Boating accidents are tragic events, often resulting because of other people’s reckless or negligent behaviour. If you or a loved one has been injured in one of these incidents, the trauma can be difficult to process. You may feel angry at the situation, wish you could go back in time and change what happened, or hopeless because the outcome has permanently altered your life.
An experienced boating accident lawyer can help when you’ve been injured on the water. At Bergeron Clifford, we have a proven track record in personal injury cases, and we have experience in dealing with various kinds of unexpected events, including those involving watercraft.
Causes of Boating Accidents
There are several common causes of boating accidents that may involve negligent acts. Equipment failure is also responsible for many of these tragedies. However, collisions are the leading cause of death aboard vessels, and the unique circumstances can cause further anguish for those involved. Boating is a time to experience the water and beauty of nature, not when you should fear for your safety or worry about the dangers of what might happen.
Most boating collisions occur due to one or more of the following:
Boaters who lack experience are more likely to miscalculate their ability to turn or slow down in order to avoid a collision with another vessel or object. This inexperience doesn’t absolve them of responsibility, however, if their actions cause harm to other people. It’s important that anyone who chooses to operate a boat first learns how to do so safely, not just for themselves but for others as well.
Alcohol and Drugs
Boating while intoxicated is just as dangerous as getting behind the wheel of a car while under the influence. If you’re involved in an accident with an inebriated boater, the events can be devastating. Differing slightly from being on land, a boat collision lawyer understands the unique circumstances of driving a vessel and can better speak to the unsafe conditions under which the event happened. They will be able to ensure you’re given the compensation you deserve.
If you’ve been on a vessel before, you’ve likely encountered speeding power boaters and other people who act without regard for the safety of others. When the reckless deeds of these individuals result in a catastrophic accident, it’s considerably upsetting, especially to those who mind the rules of the water and exercise the utmost in safety protocols. The reckless boater can be held responsible for providing compensation to their victims, which can be used to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Sometimes the other boater has done everything in their power to prevent a collision, but the boat’s equipment doesn’t work the way that it should. It’s important to know that if this happens, the manufacturer may be held liable for product defects that caused the incident. At Bergeron Clifford, our boating accident lawyers can help you file a claim against parts companies that produced a faulty product which resulted in your injury.
How to Prevent a Boating Accident
There are several ways to reduce your chances of being involved in a boating accident. It is important to note that while safety starts with you, it is vital for everyone nearby to watch out for each other’s safety as well. Below are some of our suggestions to ensure you are providing the safest possible environment for yourself and other boaters:
- Complete a boating safety course so that you know how to operate the vessel correctly.
- Inspect your boat regularly so that you can have essential repairs taken care of sooner rather than later.
- Bring plenty of safety equipment with you to protect yourself and your passengers.
- Be aware of weather conditions at all times, and know when to head back to shore.
- Never operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Watch your speed, and keep in mind that boats can’t come to a stop quickly.
What Should You Do After a Boating Accident?
If you’ve been involved in a boating accident, it’s important to first make sure that everyone is safe. If you or anyone else needs medical attention, get immediate help. Turning down medical care can cause small issues to turn into bigger health concerns. In addition, should you consider filing a claim against the person who caused the incident, it may harm your case later if the injuries that you sustained weren’t looked after at the time of the event. Therefore, it’s a good idea to get yourself checked out regardless of how you feel after the accident.
Next, make sure that you file a police report and collect the contact information of everyone who was involved in the accident or witnessed it. Take as many pictures as you can of the damage to each boat that was in the wreck. Document as much as possible so that you have the evidence needed to establish the sequence of events.
It’s also important to make a record of each doctor you spoke with, including the emergency room practitioner and any specialists you followed up with. Your healthcare records will establish the value of your medical bills and help provide an estimate of what your injuries have cost you and may continue to cost you later in life. Examples include lost wages, physical therapy, arm or leg braces, and changes to your ability to live happily, such as depression or anxiety, in addition to any modifications you have had to make to your home to allow you to move around comfortably.
Consider contacting a boat collision lawyer as soon as you’re able to. Retaining an attorney will give your legal team more time to prepare your case should you choose to sue. Before you can negotiate a settlement or take your claim to court, these legal professionals need to conduct an investigation and can determine how much your case may be worth.
You might be contacted by the other party’s insurance company, and having an attorney on hand can help you avoid doing anything that could harm your case in court. Allowing your lawyer to work with the insurance companies on your behalf will assure you that things are being handled correctly. Doing so will also help alleviate the stress of having to deal with this case all on your own.
How Can a Boating Accident Lawyer Help with Compensation?
An attorney can help you recover the maximum compensation possible by considering the economic impact of your injuries both now and in the future. If you’ve suffered some kind of harm that prevents you from returning to work or activities that you enjoy, for example, an experienced personal injury lawyer can argue the considerable significance the accident had on your life beyond just one day. They will ensure that your case reflects the difficulties you now face and that compensation will allow you to live as normal of a life as is feasible afterwards.
Insurance companies often want to limit their exposure and pay out as little as possible. You can be certain they will have their own legal teams ready to defend against your claim, so having a lawyer on your side with a proven track record of success can help your case considerably.
Retain a Boating Accident Lawyer
Contact Bergeron | Clifford LLP
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