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Sandy Springs Boat Accident Lawyer
Boating around the beautiful lakes in Georgia is supposed to be an enjoyable experience. Unfortunately, boating accidents cause thousands of injuries and hundreds of deaths every year. Boat operators acting negligently can cause their passengers and other boaters serious injuries.
If you’ve sustained a boating injury following an accident, the Sandy Springs boat accident attorneys from Ashenden & Associates, P.C. are here to help. The injuries that boat accident victims suffer can often be severe and require numerous medical treatments, resulting in missed work. Our personal injury attorneys will work with you to recover maximum compensation for your injuries, including medical expenses and lost wages.
When you’re looking for a knowledgeable law firm in Sandy Springs with experience handling boating accident cases, look no further than Ashenden & Associates, P.C. To schedule a free initial consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys, call 770-394-8909 today.
How Common Are Boat Accidents in the United States?
Boating accidents are extremely common in the United States. Since many boaters are on the waters for fun, they often engage in alcohol and reckless activities that can lead to accidents. The U.S. Coast Guard reported that in 2022, there were 636 boating fatalities nationwide. While this number may seem high, this number is lower than 2021, which had 658 deaths.
In the Coast Guard’s 2022 report, the total number of accidents in 2022 was 4,040. Of those accidents, over 2,200 were injured, and 636 were killed. In cases where the person’s cause of death was known, 75% of the fatalities were by drowning. Around 85% of those drowning victims were not wearing life jackets.
Boating accidents can occur on any type of vessel. The most common, however, are personal watercraft, open motorboats, and cabin motorboats. The vessels with the highest fatalities were open motorboats, with 47%. However, it’s important to practice boating safety on whatever type of vessel you’re on.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Boating Accidents?
According to the same report, the Coast Guard listed the top contributing factors that led to boating accidents that year. The top five were:
- Operator inattention – 602 accidents
- Operator inexperience – 464 accidents
- Improper lookout – 387 accidents
- Excessive speed – 320 accidents
- Machinery failure – 289 accidents
Much like when a person is driving a vehicle, the person driving a vessel is responsible for paying attention and keeping everyone onboard safe. They can collide with other boats, swimmers, or kayakers when they’re not paying attention. In many cases, alcohol is a leading contributing factor to operator inattention. They’re also responsible for ensuring that the boat is equipped with the proper safety equipment and that everyone knows how to use it in the event of a boat crash.
Operator inexperience is exactly how it sounds. The boat driver doesn’t have enough experience to avoid a boating accident. Driving a boat requires much attention to detail as many hazards can be unseen underwater. Experienced boat operators know what signs to look out for to keep their passengers safe and avoid boating accidents.
Since bodies of water are so vast, it often takes another person to help the boat operator look for dangers. If the person acting as a lookout doesn’t notice a hazard, they can contribute to causing a boating accident. When boat operators are intoxicated or not paying attention, they may not notice the speed they’re traveling, which can make avoiding an accident extremely difficult.
The other contributing factors that were listed in the Coast Guard’s list were weather, alcohol, navigation violations, hazardous waters, and the force of wakes or waves.
Common Boat Accident Injuries
Boat operators have a big responsibility, and when they’re intoxicated or otherwise distracted, the results can be disastrous. The most common boating injuries are:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Severe lacerations
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
If you were involved in a boating accident that resulted in injuries, you may have grounds to pursue legal action if the boat operator was acting negligently. To learn more about boating accident claims, contact a boating accident lawyer at Ashenden & Associates, P.C. today.
Can You Sue for a Boating Accident?
Passengers involved in boating accidents can sue if the accident was caused by negligence. If the accident resulted in injuries, property damage, or death, victims could pursue legal action against the negligent party or the boat manufacturer if the accident was due to machinery failure.
The Sandy Springs boating accident attorneys at Ashenden & Associates, P.C., have handled various boating accident cases throughout the area. Whether you’re suing a negligent boat operator or boating company, an experienced boat accident attorney will work with you to recover maximum compensation for your injuries.
Proving Negligence in a Boating Accident Case
Like every personal injury case, proving negligence is crucial to a successful outcome. Our boating accident attorneys will work diligently to gather evidence and prove that negligence occurred. The four elements of negligence are as follows:
- Duty of Care: The boat operator and passengers owe one another a duty of care. This means paying attention, avoiding alcohol while driving, and looking for hazards. Passengers also owe it to each other to avoid reckless actions that can put others in danger. Boat manufacturers and others responsible for providing safe vessels also have a duty of care that they owe to those operating them.
- Breached Duty of Care: When people act irresponsibly or recklessly on a boat, they have violated that duty of care. In the case of manufacturers, if they design and sell a boat they know is unsafe, they have breached their duty of care.
- Causation: The causation element of negligence is proving that the boating accidents and injuries were a direct cause of that reckless behavior.
- Damages: Finally, your boating accident lawyer will show that you suffered financial losses from lost wages, medical expenses, and more due to the negligent actions and accident.
Possible Liable Parties in a Boat Accident
What led to the boat crash will determine who can be held liable for damages. If the boat operator acted recklessly, they may be held responsible for damages. If the driver hit a rock, ignored safety precautions, was speeding, or drove recklessly into a wave or wake, these actions can prove negligence.
The boating manufacturer can be liable when malfunctioning parts or other manufacturer errors cause boating accidents. If the boat is not in adequate condition to run and is not caused by malfunctioning parts, the owner or owners can be held responsible. For example, if a party rents a boat from a company that hasn’t been properly serviced, it can lead to boating injuries. The company can also be held liable if they release the boat to someone underage or intoxicated.
If the accident involves multiple boats, the party responsible for the accident will be liable for damages. The responsible party can either be one boat operator or both.
When Should You Report a Boat Accident in Georgia?
After a boating accident, it can be a chaotic scene. It’s essential to remain calm and treat the accident similarly to a car accident. If you’ve been in an accident, performing the following steps is important.
- Stop the Boat: The boat operator needs to stop the boat where the accident occurred. If more than one vessel is involved, they all need to stop.
- Collect Information: The boat operator needs to collect the information of all passengers and other operators involved in the boating accident. They should collect their names, addresses, insurance information, and boat identification information.
- Report: If the boating accident led to severe injuries, the death or disappearance of someone, or the property damage exceeds $2,000, the accident must be reported as soon as possible or within 48 hours to law enforcement and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), according to Georgia Code 52-7-14. If the accident is not serious, the report can be made within a five-day window.
How to Report a Boat Accident in Georgia
After evaluating everyone’s injuries and ensuring they’re safe, the boat operator needs to begin the boating accident reporting process. The Boating Accident Report can be found on the Georgia Department of Natural Resources website. In some cases, you may need to go to the DNR office or law enforcement agency to file the report.
You’ll then be prompted to complete the required forms detailing the boating accident. The form will ask for the incident’s date, time, location, everyone involved, and what happened. In addition to the report, you’ll need to provide your identification, boat registration information, witness statements, and any other relevant evidence, like photos or videos.
The accident report must be submitted quickly, within five days of the accident or five days following death or serious injuries caused by the accident.
Damages for Boating Accident Claims
Your Sandy Springs boating accident lawyers from Ashenden & Associates P.C. will work to recover the following damages for your boating accident injuries:
- Medical bills, both past and future
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Physical therapy
- Property damages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Funeral and burial costs if the boating accident resulted in wrongful death
If your loved one was killed as a result of a boating accident, the compassionate personal injury attorneys at Ashenden & Associates P.C. can help you navigate the legal proceedings of a wrongful death claim.
Call Sandy Springs Boating Accident Lawyers at Ashenden & Associates Today
With all the beautiful lakes throughout Georgia, boating accidents are bound to happen. Injuries caused by boating accidents can often be serious and require extensive medical treatments and recovery times. If you’ve sustained a boating accident injury, contact the personal injury attorneys at Ashenden & Associates, P.C.
The Sandy Springs boating accident attorneys have experience handling jet ski accidents, cruise ship accidents, and other maritime accidents. Our goal is to fight for our clients’ rights and to recover compensation for their injuries. You can count on our law firm to be by your side throughout the entire boating accident claim process.
To schedule a free consultation with a boating accident attorney, call Ashenden & Associates, P.C., at 770-394-8909 today.