After being cooped up for more than a year, millions of Americans will be enjoying some time on the water this summer—especially in a state like Massachusetts with so many nearby lakes and ocean beaches. But a higher number of people on the water leads to a higher probability of collisions. We can help you determine the compensation you’re entitled to for injuries related to boating accidents.
Boating Safety and Risks
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, there were more than 4,000 boating accidents in 2017, resulting in 658 deaths and more than 2,500 injuries. More than 75% of the deaths were due to drowning and the vast majority of the time the victims were not wearing a life jacket.
Before you set out, always:
- Be prepared with proper equipment including life jackets, a radio and tool and first aid kits
- Become knowledgeable with boating safety, laws and the local “rules of the road”
- Exercise good judgment and common sense: never drink and drive
Who is Liable?
Despite precautions, boating injuries will happen, and when they do, the injured party has the right to file financial claims if the accident was due to someone else’s negligence. That means if the injury was due to your own negligence, you will not have a claim.
Unfortunately, liability isn’t always cut-and-dried for an accident on the water. Several parties can be held accountable, including the boat’s owner and operator, as well as passengers, the boat manufacturer, the rental company or a combination of each.
Here are some situations in which parties may share the responsibility:
- Owner: knowingly let an unqualified operator use the boat
- Operator: failed to provide reasonable safety, was reckless or inebriated
- Passenger: prevented operator from driving responsibly
- Manufacturer: created a product with a defect that led to the accident
- Rental company: didn’t properly maintain the boat, which led to the accident
As with every personal injury claim, you may be entitled to three types of damages:
- Economic: medical expenses, lost wages and out-of-pocket expenses
- Non-economic: compensation for pain and suffering and quality-of-life issues
- Punitive: awarded to the victim to punish egregious offenders
Remember to stay safe on the water this summer, but give us a call if you’ve been injured in a boating-related accident. We can help ensure you get the compensation to which you’re entitled.