A day out on a lake or the ocean can be lots of fun. However, this fun can turn sour quickly if a boating accident occurs. If you are a passenger on a friend or family member’s boat, and an accident occurs, you may be injured. If this is the case, you might want to seek compensation for the injuries that you have sustained. But who is at fault for the accident? How did the accident occur? What is the right party to sue? On this page, I will outline what to do if you are involved in a boating accident.
Common Causes of Boating Accidents
Even though there is a lot of space out there on bodies of water, boating accidents and collisions can still occur. There are many factors that might contribute to a boating accident. One common issue is boating inexperience. Those operating boats may not be used to the waters, the weather, or the watercraft that they are operating. All of this could cause an accident.
Another common issue is simply not paying attention. Since there is so much space in a lake or an ocean, a boat operator could lose focus and start chatting with people on the boat, playing with the radio, or going on their phone. These distractions could prevent an operator from noticing a sudden change in weather, a boat heading towards them, an obstruction such as a jetty or lighthouse, or some other issue that could cause an accident.
Also keep in mind that alcohol and drug consumption can definitely lead to an accident out on the water. It is very common to have a beer while enjoying a summer day, but this can turn dangerous if a boat operator has too much to drink. This could not only lead to injuries for those on board, but also a boating under the influence (BUI) charge for the driver.
Yet another issue that could cause a boating accident is machinery failure on the boat itself. If a boat is not properly maintained and kept in good condition, it can be very easy for the boat to malfunction while in use. This could mean that a boat is stranded out in the water, or other issues could occur such as fires on board.
What To Do If You’re Involved in a Boating Accident
If you are a passenger on a boat and an accident occurs, you need to determine who was responsible for the accident if you want to file a personal injury claim. The boat operator may be at fault if they operated the boat negligently. For example, if they were not paying attention to the conditions, if they were drinking while operating the boat, if they were not properly trained to operate the boat, etc. In these situations, you would sue the boat operator.
In the event of a malfunction on the boat due to machinery defect, the boat manufacturer may be at fault. This will depend on if the issue was a result of improper maintenance or if the manufacturer made a mistake when making the boat. If the manufacturer is at fault, that is the party that you would sue.
For help determining who to sue and how to do so, contact my office.