Boating Accidents – Who is at Fault?

Jul 25, 2018 | Personal Injury

In boating accidents, it is important to consult an attorney in a timely fashion, it is vital to protecting your rights. Whether the accident occurs on speedboats, sailboats, jet skis, party boats or a cruise ship these accidents have the potential to result in serious, permanent injuries or in some instances, death. Those responsible for causing such serious harm can be held liable and made to compensate for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering or the wrongful death of a family member.

Who is At Fault in a Boating Accident?

Victims of boating accidents may be able to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for personal injuries and/or property damage. Negligence is the most common cause of action under which boating lawsuits are filed. Knowing how to pursue a claim after a boating accident can be difficult, so it is important to speak with a boating accident attorney early for help. It is important to collect evidence, including eye witness testimony, law enforcement reports, and photographs of the scene of the accident. The party responsible for a boating accident injury will vary by case. Other most common types of watercraft accidents include:

  • Grounding
  • Falls overboard
  • Colliding with fixed objects like bridges, piers, and other navigational aids
  • Flooding or swamping
  • Skiing or tubing accidents
  • Sinking
  • Capsizing or ejections due to bad weather

Tips For Staying Safe on the Water

Understanding some basic safety measures can significantly reduce the chance of a boating accident. Here are some steps you can take to make sure your activities are performed safely as possible:

  • Take a boating safety training course, a lack of knowledge is the second most common cause of accidents.
  • Never consume alcohol while operating a water vehicle. You can get a DUI just as easy on a boat as you can in a vehicle.
  • Always make sure the driver of the boat is paying attention, alert of surroundings and operating at a safe speed.
  • Never drive a boat at night without properly illuminated navigation lights.
  • Don’t allow or encourage dangerous stunts or activities while the boat is in motion.
  • Make sure to check weather conditions before going out on the water.

What Do The Statistics Say?

  • In 2017, 4,291 accidents that involved 658 deaths, 2,629 injuries and approximately $46 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents according to U.S. Coast Guard reports.
  • There were 172 accidents in which at least one person was struck by a propeller. Collectively, these accidents resulted in 31 deaths and 162 injuries. – USCG Boating Safety
  • Alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents; where the primary cause was known, it was listed as the leading factor in 19% of deaths. – USCG Boating Safety
  • 77 percent of deaths occurred on boats where the operator did not receive boating safety instruction. – VA Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

Choose a Qualified Team of Lawyers To Help

If you or someone you love was in a boating accident due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to receive compensation. In Virginia, you have 2 years from the date of the accident to file a claim. Contact Geoff McDonald & Associates as soon as possible. Our boat accident attorneys are ready to review your situation and seek out all potential sources of recovery. 

Geoff McDonald and Associates: 804-888-8888.


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