A fun day out on a boat can turn into a nightmare in the event of an accident. Boating accidents can cause more than property damage—they can also be responsible for injuries. And if you’ve been out on a pleasure boat on a day that ended in disaster, you might be wondering what your next steps are. Who is liable for the accident?
As with any motor vehicle accident, there are many factors that come into consideration when establishing fault. Here we will touch on just a few of the most common ones. If you have further questions or require clarification, reach out to a boating accident attorney.
Collision with Another Boat
In the event of a collision with a second boat, or an accident where a second boat is involved, one of the two drivers is likely to be at fault. Often, both boats’ drivers will be partly to blame. However, there are rules governing the behavior of boats on the water, just as there are for cars. If a motorboat collides with a sailboat, the motorboat is likely at fault because motorboats are required to steer clear of sailboats. If the accident was caused by hitting big wake and the boats are in a no wake zone, the boat that created the wake will be at fault.
Collision with a Wave or Submerged Object
Liability in this scenario has to do with whether the boat’s operator was being negligent. The operator of a boat is required to drive cautiously, making use of the appropriate charts or a GPS system. If the operator is taking the appropriate precautions when the accident occurs, they are unlikely to be found liable. But if the driver is playing it fast and loose with their responsibilities, there may be a case against them when it comes to assigning liability for the accident.
Proper Safety Equipment
Federal boating law requires boats to have certain supplies on board in case of an accident. These include life vests, life preservers, flares, whistles, navigational lights, and fire extinguishers. If the boat’s owner fails to keep these items on board and an accident occurs, the lack of safety equipment could be used to assign liability.
If you’ve been involved in a boating accident, don’t hesitate to contact a boating accident attorney such as the team at Lampert and Walsh. We can help you figure out the next steps you need to take.