a collision. These rules indicate what each driver should do in cases of:
- two boats approaching each other head on
- one boat overtaking another one
- one boat approaching another on either the starboard or port side
When an accident occurs, it is because one party acted negligently and failed to follow the rules, putting other’s lives in danger. In the majority of cases, negligent acts include:
A Boat Operator’s Inattention
It’s easy to get caught up in the fun of being on the boat while behind the helm, laughing with friends or looking at something on shore. But just like with car accidents, the operator’s eyes should always be on the water in front of them, or else a collision may occur.
Although New York doesn’t currently require licensing to operate a boat, the person behind the helm should always be fully aware of the rules or be accompanied and supervised by someone who is familiar with both the vessel and navigation rules.
Boating or sailing while drunk or high on drugs is illegal and yet, many operators choose to partake while they are out on the water, allowing these substances to cloud their judgement, slow down reaction times, and mess with their vision.
Anytime that someone is speeding, the amount of time it takes for them to slow their vessel down is much longer than if they had obeyed the rules and it makes a collision much more dangerous because there is more force behind the speeding boat.
Sometimes, if the equipment aboard a boat isn’t properly maintained or if there is a defect, equipment failure can result in an accident. In cases where a defect is found, the manufacturer, builder, or designer of the defective part may be held liable.
Keep in mind that boating accidents don’t need to involve two boats. The operator responsible may have run the vessel aground, struck a fixed object, or come into contact with someone in the water, such as a water skier or swimmer.
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Boat Accident Lawsuits Provide Compensation
Due to the open air nature of most vessels and the lack of safety restraints or other safety features, the victims of boating accidents frequently sustain serious injuries, including:
- deep lacerations
- brain injuries
- spinal cord injuries
- broken bones
Any one of these injuries can mean the victim needs to undergo surgery, spend time in the hospital, fill numerous prescriptions, spend countless hours in physical therapy, and even then, they may never again enjoy life as they previously did. They may even find that their injury has caused their career to end.
When facing growing medical debt and potentially losing the ability to earn income, it’s natural for someone to wonder if the can pursue legal action against the party responsible to help them pay for their losses and in most cases, they can.
What Do Verdicts & Settlements Provide?
There are two ways a plaintiff may obtain their much-needed compensation, through either a settlement or a verdict. This compensation is intended to give them monetary sums to cover their:
- medical expenses
- lost earnings
- physical pain and suffering
- emotional trauma
The amount obtained varies from case to case as no two plaintiffs sustain the exact same losses.
What Assistance Can A Lawyer Provide?
Many of our clients come to us unsure of how we will assist them other than to file the lawsuit paperwork. However, our team does so much more than that. Together, we will:
- Go over every single detail of the accident, piece by piece.
- Perform an investigation to determine if additional evidence can be collected, such as video surveillance from a nearby dock.
- Collect witness statements.
- Consult with boating specialists.
- Speak with the insurance companies.
- Determine what losses the client has sustained.
- Determine if more than one party is responsible for the accident.
We fully understand that our clients are going through one of the most difficult times of their lives and we believe our role is to help them get through it.
Additional Vacation Accident Resources