If you have been involved in a boating accident in Hyannis, you’ve likely encountered a few obstacles like establishing liability and negligence. If you are wondering what your legal rights are, here are some things that you should know:
Proving Negligence for a Boating Accident in Hyannis
You must be able to prove that your boating accident was because of someone else’s negligence. Proving negligence will help you recover damages from that person. Just because you got hurt does not mean that someone else was negligent.
Negligence happens when someone fails to act with reasonable care. This means that you and your Hyannis boating accident lawyer must be able to prove that because of someone else’s negligence, you got hurt.
How a Negligence Claim Works
There are four main types of boating accidents in Hyannis:
- Boat hitting a submerged rock, object or land
- Boat hitting a wave
- Boat hitting another boat’s wake
- Boat hitting another boat
Boat Hitting a Submerged Rock
Even in great weather and visibility, your boat can hit a submerged object. Liability for hitting a submerged object will depend on the situation.
If, for example, you had GPS or nautical charts for the area, you were not speeding and you were cautious but you still hit a rock, then you will not be found negligent. If, however, you were speeding in poor visibility, and you hit a submerged object, you will be considered negligent.
Hitting a Wave
When you hit a wave, you really can’t hold another boat liable.
Hitting Another Boat’s Wake
Legal liability for a wake accident is not always straightforward. The boat’s operator might hit a huge wake, knocking the passengers down, or worse, throwing them overboard. A boat operator is typically required by law to always be on the look out for something that might be dangerous to the boat and the passengers. There are several situations in which the boat’s operator can be held liable and they include:
- How heavy boat traffic was when the accident happened
- Was visibility poor?
- At what speed was the boat going?
- How big was the wake?
- Did the boat operator warn the passengers that he was approaching a big wake?
- If you were injured, were you on a sailboat or a motorboat?
The person who created the wake may also be found negligent of causing the accident. If you were in a no-wake zone but they still created one, then they would be in violation of boating safety rules. If the boat operator was in a high traffic area but still left behind a large wake, they might also be found negligent.
Hitting Another Boat
If your boat collided with another boat, you are both likely to be found partially liable for the accident. If there were any passengers, they would have a legal case against both of you.
If you were injured in the boating accident, you would also have a claim against the other boat operator provided you were less than fifty percent responsible for the accident.
If the Hyannis boating accident happened between a motorboat and a sailboat, the motorboat will more likely be held liable. Safe boating practices require motorboats to avoid sailboats.
Lack of Safety Equipment on Board
Boating laws and regulations in Hyannis, MA, require all boat operators to have safety equipment on board even if the boat they are operating is a pleasure boat. Safety equipment includes items like navigational lights, fire extinguishers, throwable life rings, life jackets for each passenger, flares and loud whistles.
While not having the safety equipment on your boat might not cause an accident, it will hamper rescue efforts. Flares and whistles, for example, can help you shout for help when your boat becomes disabled. If someone falls overboard, life rings and life jackets can make it easier for you to get them back on board. If the boat you were in did not have safety equipment, you can file a claim of negligence against the boat owner.
Which Damages are Available in a Boat Injury Lawsuit in Hyannis?
If a boat owner acted negligently and you became injured, you are entitled to damages. You might recover damages such as lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, medical bills, etc. Your Hyannis boat accident lawyer should be able to tell which damages you are entitled to depending on your situation.
How Insurance Coverage Impacts Your Case
If the person responsible for your accident has no insurance coverage or assets, you will not be able to recover damages from them. If they have homeowner’s insurance, it might cover your injuries but not everyone has homeowner’s insurance coverage.
You will not be able to file a claim against your own home insurance for a boating accident injury. Unlike care insurance, homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover the actions of people who do not have insurance.
Is it Worth Filing a Lawsuit Against Someone with no Boaters’ Insurance?
First, litigation won’t be an easy experience for you are the person you are suing. It’s very rare that you will just hire a Hyannis boat accident lawyer and they will take care of everything from there. A typical lawsuit will require you to put in some effort and you should be prepared to have your character questioned.
If the defendant does not have the money or insurance to pay for damages, you might need to take a step back and ask yourself if it’s really worth it. If your goal is to punish the defendant for acting negligently, a lawsuit can be quite punishing but it might be expensive and time consuming for you.
The good news is that you can determine sources of recovery by hiring an investigator or a Hyannis boat accident lawyer. Determining sources of recovery can be very complicated and you need someone with access to resources to help with your claim.
Our Kevin P Landry Law Offices Hyannis boat accident lawyers are waiting to speak with you at 508-775-4225 today. You don’t have to pay anything for your first consultation. Alternatively, you can visit our Hyannis offices or request for one of our lawyers to come to wherever you feel comfortable.