With Memorial Day weekend behind us, the unofficial start to summer is here! As the weather heats up, more people in the Utica and Syracuse areas are taking part in fun activities outdoors such as boating. Recreational boating is a $2 billion industry for New York State enjoyed by millions of residents and visitors. At about 450,000 registered powerboats, New York is ninth in the United States for the amount of registered boats. Unfortunately, an increase in boat traffic also means an increase in boating accidents. We discussed how to avoid a boating accident in a recent blog post, however, if you are a victim, there are a few important things to remember.
What To Gather After A Boating Accident
Immediately following a boating accident, make sure everyone involved is unharmed. That is the top priority. If anyone is in the water, help them back onto the boat. If this is not possible, make sure they have a life jacket. Begin first aid if needed. If everyone is okay on your vessel, check with other boats involved to see if they need any help. After everyone is safe and accounted for, stay put. Contact authorities for further assistance. Then proceed to do the following…
- Take photos of the scene of the incident.
- Document the damage of the boat, the area where the crash occurred, the injuries sustained, and anything that may help determine liability of the accident.
- Record if there was proper safety equipment on the vessel? (This may be important to your case.)
If a boating accident occurs with another party, you will need to exchange contact and insurance information. Be sure to write down each other’s full names, cell phone number, home phone number, address, and insurance information. This will make it easier when contacting your boat insurance company down the road. Be sure to also collect information from witnesses who may be able to provide insight on the accident.
Filing a Boating Accident Report
After an accident, you may need to file a boating accident report. A formal report is required if:
- A life is lost in the accident
- There are injuries that require medical treatment beyond first aid
- There is damage to the boat that exceeds $1000
- A person disappears, hinting at loss of life or injury
In New York, the boating accident report must be filed within five days of the incident. Injuries or case of death must be reported to the police immediately and to OPRHP within 48 hours. The report can be found here on Parks.NY.Gov.
Who is Liable in a Boating Accident?
There are numerous factors to consider regarding who is at fault in a boating accident.
In a collision between two boats, an operator is at fault if he or she could have done something to prevent an accident or broke a boating safety rule.
In a wake accident, the operator is usually liable for a boating crash. This particular incident depends on a range of variables including the size of the wake, visibility, the boat’s speed, any other boat traffic at the area of the accident, and if the operator warned passengers of the vessel approaching a large wake. The operator of the boat that created the wake could also be found negligent, especially in a no wake zone. Boating accidents caused by hitting a wave may have similar liable circumstances.
Even in the best weather and visibility, a boating collision with a submerged object like a large rock or even land can occur. If the operator has nautical charts of the area and is driving cautiously, he or she will most likely not be found negligent. However, if the operator is driving the boat recklessly, they could be liable based on their negligence in the operation of the boat.
In the event there is no safety equipment on board, the boat’s owner may be held liable. Even the smallest boats have safety regulations that require equipment such as life jackets, life rings, flares, or whistles. Boating injuries caused by lack of safety equipment may be the boat owners’ fault.
Speak to a Boating Accident Lawyer About an Injury Claim
Boating should be a fun and safe summer activity. Another individual’s negligent behavior should not get in the way of our community’s well-being. For those who have suffered from a boating injury, speaking to a personal injury lawyer may be their only hope for paying medical expenses or recovering lost wages. For the more unfortunate, a wrongful death lawsuit may cover the cost of funeral expenses, as well as other economic losses to the family as a result of the loss of their loved one. Victims deserve answers and a boat injury lawyer will be able to help.
If you or a loved one has suffered from injuries acquired during a boating accident, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. By contacting experienced boating accident lawyer, Brindisi, Murad, Brindisi & Pearlman, you are gaining an ally willing to fight against another’s negligence to give you what you deserve. Contact The People’s Lawyer for a free consultation today.
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