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What To Do If You've Been Seriously Injured In A Boating Accident

If you, or someone you love, has been injured in a boating accident, the main concern is to tend to primary physical and emotional needs. Next, examine the ways the accident has or will change your life.

A boating accident is a traumatic event and can impact your life in a variety of negative ways, such as:
  • Medical expenses that are not covered by your own insurance.
  • Lost wages, if injuries prevent you from returning to work.
  • Permanent scarring, disability and/or pain.
  • Loss of property.
  • Pain and suffering, both physical and emotional.
  • Loss of life.
Though it is natural and vital to devote time to the healing and recovery process, it is important to address several issues in a timely manner:
  • Who is liable for the accident and my injuries?
  • Did anyone’s irresponsible actions lead to the boating accident?
  • Am I entitled to compensation for my injuries and costs associated with the accident?
When considering whether to pursue a lawsuit in the matter of your boating accident, keep in mind some of the most common contributing factors in boating accidents:
  • Alcohol or drug use: Those operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs pose a significant danger to the people in their vessel and sharing the waterways.
  • Boating operator inattention: A driver who is distracted or oblivious to other vessels, swimmers or water hazards.
  • A careless or reckless boating operator.
  • Excessive speed: Disobeying posted speed limits and driving beyond speeds considered to be safe.
  • Operator inexperience: A particularly young driver or a novice will be less equipped to handle boating situations that require quick reactions.
  • Equipment failure due to operator error: Includes improper use of lights, anchoring techniques or capacity and weight limit violations.
Of all of those factors, one of the most prevalent is when an accident has been caused by someone operating under the influence of alcohol. The U.S. Coast Guard cites alcohol use as the leading cause of fatal boating accidents.

 The Coast Guard and individual states work together to enforce laws pertaining to boating under the influence (BUI). The punishment for boating under the influence ranges from substantial fines, to loss of boating privileges, to jail and lawsuits.  
When it comes to alcohol consumption and other instances of reckless or careless behavior on the part of the operator, know that the rules of motor vehicle operation also generally apply to recreational boating accidents. This means that the owner or operator of a watercraft is legally responsible for the safety of those aboard. In cases where the operator/owner is negligent, you have the right to file a lawsuit and pursue a monetary award and punitive damages.

Boating accidents are a complex issue, with multiple variables. A boating accident attorney working on a boating accident case must have experience handling this type of accident case – and in some instances, well-versed in matters of wrongful death.

In order to have the most success with your case, choose an attorney with a strong understanding of state, federal and maritime laws and regulations.

Remember that there are limits to the amount of time you have to take legal action in the case of a boating accident. If you or someone you love has been the victim in a boating accident, act quickly to ensure that you do not miss the opportunity for a fair settlement, talk to a personal injury lawyer today!
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