According to the US Coast Guard, a boat accident occurs when a boat is damaged, a passenger or passengers get severely injured, a passenger disappears, or when there’s a boating death.

As a result, boating accidents aren’t limited to boat collisions but include any situation where a person is injured or killed by a boat. 

How do boating accidents usually happen?

Here are three causes of boating accidents:

  • Over 30% of boating accidents occur due to drivers under the influence of alcohol. 
  • Severe weather conditions like rainstorms, thunderstorms, and strong winds can hinder the driver’s ability to navigate the vessel properly and avoid a boat collision. Moreover, lighting can harm passengers and damage the boat and its equipment.
  • Boat engines produce toxic carbon monoxide. When people are exposed to high concentrations of this gas, they can become seriously injured.

Unlike car accidents, boating accidents are less common and not many people know what steps to take once there’s an accident.

Here are three steps you should take right after a boating incident:

Accident Liability

If a person acted negligently and caused the boating accident, they are at fault and will face legal charges.

A person is considered to have acted negligently if they didn’t conduct themselves in a reasonable manner. This includes adhering to safety precautions, being mindful of the passengers onboard and other boaters, paying attention to the weather and avoiding alcohol while driving the boat.

Boating accidents can lead to both civil and criminal liabilities. For example, the injured parties in the accident can sue the driver for medical expenses and property damage. Moreover, courts and the state can bring on criminal charges if the boater caused the accident while they were under the influence of alcohol.

Accident Reports

What type of report must be filed if there is an accident while boating?

When a boating accident results in significant personal injury or property damage, the boat driver must file an accident report.

However, in some cases, accidents aren’t appropriately reported, so you’ll need to contact the local authorities and ensure the accident report is accurate. This way, you can establish a solid case against the responsible party. 

How quickly must you file a boating accident report?

If an accident results in significant personal injuries or a boating accident death, the report must be filed immediately to properly document the incident.

The boating accident report must be submitted to the applicable state agency regulating boats, the US Coast Guard, or both. However, you’ll need to submit it to the local police authority in some cases.

Insurance

Boat insurance is required in some states; as a result, it’s a good idea to find out if the boat owner has insurance. Once you have this information, it’ll be easier to sort out settlements and judgments against the boat owner.

If the boat owner wasn’t driving the boat, you’d need to contact the person operating the vessel and find out if they have insurance. 

If you or someone you know has been injured in a catastrophic accident, you’ll need experienced legal counsel to battle against insurance companies and corporations. 

Fortunately, at Mausner Graham Injury Law, we go above and beyond for our clients to make sure they receive proper attention and recover the maximum compensation that they deserve. 

Contact us today to learn more about what you should do after a boat accident and get a free case evaluation.