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Evansville, IN Maritime Lawyers
Located along the bank of the Ohio River, Evansville, Indiana is the watersports capital of the Hoosier State. The Ohio River flows into several smaller tributaries, such as the Wabash River, which provides boating enthusiasts with the optimal water playground to fish and take lengthy cruises. With its many fingers, Patoka Lake is another popular destination for boats to glide on the serene water. With water recreational activities a big hit in Evansville, it is not surprising to learn watercraft accidents are a relatively common type of personal injury case.
Boating accidents occur for a wide variety of reasons, from careless maneuvers to operating a boat that has received inadequate maintenance care. If you sustained injuries caused by a watercraft accident, you should contact one of the highly rated Evansville, Indiana maritime lawyers. An experienced maritime attorney conducts a thorough investigation to determine the cause of the personal injury incident, as well as whether negligence played a role in producing your injuries. Evidence such as photographs of the accident scene helps your attorney decide whether to file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages from another party.
Since 1988, Morgan and Morgan has represented clients for every type of personal injury case, from auto to boating accidents. We have recovered more than $14 billion in compensation for our clients, with a significant percentage coming from watercraft accident cases. The compassionate team of Evansville, Indiana maritime lawyers at Morgan and Morgan provide superior legal support, as well as guide our clients through the physical recovery process that frequently follows a boating accident.
Schedule a free case evaluation today with one of the Evansville, Indiana maritime lawyers at Morgan and Morgan to determine whether you have a strong enough case to file a civil lawsuit.
Morgan & Morgan
What Are the Most Common Types of Watercraft Injuries?
Whether you ride solo on a jet ski or are one of the passengers sailing on a large boat, you run the risk of sustaining one or more injuries every time you enjoy a watercraft recreational activity.
Here are the most common types of watercraft injuries.
As with a car accident, the powerful impact generated by a watercraft collision can produce serious head injuries, from a concussion to internal bleeding. As with motorcycles, Indiana has not enacted a universal law that mandates operators and passengers must wear helmets while riding in a water vessel. Not wearing a helmet significantly compounds the seriousness of the head trauma caused by a watercraft accident.
The symptoms of head trauma include confusion, chronic headaches, and an obvious lack of energy.
Whiplash occurs when the head and neck snap back and forth with tremendous force upon impact. The result is the generation of excruciating pain along the vertebrae located in the upper spinal column adjacent to the base of the neck. Severe whiplash can produce symptoms such as a complete loss of feeling in one or more limbs, as well as constant throbbing headaches that make it difficult to perform basic daily tasks.
Time is the healer of a whiplash injury caused by a boating accident, as doctors recommend patients stay off their feet for as long as it takes to mitigate the symptoms.
Even a single boat accident, such as a powerboat colliding with a dock, can produce fractures in the arms, legs, and/or ribs. The lack of a cushion to absorb a violent blow makes the rib cage an especially vulnerable area of the body for fractured bones. Arms and legs are prime targets for fractures because of their exposure to stationary objects and flying debris. It can take more than two months for a fractured bone to heal while the bone reconnects inside of a stable cast.
What Are the Common Causes of Watercraft Accidents?
One of the first items to discuss during a free case evaluation with one of the Evansville, Indiana maritime lawyers at Morgan and Morgan concerns the cause of a boating accident. Once your attorney discovers the cause of a boating accident, the next step is to determine whether negligence played a role in producing your injuries.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) compiles statistics that demonstrate the dangers lurking on waterways throughout the United States. One alarming statistic the federal agency pays close attention to is the percentage of watercraft collisions that are attributed to reckless behavior. A little more than 25 percent of all boating accidents involve some type of reckless behavior. Examples of reckless behavior include speeding, making sharp, sudden turns, and failing to follow proper docking procedures.
Indiana maritime laws require operators to be at least 15 years old before they have the legal right to operate any type of watercraft that generates at least 10 horsepower. Although age is the most influential factor that determines experience, adults without sufficient operating experience are much more likely to cause watercraft accidents than their more experienced counterparts. Operator inexperience also ranks as one of the most common causes of watercraft collisions, not only in Indiana but also in the United States.
Operating While Intoxicated
As with operating a motor vehicle, operating a watercraft under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol slows down reaction times, as well as causes operators to use poor judgment when making operating decisions. Drug and alcohol consumption while operating a boat in Indiana is subject to stiff penalties that include fines, suspension of a license, and even time spent in prison.
What Are Indiana Watercraft Laws?
Boaters at least 15 years old have the right to operate a motor boat only if they complete a boater education course sanctioned by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Eligible boating operators must obtain an ID card from the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). Watercraft operators must carry their IDs with them every time they navigate one of Indiana’s waterways.
Life Jacket Regulations
One of the most common types of reckless behaviors on Indiana waterways is the failure to store at least one-Coast Guard-approved life jacket on a vessel. If a boater operates a watercraft longer than 16 feet, the operators also must carry a Type IV flotation device on board in case of an emergency. According to Indiana maritime laws, adults do not have to wear a lifejacket, but children under 13 years old are required to wear a Coast Guard-approved protective life jacket.
Indiana applies the same Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) minimum of 0.08% for operating a watercraft as it does for operating a motor vehicle. Watercraft operators break the law any time they operate a motor boat while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Indiana law considers the 0.08 % BAC threshold to constitute operating a motor boat while under the influence. Operators convicted of operating a motorboat while under the influence can lose their operating privileges for at least 90 days and up to two years for just the first offense.
Subsequent offenses trigger harsher penalties such as fines and/or incarceration.
For additional information regarding Indiana maritime laws, contact the Indiana Department of Natural Resources at the following address and phone number:
402 West Washington Street, Room W160A
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
How Long Do I Have to File a Boating Accident Lawsuit in Evansville, Indiana?
One of the reasons to hire one of the best Evansville, Indiana maritime lawyers is to ensure you file a personal injury lawsuit before the expiration of the statute of limitations. Each state has set the deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit, with most states establishing the statute of limitations between two and four years. Some states give residents as long as six years and as short as one year to take legal action for a personal injury case such as a boating accident. Indiana has established a deadline for filing a watercraft accident lawsuit at three years, with the clock starting to tick for the deadline on the date of the personal injury incident.
Although three years is plenty of time to file a persuasive boating accident lawsuit, the Evansville, Indiana maritime lawyers at Morgan and Morgan recommend filing your lawsuit as quickly as possible after a watercraft accident. You want to move fast to recover financial losses, such as the cost of expensive medical bills. The Evansville Indiana maritime lawyers at Morgan and Morgan want to speak with witnesses as soon as possible after a boating accident. Witness accounts tend to be more credible right after a personal injury incident.
If you fail to file a civil lawsuit before the expiration of the statute of limitations, you can expect the court clerk processing your legal action to dismiss it.
What Are the Types of Monetary Damages for Evansville, IN Boating Accident Cases?
Plaintiffs filing a civil lawsuit for a boating accident have the right to seek three different types of compensation. The Evansville, Indiana maritime lawyers at Morgan and Morgan calculate a reasonable value for monetary damages to ensure we have a solid starting point in which to negotiate a favorable settlement.
Special Compensatory Damages
Also referred to as economic damages, special compensatory damages cover the cost of tangible expenses such as medical bills, property damages, and lost wages. As the plaintiff of a boating collision case, you have the right to seek compensation to cover the costs associated with diagnostic tests, treatment programs, and physical therapy sessions. You also should request compensation if your healthcare provider prescribed medications.
Property damage can include the replacement value for a watercraft, as well as the damage done to electronic devices. To recover lost wages, your personal injury attorney needs to review the copies of bank and wage statements.
General Compensatory Damages
General compensatory damages cover the costs associated with non-tangible issues, such as pain and suffering. If you suffer from emotional distress issues such as fear, anxiety, or even depression because of the seriousness of the injuries sustained from a boating accident, you have the right to ask the judge or jury hearing your case for monetary damages. Your lawyer calculates general compensatory damages by factoring the value of special compensatory damages into a standard formula.
The judge or jury hearing your case does not award you punitive damages to pay for tangible expenses. Instead, punitive damages penalize the defendant for committing one or more acts of negligence. For example, if the defendant operated a motor boat while under the influence, and the boat collided with your vessel to produce serious injuries, your attorney can ask the court to award you punitive damages.
To learn more about filing a personal injury lawsuit, Schedule a free case evaluation with one of the Evansville, Indiana maritime lawyers at Morgan and Morgan.