Boating can be a fantastic way to beat the Arizona heat. However, it’s vital for any boat owner or operator to understand the steps to take in the event of a serious accident. A boating accident can easily lead to a personal injury lawsuit if a boat operator’s negligence caused the incident. Just like any other personal injury claim, the injured plaintiff must prove that the defendant was negligent in some way and then demonstrate that the defendant’s negligence directly caused the plaintiff’s damages.
Common Boating Accidents
Most boating accidents that lead to personal injury lawsuits involve boats colliding with other boats or watercraft or boats striking swimmers nearby. Boating accidents can also happen when a boater hits another boat’s wake (the waves created behind the boat as it moves through the water).
Striking a wake can cause a boat and its passengers to fall and strike the inside of their vessel. If a boat operator fails to warn his or her passengers of an upcoming wake, he or she may incur liability for any injuries that result from hitting the wake. In some cases, the boat operator who created the wake may face liability for negligence as well, especially if the incident occurred in a no-wake zone like a marina or harbor.
It’s crucial for boat owners and operators to follow the posted notices and signals in heavily trafficked water. Not only can failing to adhere to posted boating rules lead to legal penalties, but it is also incredibly dangerous. A boat that travels into populated waters or moves too quickly through unfamiliar waters could strike submerged objects or debris. In these cases, the boat operator could face liability if any passengers suffer injuries.
Boat owners must also ensure that they have the appropriate safety equipment onboard their vessels, including fire extinguishers, life jackets, flares, and first aid supplies. Failing to have these onboard will likely mean that the boat owner will face liability if any passengers sustain injuries. Finally, it’s imperative that anyone piloting a watercraft in any area where other people are swimming use extreme caution.
It’s very difficult to spot a swimmer’s head bobbing above the water, and a boat could collide with a swimmer and knock him or her unconscious. Not only can this cause serious injuries, but the likelihood of a knocked-out swimmer slipping beneath the waves and drowning is quite high. A boat operator who unintentionally kills a swimmer could face liability in a wrongful death claim or even criminal negligence charges.
Building a Lawsuit
If you have suffered injuries or other damages in a boating accident, it’s important to know your options. Depending on the nature of your accident, your case could be a personal injury claim against a negligent boat operator, a product liability claim against a defective product manufacturer, or multiple claims involving several parties. Additionally, depending on where the incident took place, your case may fall under maritime law.
Boating accidents can cause significant injury and property damage, so don’t hire just anyone to represent your boating accident case. Plaintiffs injured in boating accidents can recover compensation for their medical expenses, pain and suffering, property damage, and any lost income from missed time at work due to their injuries. The right attorney can help an injured plaintiff compile the evidence necessary for a winning claim and navigate the complex litigation process.
The team at Bode & Collins believes in individualized legal representation for every one of our clients. We take the time to get to know every person we represent on a personal level, so our clients can enjoy the close feeling of a smaller firm with the resources and experience of a larger corporation. Boating accidents can be complex. Let the attorneys at Bode & Collins handle your boating accident case in Scottsdale or anywhere else in Arizona, allowing you to focus on your recovery.