Boating is considered the best option for people who love to have fun and spend time on the water. Unfortunately, the good times are sometimes accompanied by accidents. Yes, we are talking about boating accidents that are usually caused due to negligence of the operator or some unavoidable circumstances.  

This post shares information on boating accidents and what steps people should take after getting involved in an accident.  

What is a boating accident? 

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, a boating accident is any circumstance in which substantial property damage or someone is hurt or goes missing while on a boat. Boats colliding with one another or other objects, as well as someone being thrown overboard or killed, are all examples of boating accidents. 

Being on the water, most people never think that things may go wrong in multiple ways. They can slip and fall on the deck or get thrown overboard.  

These are the most common causes of boat accidents on lakes and waterways: 

Slippery deck of the 

Improper maintenance 

Passengers not following the safety rules 

Lack of safety gear  

High Speed  

Rash driving by the operator 

Collision with another boat or an underwater object 

Driver consumed alcohol or drugs 

Technical fault

Poor vision on the water 

Cruising or Drifting  

When anyone is involved in a boat accident, the victim can claim against the responsible party to get compensation for their injuries, such as lost wages, property damage, medical bills, punitive damage, and so on. To file a claim, the victim should take some immediate steps. Regarding boat accidents, there are three steps to follow – Safety, Documentation, and Follow up. 

Safety First 

Your priority should be keeping everyone safe. So the first step is ensuring everyone is safe on the boat. 

Count the people on the boat 

If the boat is afloat and intact, ensure everyone is still on the boat and if someone has fallen overboard, look for a way to get them back on the boat.  

First Aid 

Call the emergency services immediately if anyone is injured. Another task is to call for medical help to treat injured people on the boat. Once you contact the emergency services, make sure that everybody follows the instructions of the emergency care team.  

Move the boat to a safe spot

If your boat is in a high-traffic area, you should try to get your boat to a safe spot away from marine traffic.  

Don’t leave the accident scene

Wait to leave the accident spot until you are sure everyone is fine and injured people get the necessary medical care. Even if everyone on the boat feels fine, injuries may not be visible initially. Therefore, getting a medical checkup of every person on the boat is important.  

Call the Police 

Once you ensure that everyone on the boat is safe, you should report the boat accident to the police. A police report will help you prove the accident’s facts while applying for insurance claims and legal help. In addition, the local police will note the number of fatalities, injuries, and missing persons and the extent of damage caused to the boat. All these things will help you get legal help when trying to get compensation for boat damage and injuries caused to you.  

Collect the evidence  

Finding evidence of accidents on the water can be more challenging after some time has passed since, unlike in a car accident, the water’s surface does not maintain evidence.  

At the boat accident scene, you should collect the following details: 

Registration numbers for vessels 

Information about operators’ insurance 

Name, address, and phone number of the boat captain, owner, passengers, and witnesses 

Images and video of the scene, the boats, the wounded, and the damage (including minor injuries, like scratches or bruises) 

Contact the Coast Guard 

The next step is to report the accident and request assistance from the Coast Guard. For the Coast Guard to determine what resources are required, they will need to know where you are and how serious the accident is. Communicate with them clearly and provide as much information as possible so they can give you the help you require. It’s crucial to remain in the same spot after speaking with the Coast Guard so they can easily locate you. 

The Coast Guard will ensure that everyone is safe and the injured people have received medical treatment, and then they need to take the boat to the nearest safe spot. Once the boat reaches the nearest spot on land, there are some other important steps to follow.  

Inform your insurance company 

Making a claim should be simple if you have boat insurance. However, it won’t harm you to try because there’s always a chance you’ll get compensated for any damages. In that case, you can file a lawsuit in court or negotiate with the insurance company of the party at fault to receive compensation for your suffering (assuming they have insurance that covers boating accidents).  

In Tampa, boat owners are not required to get boat insurance, unlike auto insurance. Although many of these plans don’t cover liability, some people’s home insurance may cover damage to their boats. In most cases, separate boat coverage is required to pay for medical expenses, property damage, or accidents to third parties following an accident.

Find a Boat Accident Lawyer

If another party is involved, a lawsuit is always a possibility. Finding someone to support your case could save you a lot of trouble and help you get fair compensation. The longer you delay the case, the more likely it is that crucial details will be forgotten, deadlines will be missed, or you’ll unwittingly give up legal rights. 

You should show that someone acted recklessly and that carelessness led to the accident to succeed in a civil lawsuit following a boating accident. As a result, the responsible party (or their insurance provider) is accountable for any harm caused. However, it is challenging to demonstrate negligence; thus, we do not advise you to do it on your own. 

However, whenever you are involved in a boating accident, ensure you follow the above steps and contact a boating accident lawyer as soon as possible. Consulting an experienced boat accident firm like Coleman Law Group can communicate with the insurance company and fulfill the legal formalities to help you get the necessary compensation for your injuries. 

The Coleman Law Group 

Our knowledgeable and experienced boating accident lawyer in Tampa is well-versed in all federal and state legislation concerning boat accidents. In addition, the Coleman Law Group lawyers will investigate your case details and put in the required effort for your case.  

Legal issues concerning maritime rules and regulations can complicate personal injury cases. All the maritime laws and rules also need to be considered while applying for personal injury claims in a boat accident. To make your case simple and easy, you can contact us for a free consultation.  

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