The beautiful lakes and waterways in Tennessee are an attraction to locals as well as tourists. You don’t expect that a fun day on the water will end in a tragic accident.
All boaters need to use common sense and follow safety rules. A boater is expected to take the necessary precautions to avoid injuring passengers, swimmers, and other boaters. Often those on the water following legal boating rules can become the victim of a reckless boater. A watercraft cannot move out of the way in a split second, and when a speeding or reckless boater creates an impact, the damages to the watercraft and individuals on it can be deadly. The person who is at-fault in the accident needs to take responsibility for their negligent or reckless actions.
Below you will learn what steps to take if you’ve been the victim of a boating accident. You have the right to demand compensation for the accident another’s negligence or reckless actions caused. It is also important to protect others from people who do not take the responsibility of operating a boat seriously. Your claim for compensation is one way of making that person take responsibility in an accident.
In 2012, the Coast Guard counted 4515 accidents that involved 651 deaths, 3000 injuries and approximately $38 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents.
Boating Accident Causes
Most recreational boating accidents involve alcohol use. There are other reasons for boating accidents, such as:
- Inexperienced boat operation
- A poorly maintained boat
- Unsafe weather or water conditions
- Missing or defective safety equipment
Report the Boating Accident
As soon as the accident happens, call 9-1-1. Federal law requires the boat operator or owner to file a boating accident report with the State reporting authority when, as a result of an occurrence that involves a boat or its equipment:
- A person dies
- A person disappears from the vessel under circumstances that indicate death or injury
- A person is injured and requires medical treatment beyond first aid
- Damage to vessels and other property totals $2,000 (lower amounts in some states and territories) or more
- The boat is destroyed.
If the boat operator was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident, chances are the accident will not be reported by them. You or someone in your party will need to report the accident to authorities.
Document Boating Accident Injury
Boating accidents can cause serious injuries, including brain damage that’s caused when the body is deprived of oxygen while underwater during unconsciousness. It is important that everyone involved in the accident seek medical treatment.
The following evidence will be needed to prove your case:
- Take photographs or a video with a cell phone or camera of the accident scene
- Photograph injuries and the property damage
- Get the names and contact information from witnesses, police officers or emergency personnel who arrive on scene
- Get the name and contact information of the offending boat owner and their insurance information
- Photograph or write down the offending boat’s license number or registration tag information.
- Save medical invoices and copies of test results to document your injuries
Filing a Boating Accident Claim
The person who caused the boating accident or injury can be sued for:
- Past, present and future medical experiences related to the accident injuries
- Damages caused to your personal property, such as your boat
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
An experienced personal injury lawyer familiar with maritime and admiralty law needs to review the facts of your accident, which will greatly improve your chances of a successful recovery in a boating accident lawsuit.
If you or a family member has been injured or harmed in a boating accident caused by the reckless or negligent acts of another, it is crucial that you contact an experienced boating accident attorney.
If you’d like to learn more about recreational boating accidents, click here for Boating Accidents Frequently Asked Questions.