Boat Accident Causes, Injuries, Fault & Legal Options

While the severity and nature of injuries vary significantly, the most serious have profound impacts. They cause more than physical impairments. In many cases, severe boat accidents can lead to lasting financial consequences and damage that might change the lives of victims and their families forever. 

Lawyers know the importance of effective legal representation when seeking justice and recovery after boating accidents. 

Common Types of Boat Accident Injuries

The most common boating accidents include; –

  1. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)

Falling, explosions, and objects hitting the head on boats can contribute to these injuries. While mild injuries can be treated, there is growth in evidence to suggest that soft injuries can have lasting impacts. In worst-case scenarios, these injuries can cause debilitating and irreversible impairments like mood and speech, perception, cognition, mobility, and coordination issues. 

  1. Spinal cord injuries 

Hyperextension and blunt trauma can result in vertebral pinching and fractures or severing of the spinal code. These injuries can cause damage to nerves, inability to control functions of the body and spinal cord injuries. In severe cases, spinal injuries result in permanent paralysis, that is, quadriplegia or paraplegia. 

  1. Electrocutions 

When boating equipment hits power lines or malfunctions, those aboard the vessel can get electrocuted. While electrocutions are not as common as other boating injuries, a few US people get electrocuted yearly. 

  1. Disfigurement

What is most likely to cause someone to fall overboard? Loss of limbs and scarring can cause people to fall overboard. You can get disfigured when you lose limbs and get scarred. Disfiguring causes emotional impacts like depression and stress. 

  1. Emotional & psychological injuries 

While the impacts can be hard to notice from boating accidents, they are damaging. Emotional and physical damages from these accidents manifest as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. These injuries can last for many years and need ongoing, personalized treatment. 

  1. Fatal injuries

Over seven hundred people got injured in the US due to boating accidents last year. Eighty percent of these people drowned. Four out of five victims did not have life jackets in these incidents. 

Below are the top reasons for boating accidents to occur

  • Operator inattention

Boat operators must always be vigilant and monitor the boat and the weather. Sea conditions are unpredictable, meaning the operator should look for warning signs of hazards. 

  • Improper lookout

The other cause for causing boating accidents is a need for the proper lookout for the person designated to watch for hazards and threats. 

  • Inexperience of operators

The inexperience of the operator is the third most common cause of boating accidents. Operators must be ready to handle emergencies and understand boating and navigation rules. 

  • Excessive speed

You need to operate the boat safely, just like you would drive at safe speeds on the road. Safe speed gives you ample time to react to road dangers. Excessive speeding might result in collisions at sea. 

  • Impaired operation

Drug and substance abuse is a factor in boating accidents and may result in severe injury and death. Alcohol levels for boaters should be similar to that of road drivers. 

  • Equipment failure

It is crucial to maintain the boat to operate it safely. The boat owner should carry out necessary checks to ensure it is safe. 

  • Violating navigational rules

There are similar rules in water, just like on roads. Violating navigation rules can be very dangerous. It might result in clashes with other boats or the boat running aground. 

  • Dangerous waters

Water conditions can change within a short period. While you cannot anticipate some conditions, you need to expect some. Boat operators should always mind the conditions of the water. 

  • Weather

What is most likely to cause someone to fall overboard? An operator should check the weather conditions, like wind and storm patterns, before heading out. 

  • The force of waves or wakes.

Wakes are water disturbances that result from the boat’s hull water passage. The force of a large wake or wave can result in fatalities, injuries, or accidents. 

Legal Options after a Boat Accident

After a boat accident, there are several options to recover compensation for your losses. Below are some ways to get your bills. 

Your Health Insurer Will Pay Medical Bills

If the accident causes injury, your health insurer will pay for your care. Nevertheless, it could mean you will pay coinsurance costs and high deductibles. You will also have uncompensated losses for damaged property and missed work time because health insurers do not cover such things. 

You need to know that your insurer will try to recover the money they gave you if you try to sue them. 

Your Boat Insurer May Compensate

If your boat has insurance and gets involved in an accident, the insurer will pay you. The insurance company will pay for the replacement or repair of the boat under property damage coverage. If there are medical payments, the boat insurer will pay for the medical costs. This option is good if it was your fault and you did not have anyone else to turn to. 

You Can Get Compensation From the At-Fault Boater

You can get compensation if you were a passenger on a boat and got involved in an accident. Also, if you were riding or operating on a vessel and another boater caused the accident, you can pursue a claim from the other boater’s policy. You will get compensated for lost wages, emotional distress, pain and suffering, and medical bills. 

Get Compensation from the Boat Manufacturer

If the boat has a problem, you can use the manufacturer to claim compensation. There is no need to show the manufacturer’s negligence, but you indicate that you were harmed because of a problem with the vessel. 

Final thoughts

What is most likely to cause someone to fall overboard? A boat operator must stop the vessel after an accident to avoid people falling overboard. Vessel operators must report the accident to law enforcement agencies and wait for them to respond before they depart. 

In some states, you need to report the incident to other agencies like the Fish and Wildlife Commission. You must contact the Coast Guard if there is death, disappearance, or need for first aid. The timeframe for reporting varies from twenty-four hours to ten days, depending on the situation.

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