Boating should be loads of fun if you follow all the boating safety rules. Unfortunately, you might follow all the rules but still get into an accident. So if you ever get into a boating accident, here are crucial facts about boating accident liability you should be aware of.
General Rule Of Negligence
If you get into an accident while on your sail boat, it’s up to you to prove that the accident was caused by somebody else’s negligence if you want to be compensated for the damages. Remember that just because you got into an accident with your boat, doesn’t mean that someone has to be held liable. So you have to work with a boating accident lawyer in order to prove that indeed your accident was caused as a result of someone else’s negligence.
How Boating Accident Negligence Claims Work
In order for you to understand how a boating accident negligence claim works, you need to know about the different kinds of boating accidents. They include:
- Your boat hitting a submerged rock, object or land
- Your boat hitting a wave
- Your boat hitting another boat’s wake
- Your boat hitting another boat
When You Hit A Submerged Rock, Object Or Land
You’d think that since the weather is great and visibility is perfect, you’d see all objects before hitting them but unfortunately that’s not true; you can hit submerged objects just as easily as you would hit anything above the water in bad weather or poor visibility.
So who will be held liable if you hit a submerged object in the water? Well, it depends on the situation. Let’s say you were traveling slowly and cautiously on the water and you hit a rock, you are not going to be found negligent if you also had nautical charts for the area or a GPS. But if you were just cruising around in dense fog without any GPS and you run aground or hit the coastline, you’d be accused of negligence.
When You Hit Another Boat’s Wake
Determining who’s legally liable for a wake accident isn’t really as straightforward as we imagine. State and federal laws require you to always keep an eye out for something that might pose a danger to you, your boat or your passengers. But your liability in a wake accident really depends on the situation. For instance:
- Were you on a sailboat or a motorboat when you got injured?
- Did you warn your passengers that the boat was approaching a big wake?
- How was the boat traffic where the accident happened?
- How was the visibility?
- How fast was the boat going?
- How big was the wake?
We might also say that the owner of the boat who created the big wake was negligent, depending on the boating traffic and the location of the accident.
If let’s say the boats were in inner harbors or marinas (these areas are mostly no wake zones), then they violated the rules and can be held liable for any boating accidents that occur as a result of their negligence.
If the owner of the boat zipped through an area with dense traffic and left a large wake, they can also be found negligent and be held liable for any damages or injuries that occur as a result of their carelessness.
But if they created a large wake in an area that’s isolated, then the owner of the boat is not likely to be held accountable.
When You Hit A Wave
When a boat hits a wave, the jolt on the boat can throw your passengers overboard, throw them out of their seats or knock them down. Hitting a wave is similar to hitting a wake. The only difference is there are no other boats involved. So whether you were negligent depends on what we’ve discussed about hitting a wake.
When You Hit Another Boat
When you hit another boat, both you and the other boat owner are partly responsible for the accident. So the passengers on your boat and the other person’s boat can hold you both accountable for their injuries. In fact, the case would be very similar to a car accident case.
If you were injured as a result of the boating accident, then you can hold the other person legally responsible for your injuries only if you were less than 50% responsible for the accident.
If the owner of a motorboat hit you while you were on a sail boat, then they are likely to be more at fault than you are. Generally, as part of safe boating practices, motorboats are required to stay out of the way of sailboats.
What Damages Are You Entitled To In A Boating Accident Lawsuit?
Boating accident lawsuits are similar to car accident lawsuits. If the accident occurred as a result of someone else’s negligence, you can sue them in a court of law for damages. Some of the damages include: pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills and so on.
Does Insurance Coverage Affect Your Case?
If your boating accident was as a result of someone else’s negligence, it might not be possible to recover damages from them especially if they don’t have boater’s insurance.
Hiring A Boating Accident Attorney
We deal with injured Rhode Island and Massachusetts boating accidents every day. We’ve found that in most cases, people get injured in boating accidents as a result of someone else’s negligence. If you have been involved in such an accident, then you need expert representation so that you can get the justice that you deserve.
Being in a boating accident can have devastating results. All of a sudden you are faced medical bills you didn’t plan for, your boat has been destroyed and you’ve lost your ability to earn a living. You need to find a boat accident lawyer who will fight for your rights.
Our boat accident lawyers are waiting to speak with you at (800)-200-7752 today.