Boating is a popular hobby, but it’s not without risks. Preventing boating accident injury and keeping everyone safe should be the primary goal of all boating passengers.
Whether it’s the ocean, lake or river, boating is a fun way to experience the outdoors. When your time on the water doesn’t go according to plan and an accident occurs, you may be faced with mounting medical bills, missed time from work and other losses. Discussing your case with a personal injury lawyer can help you understand your options for compensation for these common boating accident injuries.
Common Boating Accident Injuries
Boating accidents are more common than one may think. Although some boating accidents can be minor, some can pose serious health risks to boat passengers. Some of the injuries sustained can lead to death or cause serious head injuries that have lasting impacts.
The first step to preventing these injuries is being aware of the most common types of boating accidents.
Among the most common boating accident injuries is drowning. While it is possible to revive someone after a drowning accident, it’s still a terrifying experience for the victim. Drowning can happen after a boat accident where the victim’s boat is struck, and they become disoriented as they fall into the water.
If water is murky, it can become challenging to know which direction is up. People often struggle to know which direction to swim in to get oxygen. A 2015 study showed that children revived after 30 minutes of drowning experienced life in a vegetative or severely disadvantaged state.
Head and Brain Injuries
When a boat strikes another boat, there may be a spray of water and debris from the collision. Additionally, victims may slam into other parts of the boat, leading to injuries along the body and head.
If something strikes the victim's head with enough force, or if the victim slams into something, a victim can experience a myriad of head or brain injuries. Concussions, hemorrhages, and other brain injuries can be hiding within the skull. A boating accident injury like this will need special equipment to be identified.
Deep Cuts or Wounds
When debris is present after a boating collision or accident, it can be sharp and pose threats to any passengers on board. For example, if a boat runs aground, the sharp debris on land can kick up and make deep wounds or lacerations on the skin.
If the debris is kicked up with enough force, the wound can be deep enough to need stitches. Some debris may puncture the skin with enough force to require surgery. In rare cases, debris can lead to death or lifelong disabilities.
Most common in car accidents or roller coaster rides, whiplash can happen anywhere. Whiplash happens when the body suffers from quick and sudden stops or changes in direction. A boating accident can give passengers whiplash.
Whiplash is caused by forcefully bending the neck in any direction that impacts muscles, nerves, and tendons within your neck. An X-ray, MRI, or CT scan may be required to diagnose whiplash.
Electrocution or Fire-Related Injuries
Boats often have electrical components and flammable pieces that can make for a dangerous situation. When a set of wires gets exposed, passengers of a boat may get electrocuted by the exposure. Occasionally, passengers get burns from electrical fires that have broken out.
Some people can survive electrocution, especially if the current and voltage are low. However, a passenger who has been electrocuted should always be evaluated by a doctor to ensure good health.
Fire-related injuries are easier to spot. Burns and blisters will be present on the skin where a fire has come into close contact with a passenger.
Injuries From Equipment Failures or Malfunctions
When something on the boat malfunctions or equipment is not properly stored, injury can be caused, especially after a boating accident. For example, if passengers on a boat are fishing and have left the tackle box full of hooks and other sharp items open, those sharp objects can become shrapnel during a boating accident.
Always store equipment and sharp objects with care, even if you think there are no other boats around.
Liability in a Boating Accident
Similar to a motor vehicle, the driver is responsible for operating the vessel in a safe and responsible manner and the driver owes a “duty of care” to passengers. Operator inattention or inexperience, excessive speed, alcohol and improper lookout are primary reasons for boating injury accidents in which the boat driver could be at-fault due to negligence.
It’s possible that a defective boat, equipment or boat part caused the accident. In this scenario, the injured victim can file a lawsuit to hold the manufacturer liable for any damages.
If you were injured in a boating accident on a commercial vessel such as a party boat, whale watching, ferry or other situation in which you paid a price of admission to board the boat, you may also have grounds to file a lawsuit against the company who operates the vessel, the vessel owner and potentially the captain. There is a higher threshold for the duty of care required for commercial entities as well as maritime law that may come into play. It's in your best interest to discuss your case with an experienced personal injury lawyer to understand your options.
Boat Accident Lawyers
If you’ve been injured in a boating accident, it’s a good idea to review your case with a personal injury attorney. Even if you believe you can go through insurance for compensation, it can be challenging to receive a settlement that fairly covers your losses. An injury attorney represents your best interests and will work to maximize the compensation you receive for your damages.
When you call Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we can help you get to the root cause of your injuries and help you determine who is responsible for your expenses. With experience in boating accidents involving defective parts, reckless drivers, and serious injuries, we work smarter and harder to turn your setback into a comeback. Call today for a free consultation.