A boating accident can be a terrifying experience because the potential for severe injuries and drowning is very real. It’s easy to panic, but in a boating accident, staying calm is key. Knowing what to do after a boating accident can help keep everyone safe, and it can also help with a potential boating accident claim.
Common Causes of Boat Accidents
According to recent statistics, the most common reasons for recreational boat accidents include:
- Improper lookout
- Machinery failure
- Operator inexperience or inattention
- Operating under the influence
Nearly half of all boating accidents involve drugs or alcohol. Boating accidents can result in serious injuries, including brain trauma, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and even death.
What to Do After a Boating Accident
The most important thing to do after any accident is to check all parties for injuries. If anyone is injured, call the authorities for professional medical treatment immediately. You might also want to tend to minor injuries yourself while you wait for the medical team.
There is always a danger of falling into the water after a boating accident, and it's best to avoid jumping in after someone. Instead, throw some type of flotation device to the person in the water. If you find that you must jump in after them, be sure you are wearing a life jacket.
Gathering Information About the Boating Accident
Once you and your passengers are safely back on dry land, you will have to report the details of the accident to the authorities. People who fail to report a boating accident with significant damage, injuries, loss of life, or disappearance could face criminal charges.
Gather as much information as you can beforehand, including:
- Contact information of all boat operators and passengers involved
- Contact information of any eyewitnesses to the accident
- Insurance details of the boat operators and other involved parties
- License or ID numbers of all vessels involved
It’s also a good idea to take pictures of any damage to the vessels, as well as any injuries suffered by crew and passengers. Photos taken at the scene of the accident will be crucial to investigators, especially if the boat operator who caused the crash is found to be negligent.
Just like with any other accident, it’s crucial that you seek medical treatment for your injuries. Sometimes it takes a while before you start feeling your injuries, and this can work against you when it comes to dealing with insurance companies. They will ty to make the argument that your injuries are not serious.
Do not talk about the accident, and do not speak to any insurance company other than your own after the accident. You should also not sign any paperwork or allow a recorded statement without an attorney present.
Contact a Boating Accident Attorney
If the other boat operator was at fault, you can take legal action for damages. Some insurance companies may try to rush the case and give you compensation that may not be appropriate or fair. Their goal is always to pay out as little as possible.
You’ll need to work with an experienced boat accident attorney to assess the damage and determine the best possible compensation amount. It helps to have someone who understands both state and international maritime laws by your side. Your attorney can handle settlement negotiations and investigations into the crash. Make sure the attorney you hire handles personal injury cases and has experience with boating accident cases.
A lawyer can help you get appropriate compensation for your losses such as lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and medical bills. To learn more, contact the boating accident attorneys of Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC by using the form on this page.