Who is Liable After a Recreational Boating Accident

As the summer months get closer, the waterways are going to start getting busier.  Lakes and  rivers will become crowded with recreational boaters, as summer quickly approaches in Florida. Lots of people will head to the waterways to have fun in the sun and cool off.

With these crowded waterways, the risk of accidents increases significantly.  Recreational boating accidents occur more often than most people realize and the main cause of these accidents include:

  • Operator inattention
  • Operator inexperience
  • Operating a boat under dangerous conditions
  • Boating under the influence
  • Improper lookouts

The following information explains recreational boat accidents and liability.

Negligence - General Rule

When a boating accident occurs, some tricky legal issues can arise.  If you are injured while on a sailboat or motorboat, you will have to prove your injuries are a result of someone's negligence before you can receive compensation.  Injuries alone do not prove someone was negligent.  Negligence under the law means someone failed to act with reasonable care.  Talk to the attorneys at Batts-Daniels Law about how negligence can be proven in your case.

How a Negligence Claim Works

There are many types of boating accidents; however, the following are most common:

  • Hitting another boat 
    • If you are injured while on a sailboat or motorboat, you will have to prove your injuries are a result of someone's negligence before you can receive compensation from the responsible party.  Suffering injuries does not prove someone was negligent. Negligence under the law means someone failed to act with reasonable care.  Talk to the lawyers at Batts-Daniels Law about how negligence can be proven in your case.
  • Hitting another boat's wake 
    • When a boat hits the wake of another boater, it can jolt passengers and even throw them out of their seats or the boat entirely.  Legal liability for accidents occurring due to hitting a wake is not always legally clear.  The operator's liability when hitting another boat's wake depends on circumstances such as:
      • Whether or not the operator issued a warning in advance to their passengers
      • Whether the injured person was on a sailboat or motorboat
      • Boat traffic in the area
      • The degree of visibility at the time of the impact
      • How large the wake was
      • The speed they were traveling upon impact
      • The operator of the boat which created the wake could also be negligent depending on the boating traffic or if the wake violated boating safety.
  • Your boat hits a wave
    • When a boat hits a wave, it is similar to a wake accident except there is no other boat to hold responsible. 
  • Your boat runs into a submerged object, such as an island, rock, or tree branch
    • Even under ideal boating conditions, it is possible to hit a submerged object.  In poor weather conditions, these accidents are more of a risk.  When a boat hits a submerged object, liability depends on certain circumstances:
      • Whether or not there were nautical charts for the area and if they were being used
      • The speed of the boat at the time of impact
      • The weather conditions occurring and if the operator went out regardless of warnings

Who Can Help You With a Personal Injury or Wrongful Death Boating Accident Lawsuit

There is not any compensation that will replace a loved one lost in a wrongful death accident. But if the death was a result of someone's negligence, Batts-Daniels Law can help you get the justice you deserve.  Whether injured in a boating accident, or if the accident resulted in the wrongful death of someone you love, you need Batts-Daniels Law on your side.  We understand how difficult this time is for you, and will help you understand the process and guide you through the best decisions.  Contact us today and learn how Batts-Daniel Law can help you get through a wrongful death or personal injury lawsuit.

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