Boating Accidents 101: What You Need to Make a Good Personal Injury Claim
During the summer, a popular way to spend your days of sunshine is by taking a pleasure cruise out on the sea.
During your cruise, you get to laze away while watching scenes of the coast roll by. And since someone else is doing the steering and handling all safety precautions, you can truly let go and relax.
Most boat outings are smooth sailing, but accidents do happen and since you paid good money to put your trust in someone else, you deserve to be compensated for damages should they arise. Still, making a personal injury claim for a boating accident isn’t so easy.
Boating accident cases happen to be unique in that several specific variables must be brought to the table and taken into account in order to prove negligence; this is mainly because in a boating accident, a great influence to the accident will always be the weather and sea and you can’t sue the ocean.
For a strong case, the specifics that must be established include: the boat’s speed, level of visibility, boat traffic, and whether the operator warned passengers of obstacles or an upcoming collision. Consider the below scenarios to get an idea how these factors can be considered together in a case.
- If the boat is travelling slowly in low visibility and still hits a rock or other stationary obstacle (causing an accident,) the operator is not at fault because the individual exercised caution in less than optimal conditions to avoid an accident. If the boat was speeding across the water in these conditions, the operator will then be at fault.
- If an accident was caused after an interaction with a wave, there is negligence if the operator failed to warn passengers of a large wave that was seen with enough time to make the warning. If it wasn’t seen due to low visibility, there is no negligence and therefore, less influence to your case. This is assuming that the operator already exercised caution regarding speed vs. visibility.
- If an accident is caused by a collision between two boats, both boat operators will be partially at fault and penalties will be issued relative to who is considered more at fault. This will also begin a collision case between the two boat operators (almost no different than a car accident) and the resulting investigation will influence the case involving the passengers.
It should also be noted that, if the operator did not have proper safety equipment, this will factor greatly regarding your case. Even if the boat captain met all conditions to not be found negligent, if the boat does not have the means to save someone as it should, then the operator will be found negligent this way especially if the accident results in a death.