Understanding Boating Injury Lawsuits in New York

Sakkas Cahn & Weiss

New York has worked hard to keep boating a safe and fun experience. Nevertheless, boating accidents continue to happen.

These accidents include both head-on collisions between boats and other sorts of accidents. Most accidents involve drowning.

What causes boating accidents?

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Alcohol and drug use accounts for 21.8% of all boating accidents. Collisions and fires also account for a large percentage of boating accidents. This includes both collisions with fixed objects and collisions with floating objects. Excessive speed or taking the boat out into hazardous waters also account for their fair share of accidents, as does distracted boating.

We’ve also seen plenty of boating accidents that have arisen because boaters took vessels out onto the water that weren’t seaworthy or that had not received routine inspections or maintenance. Common monoxide or fume-related injuries account for another portion of boating injuries and deaths.

Sometimes, a capsizing, non-motorized boat can create an accident: victims die of hypothermia because the water is too cold or drown because they weren’t wearing a lifejacket.

When must you report a boating accident?

You must report a boating accident when one of the following is true:

  • Someone has died or disappeared.
  • Someone has sustained an injury requiring more than basic first aid.
  • The total property damage to any one party exceeds $1000.

As most people can’t assess the true state of property damage on sight, it’s usually best to report most accidents whenever the damage looks anything other than minor. You may assume the damage is less than $1000, only to discover it was three times that.

What should you do after a boating accident?

Take the following steps.

  1. See as many people to safety as possible.
  2. Keep the boat out of additional harm’s way.
  3. Provide basic first aid and call for medical attention if necessary.
  4. Collect contact information for everyone involved.
  5. Photograph the scene, though not the injured parties other than yourself.
  6. Ask if anyone has photos or videos of the boating accident, and ask for copies.
  7. If anyone is missing, dead, or requires medical attention other than basic first aid, you should call the police.
  8. Write down the boat’s registration number, and get a copy of the owner’s insurance policy number.

Call a lawyer as soon as you’re medically capable of doing so. If the accident was reportable, there’s a good chance you will need a lawyer’s help to hold negligent parties accountable and obtain compensation.

How long do I have to pursue a boating accident claim?

New York has a three-year statute of limitation on boating accident claims. There is little profit in waiting that long.

The sooner you involve a lawyer, the sooner the lawyer can get their investigative team on the case. Filing your claim sooner means getting paid sooner.

Involving a lawyer early also protects you when insurance adjusters start calling. You can tell the adjusters to speak to us rather than to you. This ensures they cannot trick you into making major mistakes that could harm your boating accident case. Remember: adjusters are not your friends. Their whole job is to minimize the amount of money that insurance companies pay you.

Finally, you want to involve a lawyer early because they can file the claim in the first place. A boating accident isn’t like a car accident. There could be other parties or issues involved. In certain cases, it can be very difficult for a person to file a boating claim directly.

We recommend calling a personal injury lawyer as soon as you’re medically capable of doing so.

Who is responsible for boating accidents?

Multiple parties may be responsible for a boating accident. The most common parties are:

  1. The owner of the boat.
  2. The operator of the boat.
  3. Passengers who acted negligently enough to cause the accident.
  4. The manufacturer of the boat.
  5. A marina, harbor, or other facility owner.
  6. Boat tour operators.

As your New York personal injury attorneys, we would be working to find every responsible party so that we might hold them accountable for your accident or for your loved one’s death. Much will depend on the specific facts of your case, what went wrong, and who acted negligently enough to make the circumstances of the accident possible.

Get Help Today

While we hope most people stay safe out on the water, we know that’s not the case for all boaters. Sometimes, people forget that waterways can be just as dangerous as highways.

If you’ve been injured in a boating accident or have lost a loved one to a boating accident, don’t hesitate to call us. We can help you obtain compensation for your losses.

Schedule your risk-free consultation today.

See also:

New York State Passes Stricter Drunk Driving and Boating Legislation

A Wrongful Death Suit is Not About Putting a Price on a Life

Understanding a Wrongful Death Action

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