Boating is a lot of fun, but sometimes accidents happen—resulting in injuries and even death. About 4,158 recreational boating accidents were reported in 2015, out of which 626 involved deaths, while 2,613 resulted in injuries, according to the US Coast Guard. The estimated property damage was $42 million. Most accidents happened due to the negligent actions of someone else, making the injured party eligible to make a claim and get compensation for damages. However, it is crucial to prove negligence before a claim can be filed.
Proving Negligence is Essential for Compensation
If you or your loved one has been injured on a sailboat or motorboat, it is important to prove that the injury or death was a result of the negligence of another person or entity in order to receive compensation. Showing that you got injured does not necessarily mean that another person caused it. Negligence refers to the failure of a party to act with reasonable care. You must be able to prove that the responsible party had a duty of care towards you, and you got hurt because they failed to fulfill it due to their negligence.
Common Types of Boating Accidents
1. Collision with Another Boat
If two boats crashed into one another, there is a high chance that both operators were negligent and at-fault. Collisions often happen due to boating under influence, poor visibility, and distracted driving, among other reasons. Depending on the degree of negligence on part of each operator, injured passengers may be able to make a claim against both of them to receive compensation for their injuries. In case of an injured operator, one can file a claim against the other if both operators are not equally responsible for the crash.
2. Defective Boat
Numerous boating accidents take place because a boat was defectively manufactured, designed, or marketed. In some cases, it may be obvious that the faults in the boat resulted in the accident, while in others, a great deal of investigation may be required to reach this verdict. A few common types of accidents that may be caused because of a faulty boat include:
- Onboard fire
- Fuel tank explosions
- Malfunctioning of onboard equipment
- Leakages in boats resulting in sinking
- Accidents involving capsizing
3. Wake Accidents
Another common reason for boat fatalities and injuries is due to sudden collisions with wakes. Such accidents create immense jolting forces, causing dangerous falls, either overboard or inside the boat, which may cause the passengers to sustain severe injuries or even drown. An operator is responsible to diligently look out for any signs of danger and take steps to mitigate it. They may be liable for the damages, if they were driving the boat recklessly, under influence of any substance, or in a no-wake zone. The operator’s liability may also depend on several other factors, such as the boat’s speed, the wake’s size, weather conditions, visibility, and others.
4. Hitting Waves
If a boat hits a large wave, it can cause the same jolting effect as a collision with a wake, resulting in dangerous falls or tossing passengers overboard. Depending on the circumstances, the operator’s negligence can be determined and whether they should be held liable for the damages.
If you have been injured or your loved one died in a boating accident, you may have a personal injury claim. It is best that you discuss your case with an experienced attorney who can guide you through the legal process. Contact Fisk & Monteleone LTD. today at 815-209-9030 to schedule a free case consultation.