How to Find a Boat Accident Lawyer Near Me

Undoubtedly, boating is a very popular pastime because it can relieve stress, and it’s a wonderful way to bond with friends and family. And water access is available less than an hour drive away from most households in the U.S. You can fish, water ski, or simply enjoy a beautiful sunset while the water laps beside the boat. 

However, as with many outdoor activities, it’s possible to get injured even while having a good time. Searching how to find a boating accident lawyer near me is probably your first course of action after having been injured if you feel it was due to someone else’s negligence. That’s a significant first step to recovering compensations for your damages.

While safe boating is the aim of most boaters, accidents can happen for many reasons. Many boaters have training and experience to help them navigate the waterways safely, but even so, deaths and injuries occur every year. According to Coast Guard reports, 2020 was a record year for accidents and fatalities in the boating communities. Let’s take a look at some of the causes of boat accidents.

What are the top boating accident statistics?

The U.S. Coast Guard released its 2020 Boating Safety Statistics Report and revealed the following for the cause of boating accidents that year. 

Alcohol - Year after year, alcohol is a primary contributor to fatalities, injuries, and property damage. In 2020, alcohol accounted for 18 percent of total fatalities in spite of laws that prohibit operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol. 

Operator inattention - 664 accidents were due to operator inattention resulting in 55 deaths and 383 injuries.

Operator inexperience - 612 boating accidents were due to operator inexperience, resulting in 56 deaths and 343 injuries.

Improper lookout - 578 boating accidents were caused by improper lookout resulting in 28 deaths and 409 injuries.

Excessive speed - 418 boat accidents were caused by excessive speeding on the waterways resulting in 32 deaths and 345 injuries.

Some other top contributors for boating accidents reported in 2020 were navigation rules violations, machinery failure, the weather, equipment failure, force of wake or wave, and hazardous waters. 

What are the primary boating accident types?

  • Collision with recreational vessel
  • Flooding or swamping
  • Collision with a fixed object
  • Grounding
  • Passenger falls overboard

What are the most common injuries in a boating accident?

Drowning - When fatal boating accidents occur, 75% of those are because the victim drowned. And the main reason for drowning in these cases was because the victim was not wearing a life jacket. Drowning can happen even if the person is a strong swimmer. They could have been knocked unconscious or been stuck under debris from the boat crash. Nearly drowning can also cause lifelong incapacitation. 

If you lost a loved one because they were not wearing a life jacket when they went overboard and there weren’t life jackets available, you could bring a wrongful death case to the boat’s owner. It’s a law that all passengers must have access to a life jacket that is the correct size and in good working order while aboard a vessel. The law is far stricter for children. In most states, children under 12 years of age must wear a lifejacket at all times while underway on any vessel.

Traumatic brain injuries - A common injury during a boating accident is a traumatic brain injury. This can happen from the force of the impact when two vessels collide. A traumatic brain injury could also result from a lack of oxygen while underwater or exposure to carbon monoxide.

Spinal cord injuries - Spinal cord injuries can happen in several ways. First, the impact of a collision can be forceful enough to cause damage to your spinal cord. Second, if you are forcefully slammed around on a boat due to waves or the wake from another boat, you could be injured and face lifelong pain and suffering.

Electrocution - When you have a significant collision in a boat, electrical components from the electrical systems and appliances aboard the vessel could contact water and cause electrical burns and other severe injuries.

Lacerations and amputation - Coming into contact with a boat’s propeller blades is a recipe for disaster. The human body is no match for this kind of equipment. If the force of the boat crash causes someone to come into contact with a boat propeller, it can cause severe lacerations and loss of life or limb. 

The risk of boat propeller injuries outside of a collision can be dramatically reduced if a boat’s captain never allows passengers to board or exit the boat while the engine runs and informs passengers where the boat propeller is located. Furthermore, a responsible boat operator will use extreme caution when near other boats that are towing skiers or tubers and will never enter swimming zones. 

Why hire a boating accident lawyer near me?

As you’re already aware, boating accidents can cause serious injury and result in costly medical bills. To recover the maximum amount of compensation for your losses, you need to hire a boating accident lawyer. Working directly with the insurance companies isn’t necessarily in your favor. Most insurance companies will pressure you into settling before you understand the entirety of your damages. In severe injury cases, you could be looking at tens of thousands of dollars or more in medical bills. For long-term injuries, you may be required to go to doctors for ongoing care. Have they figured that into their offer? 

It’s also essential to get legal help as soon as possible after your accident. Evidence needs to be collected and preserved, such as accident reports, witness testimonies, and medical records. You may not be in the position to handle all of that during this stressful time. 

Seeking compensations for a boat accident may require investigating boat-specific subjects that may have been to blame for your injury. Things like improper boat maintenance or lack of a vessel checkup before departure can cause injuries. Are you prepared to do that on your own? A knowledgeable boating accident lawyer has the experience to ask the right questions and get the answers you need to build your case.

You also need to make a claim against the right party. The right party is the person that owed you a duty of care and breached that care. The result of that breach is that you were injured and sustained damages. A boating accident lawyer is your solution to establishing this sufficiently to recover money for your damages. 

A boating accident lawyer will protect your legal rights and can provide a barrier between you and the insurance companies or others that will disturb your peace of mind as you recover from your injuries. Always speak to a personal injury lawyer before admitting any kind of fault or entering into negotiations with the other party’s insurance company. 

What else can a boating accident lawyer do for me?

A boating accident lawyer is invaluable as they not only protect your legal rights but they advise you of them too. They provide you with the blueprint you need to follow in negotiating a settlement. If the insurance company wants to play hardball, your attorney should be prepared to take your case to trial.

Your attorney will discuss your case. They uncover the facts that will help bolster your claim. They will learn about your injuries, pain, and find out what recovery looks like for you by talking to your medical professionals if necessary.  

Case investigation and discovery is an important facet of any lawsuit. You’ll want to go with a boating accident lawyer with the resources to conduct on-site and in-person investigations. They should track down witnesses, recover documentation like reports, pictures, or even video footage of the accident and the aftermath. 

Your lawyer will become the conduit for third-party contacts. All relevant parties will be put on notice that you are now represented by them, and all communication should be directed to their offices, leaving you at peace to deal with healing. 

If a defective product caused a malfunction on the boat leading to your injuries and it’s in your possession, that is an important piece of evidence. Your lawyer will obtain the product and keep it safe or have it tested in a non-destructive manner to prove it was defective. 

Your boating accident lawyer might locate medical experts if your injury was severe so they can verify your diagnosis and speak to future impairments and treatment. An economist can also speak to economic projections from future medical treatments and loss of work. 

If it comes down to it, will a boating accident lawyer file a lawsuit for me?

Yes, your boating accident lawyer should prepare your case as if you were headed to trial. They will file the lawsuit and ensure all the evidence is supported with damage information and legal theories such as duty of care. They give copies of everything to the defendant as well as to the court in preparation for trial. 

Many cases settle out of court, even up to the minute before the trial starts. However, if that doesn’t happen, they will represent you at the trial.   

Is there a Morgan & Morgan boating accident lawyer near me?

At Morgan & Morgan, we have over 700 attorneys ready to fight for your rights no matter where you live in the U.S. We proudly serve clients nationwide and have recovered over $10 billion for our clients in our 30-year history of practicing law. 

Not only do we have an amazing track record, but we really care for our clients and the communities we serve. We strive to earn our clients’ trust, and it works for us because many of our clients come from referrals. Even judges and other lawyers refer injured clients to us because they know we’ll handle the case right and get the maximum compensation.

You shouldn’t have to accept an unsatisfactory insurance settlement because you’re scared of bills piling up or you don’t know what to do. We handle the scary stuff while you recover from your injuries. Contact us today for a free, no-risk case evaluation. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. 

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