Our Michigan boating accident lawyers at Buckfire & Buckfire understand that boating is a national past time among many Americans but advise boaters to keep safe during the season. During the hot summer afternoons, we escape to the coolness of local lakes and ponds. But with so many individuals on the water, is it possible to keep safe from boating crashes?
In 2005 alone, 697 fatalities and 3451 injuries were caused by recreational boating accidents, which are accidents occurring in any type of watercraft (motor boats, sailboats, inflatables, or houseboats). A negligent boating operator who is found to be at fault will most likely pay for damages, which can include property, medical, lost wages, pain and suffering, and punitive damages.
According to the Coast Guard Recreational Boating Accident Report Database, boating accidents must be reported if:
. Death was a result;
. Injury required medical treatment beyond first aid;
. Damage to the vessel or other property was $2000 or more; or
. Vessel was not repairable.
Collisions with another boat or with fixed objects such as a marina dock; capsizing, and passengers falling overboard account for approximately 58 percent of all boating accident fatalities. Contact with the propeller, water skier mishaps, explosions, and fire also contribute to the types of boating accidents that occur on our waterways. Moreover, statistics show that 70 percent of fatal boating accident victims drowned mostly because they were not wearing a personal floatation device (PFD) or life jacket. Trauma is the other leading cause of death in boating accidents.
Negligence in a boating accident can be attributed to a careless or reckless operator whose lack of knowledge of basic boating safety rules, disobeying safety laws, or alcohol use cause these unfortunate fatalities. Alcohol and the open water can be a dangerous combination.
The motion of the boat, sun, wind, and spray accelerate impairment. Boating under the influence (BUI) can in some cases be more dangerous than driving under the influence (DUI) because many boaters have less experience maneuvering a boat than a car. Some of the most common accidents occur because of alcohol consumption, which severely impairs judgment, reactions and coordination of a driver.
Here are a few tips to stay safe on the water:
. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary offers boating safety courses, which are imperative for a boat owner to take. These classes are also available on CD;
. Know the maximum capacity of the vessel and resist overloading it with passengers or gear;
. Every passenger on the boat should be wearing a life preserve jacket, but if they refuse, you must at least have a life jacket available on board for all individuals.
Adults do not have to wear the PFDs while on board, but must be able to access them easily. It is imperative that all children wear life jackets while on board, but each state defines what the age limits are for requiring life jackets. And, if you are operating a vessel 16 feet or longer you must have a throwable PFD;
. Have a fire extinguisher on board (mostly applies to larger boats);
. Get a free vessel safety check;
. Watch for potential threats at a marina such as loose boards, uncoiled rope, leaky hoses, and faulty gas pumps; and
. Wear non-slip shoes and encourage your passengers to do the same.
A boating accident must be reported if it meets any of the criteria mentioned above in this article. The Coast Guard as well as all additional state agencies that regulate boats must be alerted in the event of an accident. Additionally, a boat insurance company should be contacted. State liability laws and measures can be quite confusing after a boating accident, which is why it is advisable to speak with a boat-crash law firm that has experience with similar situations and cases. Courts will examine the cause of the accident, whether the vessel malfunctioned, the degree of carelessness by the operator, and the carelessness of the victim before determining fault. And finally, if you are injured in a boating accident, seek advice from an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Our Michigan boating accident lawyers will represent you in your Michigan boating accident case under our NO FEE PROMISE. This means that you will not be charged any legal fees whatsoever unless we obtain a settlement or recovery for you. You have absolutely no obligation for legal fees unless we win your case. If we do not obtain a settlement for you, you owe us nothing!
For more information regarding your rights after a Michigan boat accident, call us now at (800) 606-1717 to speak with one of our experienced Michigan boat injury attorneys about your case, or simply submit this contact form and we will get back to you quickly?
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