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When Poor Watercraft Safety Leads To Boating Accidents

Personal injury can occur as a result of boating accidents, and often the boat owner is held responsible by law. Serious injury and death may result from watercraft collisions, reckless handling and unsafe boat equipment, as well as natural causes.

Boating accidents may involve slip-and-fall injuries, onboard fires, overboard falls, or drownings. That is why conscientious boat owners and operators study maritime laws and pay attention to any updates.

Responsible boating can reduce the risks of:
  • Accidental injury
  • Permanent impairments
  • Loss of life
  • Boat damage
  • Civil lawsuits
Therefore, maritime transportation by vessels of all sizes is governed by United States admiralty law. The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) oversees compliance with federal laws.

States also hold boaters to strict laws, which are enforced by a maritime body such as the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in Florida. Local jurisdictions may also have water police who uphold the area boating laws.

If you or a loved one has been hurt on a boat and you suspect inadequate compliance with safety laws, you may be able to sue for the personal injury sustained. An accident attorney with experience in maritime law can help you to unravel the tangle of boating regulations that may apply to your accident.

When Operator Error Causes Boating Accident Injuries
The USCG reports operator inattention and reckless driving as the top two reasons for boat accidents. Some degree of either of these offenses may hold up in civil court in a claim of negligence resulting in personal injury.

A boating accident can leave you with serious personal injuries. Accidents in general can devastate and completely change your life. If you have been injured in a boating accident or hurt in a Jet Ski accident, can connect you with a boating attorney who can help you understand your rights and determine liability. Most states have a statute of limitations that may prohibit you from filing a lawsuit if too much time has passed.

Let’s consider some instances in which operator error may be blamed for accidental or intentional injury.
A boat operator may be considered negligent if he or she takes passengers out on the water at the wrong time or in the wrong conditions. Many states restrict evening sailing to crafts with running lights, and most restrict recreational water sports, such as water skiing, to daylight hours. A boat owner who violates visibility laws and causes an accident may be held liable for your injuries.

Likewise, most states regulate the number of people who can ride in a vessel. A driver who leaves the dock with an overcrowded boat can be held responsible for accidents. Boat passengers who know these laws can either avoid sailing in unsafe conditions or seek retribution through state tort laws, if injured.

When Equipment Causes Boating Accident Injuries
Maritime recreation carries the risk of drowning as well as collision and other dangers. Boat equipment and functional hardware protects passengers from falling in the water and drowning. Some items, such as life jackets and fire extinguishers, are required by USCG regulations on certain crafts.

Fire extinguishers must be USCG approved and current on inspections. These can mean the difference between your craft sailing or sinking, with possible physical damage or drowning death the result. Personal flotation devices (PFDs) represent the greatest safeguard from personal injury in water accidents, and must also meet federal specifications and state usage laws.

Well-maintained deck railings and seating, whether called for by law or not, are also reasonable protections. A judge might consider poor maintenance of these items failure to exercise due care in keeping passengers safe from bodily injury. A claim of negligence against a boat operator in civil court can earn the injured passenger large court awards toward medical and legal bills and repayment for suffering.

Water safety is the most important aspect of boating, and the network of federal, state and local laws impresses that fact upon owners and operators. In addition to personal injury damage awards, expensive civil penalties may apply when boaters cause accidents due to poor safety practices.

If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury as a result of a boating accident, consult a boating attorney right away! You’ll want to ask critical questions such as: how long have you been practicing law; do you have experience with maritime cases; how many boat accident cases have you won?

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