Boating can be great fun, providing a source of relaxation and enjoyment for many people. Unfortunately, accidents can happen while boating. Boating accidents can be caused by anything from operator error or equipment failure to weather conditions. While many people know what to do after a car accident, the steps to take following a boating incident are less well-known.
If you have been injured in a boating accident, making the right moves in the aftermath is crucial to protect yourself and your rights. What you do immediately following an accident could impact your ability to recover compensation for your injuries and other losses. Providing first aid, seeking medical attention, and filing a claim for compensation are all critical steps in the path to recovery.
What Causes Boating Accidents?
Boating accidents can result in life-altering consequences, making it crucial to understand how to prevent them from happening. The most common causes of boating accidents rest on the shoulders of the operator, making it important that the operator of your boat is someone trustworthy and responsible. Operator inattention, improper lookout, operator inexperience, too much speed, and alcohol use were listed as the top five causes of boating accidents in 2019.
Other times, a failure to wear life jackets or lack of fire extinguishers results in injuries, or something as simple as crossing a big wake on a jet ski causes a collision. If you have suffered injuries due to a boating accident caused by any of these factors, it is advisable to seek guidance from a seasoned personal injury lawyer to learn about your rights and seek help obtaining compensation.
Immediate Steps To Take After a Boating Accident
Boating accidents can be frightening, and the aftermath can be hard to deal with. Taking the right steps after an accident can make a significant difference in your recovery, the outcome of your insurance claim, and protecting your legal rights.
Ensuring the Safety of Everyone Involved
Time is of the essence out on the water. Immediately after a boating accident, your first priority should be to do a headcount, provide emergency first aid, and seek medical attention for yourself and any other injured passengers. If anyone has fallen overboard, or a boat hits a swimmer, take steps to rescue them as soon as you can.
Next, if possible, move the boats involved to a safe location. This will allow you to make a better assessment of the damage, help injured passengers reach medical personnel in a timely fashion, and prevent any further accidents.
Contacting Emergency Services
After the boating incident, contact emergency services as soon as you possibly can. Depending on the severity of the accident and injuries, you may need to call local authorities or even the coast guard. Providing accurate and detailed information about the boating accident can ensure that they send the right kind of help.
Once help arrives, be sure to follow all directions given by law enforcement or medical personnel, both to ensure the safety of everyone involved and to be certain that your accident is properly documented.
It is essential to file a report with the appropriate authorities directly after the accident. Filing an accident report will help you with your insurance claim and protect your legal rights.
Be sure to preserve evidence by taking photos and videos of the accident scene, the boats involved, and any damage to the boats or other property. You should also gather information from the other party, including their name, contact details, and insurance information.
Contacting Your Insurance Company
Boating insurance is not required by law in the state of Texas, but lenders who finance boats may require you to carry it. If you have insurance for your boat, you should file a claim with your insurance company as soon as possible following the accident.
Boating insurance policies usually cover injuries and property damage resulting from accidents. Liability coverage is also important, as it covers injuries and damages from the accident that you may be responsible for.
Contacting an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
If you’ve been involved in a boating accident, you may need to contact a personal injury attorney, especially if one or both of the boats involved in the accident were uninsured. An attorney may be able to help you file a claim and improve your chance to get the compensation you deserve. Consulting an attorney will allow you to discuss the specifics of your case.
Dealing with Medical Bills and Expenses
If the boating accident left you with injuries that require medical care, you will likely have a hefty pile of bills. It is essential to keep track of your medical treatment to ensure that your claim covers your expenses.
Medical records are a critical part of any accident claim, as they provide proof of the extent of the injuries you suffered in the boat accident as well as the cost incurred by treatment.
Boating Accident Compensation: Who’s Liable to Pay for Damages?
Boating accidents can cause serious injuries as well as property damage to the vessels involved. When an accident occurs, determining fault and liability is essential to ensure that those injured by other parties receive the compensation they deserve.
If you have been injured in a boating accident, it is important to identify who is liable to pay for damages. In cases where the other party is found to be at fault, their liability insurance will typically cover the cost of damages.
However, if the at-fault party does not have insurance or does not have sufficient coverage to pay for the damages, you may need to take legal action to recover the compensation you are entitled to.
Identifying Who Is at Fault
Since operator inattention is a leading cause of boating accidents, there is usually someone at fault. Reckless behavior, excessive speed, or failure to maintain a proper lookout on the part of a boat operator can all create a hazard for other boaters.
If you are in a boat accident and your boat hits another boat, it is important to identify which boat operator bears responsibility for the accident. If the operator of the other boat is found to be at fault for the boating accident, you may be able to seek compensation for any injuries or damages you sustained.
Responsibility of the Boat Owners
As a boat owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure the safety of your vessel and its passengers. This means equipping your boat with proper safety equipment, like life jackets and fire extinguishers, and maintaining a proper lookout while operating the boat.
Neglecting these responsibilities can lead to accidents, and if it’s determined that your negligence caused the accident, you can be held liable for any resulting damages or injuries. By taking your responsibility as a boat owner seriously, you can help prevent accidents and keep everyone onboard safe.
Responsibility of Boat Operators
As the operator of a boat, you have a duty to take reasonable care to prevent a boating accident. This means operating the boat safely and reliably.
Negligence on the part of the boat operator can lead to accidents and subsequent legal liability. To prevent accidents and ensure the safety of everyone on board, boat operators must be vigilant and responsible.
Rights of Injured Parties
Injured parties have the right to seek compensation for their injuries and damaged property. You may file an injury claim with your insurance company in an attempt to recover compensation. Boating insurance may provide financial protection in the event of an accident, but not all boat owners carry it.
If you have been involved in a boating accident with a boat owner who does not have insurance, you may still be able to recover compensation. Personal injury claims and civil lawsuits are among the legal remedies if you have been hurt in a boating accident.
Filing a Claim for Injuries Sustained in a Boating Accident
Once liability has been determined, the boat accident injury claims process can begin. Filing a claim on your own may result in less compensation than you’re entitled to because insurance companies will often try to settle claims for as little as possible. Seeking the help of an attorney may help ensure that you get the full compensation you deserve.
Recovering Accident Compensation
Recovering compensation for an accident may mean money for injuries, lost wages, and property damage. You may have filed an injury claim with your insurance company, but sometimes they will not pay enough to cover your medical expenses.
You can seek the assistance of an attorney experienced in maritime law to improve the chances that you will receive the compensation you are entitled to. Whether you need someone to negotiate with your insurance company or file a civil lawsuit, a lawyer may be able to help you recover money in your boating accident case.
The Boat Injury Claims Process
Your attorney will collect all the necessary evidence, including medical bills and accident reports, to support your claim. After evidence is gathered, the proper paperwork must be filed with the appropriate courts, and deadlines must be followed. You will need to make a deposition, and the defendant will do the same.
If a settlement outside of court cannot be reached, the case may proceed to trial. At this point, everything you say will be under oath, so it’s crucial to have an attorney to advise you of your rights. The courts expect people filing civil lawsuits to have already tried everything to negotiate a settlement outside of court before proceeding.
The aftermath of a boating accident can be overwhelming, especially if you’re dealing with injuries or even death. If you’ve been injured in a boating accident due to someone else’s negligence, contact Houston Injury Lawyers, PLLC at 936-251-5246 to schedule a consultation for help getting the justice that you deserve.