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Boat & Boating Accidents



According to the U.S. Coast Guard, in 2008 more than 700 people were killed and more than 3,300 people were seriously injured in U.S. boating accidents. The American Red Cross estimates that the number of people injured annually in boating accidents could actually be as high as 355,000. If you or a loved one was involved in a boating accident, personal injury attorneys who handle boating accidents can help you get compensation for your injuries, losses, pain, and suffering.

Marine accidents can occur on all kinds of vessels, including recreational boats, commercial boats, power boats, sail boats, jet skis, and even cruise ships. Boating accidents usually involve at least one of three scenarios:

  • A passenger is seriously injured or dies
  • A passenger disappears and is believed to have drowned
  • A boat causes damage or is damaged

Boating Accident Causes

The majority of recreational boating accidents involve alcohol. However, there can be many causes for and factors that contribute to boating accidents. They include:

  • Inexperienced or careless boat operation
  • Poor weather and water conditions
  • Defective or missing safety equipment
  • A poorly maintained boat
  • Poor planning when going out on a boat

Recreational vs. Commercial Boating Accidents

It's important to know that different laws protect recreational boaters and commercial boaters in the event of a boating injury or accident.

If you are a merchant seaman who has been injured in a boating accident, you will be covered by the Jones Act (which is part of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920) or the Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers Compensation Act. You should hire an attorney who has specific experience handling Jones Act cases.

If you are involved in a recreational boating accident, the person who caused the accident will be at fault if they acted negligently or failed to exercise a reasonable amount of care. A boater is expected to follow boating safety rules, to take necessary precautions to avoid accident and/or injury, and to be careful of other passengers, swimmers, and other boaters.

Injured in a Recreational Boating Accident

If you have been injured in a recreational boating accident, you will want to hire a personal injury attorney who is experienced handling cases involving recreational boating accidents. The person who caused the boating accident or injury can be sued for:

  • Past, current, and future medical expenses related to the injuries you sustained in the accident
  • Any damage caused to your personal property, including your boat
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering

Your personal injury lawyer should be familiar with state and federal law as well as maritime and admiralty law. Understanding these laws and how they apply will maximize your chances for a successful recovery in a boating accident lawsuit.

Find a Local Boating Accident Attorney