Picture this scenario. It is your first time to ride a boat, and you are excited about it. You set sail with your friends and the captain of the boat. You are enjoying the view and breathing in the salty air when you hear a crash, and you are thrown overboard. Your boat hit another boat, and the impact was so great that all passengers were tossed into the water. Luckily, you have a life vest on. However, the boat is not so lucky because it is already overturned.
Boating accidents happen because of several reasons. The driver may be inexperienced or intoxicated. There may also be an instance where the driver is operating the boat recklessly. Regardless of the reason behind the boat accident, victims, especially an innocent passenger, can file a claim against the negligent party.
Legal Things to Do When Involved in a Boat Accident
According to the United States Coast Guard, approximately 4,000 boating accidents were reported in 2016. These accidents happened within American waters. It may be thrilling to experience riding a boat, but if you are involved in a boat accident, you should consider the following.
- Ensure that everyone is safe. If the boat is not overturned, the driver must quickly drive it away from anything that might cause further harm. However, if the passengers are overboard, everyone must ensure that each of the passengers are rescued, conscious and alive. If you notice someone who needs help, you need to work together with the boat captain and the other passengers to save that person.
- Call for medical help. If you are already in the water, you may find it difficult to call for help. If the boat is still functioning, you can use the radio or your mobile device to ask for help. However, if the boat is destroyed, you must grab onto any debris and signal for help. It is crucial to seek medical attention immediately because you may suffer from conditions such as concussions or hypothermia.
- Gather evidence. Once you are rescued from harm’s way, you can gather evidence about the boating incident. You can collect the other passengers’ statements, contact details, and photographs of the scene. You have to get the contact information of the boat operators, the other boating party, the passengers, and people who are able to witness the accident so you can contact them immediately when needed. If the other party asks for your contact information, you must share it with them.
- Contact your lawyer. If you sustained injuries because of a boating accident and it is the fault of the captain or driver of the boat, you may file a claim against him or her. However, before you proceed with your claim, you must contact your lawyer. An experienced attorney can help you in making your claim by providing you with the documents and the legal steps you should take to prepare for your case.
In our scenario, your fun-filled day on the water turned out to be a traumatic event. You may suffer physical or emotional injuries after being involved in a boating accident, which is why you need to make the person responsible for the accident pay for his or her negligence. You may click here to learn more about how to file a claim when involved in a boat accident.