Water activities, including sailing and boating, are an exciting experience, but you should know that at times accidents happen. Luckily, if you are injured on a boat, you can claim compensation. Just like you do in a car accident, you are entitled to damages if the boater acted negligently leading to your injuries. The damages that you can get include medical expenses, lost earnings, pain, and suffering. However, there are some sticking legal issues related to personal injury claims that arise from boating accidents. For instance, proving negligence and liability when the accident was a result of natural phenomena like waves can be a problem. Read on to learn what you need to know when handling a boat accident claim.
What You Need To Know When Handling A Boat Accident Claim
If you are involved in a boat accident and you are lucky to survive, you should immediately get medical attention when you get to the shore. You should call an ambulance or tell someone to do that for you. The doctor will examine your injuries and write a medical report that you will use in your compensation claim or personal injury lawsuit. Insurance companies mainly rely on medical reports to determine the benefits you can get if you are injured in an accident.
To recover damages from the boater after an accident, you must prove that they acted negligently. In this case, negligence means that the driver of the boat failed to act with reasonable care. However, when you are hurt, it may not mean that the driver was negligent. There are different types of pleasure boat accidents that include the following:
- The boat hits a wave/wake
- Your boat hits another vessel
- The boat hits a submerged obstacle.
In the case of a collision between two-speed boats, both operators can be held liable for failing to take due diligence. Other factors that can help you prove negligence that includes:
- Operator inattention or distracted driving using a phone
- Lack of experience
- Influence of alcohol or drugs
- Excessive speed
- Equipment failure
If you can prove any of these elements, you can file a compensation claim from the owner of the boat which has been involved in an accident.
Consult Your Injury Lawyer
Proving negligence in a boating accident is not an easy feat as other people may want to imagine. Therefore, it is vital to enlist the services of a specialized accident attorney to handle your case. As explained by Missouri-based attorneys at Bradley Law Firm, accident lawyers will first conduct a thorough investigation of your case to get all the necessary details to support your claim. The attorneys also apply relevant laws to build your case and determine the compensation that you can get.
When you engage a reputable law firm, you will not pay any upfront legal fees or other out of pocket expenses. Most attorneys rely on contingency fees they recover from the settlement you get when they win your case. The contingency fees charged by different lawyers depend on the case and jurisdiction. Your injury lawyers can also take up your case for trial at the court of law to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.
You need to collect good evidence to support your injury claim to increase your chances of winning. Take pictures of the boat, damages caused by the crash, bloodstains, and anything relevant. You should also write a report detailing everything you remember about the accident. Try to get details from the other passengers on the same boat that has been involved in an accident. On top of that, you should have your medical records to prove your injuries.
How Insurance Coverage Affects Boating Accidents
In some cases, other boat operators might not have boating insurance. Such individuals may use homeowners’ insurance to provide coverage to the passengers. However, if the boater has no such insurance or assets, you may not be able to recover any damages from that person. However, most boat owners who often carry passengers have separate boat liability policies to provide coverage to the passengers in case of accidents.
When the boat owner has insurance, you can file a compensation claim for your injuries. In other jurisdictions, you may not get full compensation if you also contribute to the accident. You should also know that boating accidents may be covered by your state’s federal maritime laws.
Going on a boat ride is exciting, but you should know that you can get injured in accidents. Just like an auto accident claim, you would be entitled to get compensation if you are injured as a result of the boat operators’ negligent behavior. To get the settlement you deserve, you must prove negligence. If you are not sure how to handle a boat accident claim, you should contact your personal injury lawyer. You also need to collect all the evidence that can help support your case.