Boating Accidents in Arkansas
As a boating enthusiast, it's important to understand boating safety and what to do if you are in an accident. As a boat operator, you have a responsibility for your passengers' safety. As a passenger, you have rights if you are injured. An Arkansas boating attorney can help you figure out your next steps.
Boat Operator Liability
As the boat operator, it is your responsibility to follow safe boating procedures and avoid putting passengers or others at risk. If you were using a boat in a reckless or negligent manner likely to cause an accident, and an accident did indeed occur, you may be held liable. Examples of reckless behavior include:
- Weaving through traffic
- Playing chicken (swerving at the last minute before a collision)
- Chasing wildlife
- Not having a lookout
- Using excessive speed
If someone drowned or was injured after being thrown overboard, you could be held responsible if you did not have enough life jackets for everyone in the boat or did not have an available floatation device to throw overboard.
You may also be liable if you were operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or did not have a valid boating education certificate required in Arkansas for those born in 1986 or later.
Report Your Boat Accident
After you follow the proper procedure immediately after your accident—help anyone who was injured and give your name and address to anyone injured or whose property you damaged—you must then determine if you need to report the incident. The answer is yes if there were serious injuries or death, or property damage greater than $500. File your report with the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission or the local sheriff's department.
Finding Legal Advice After a Boating Accident
Both operators and passengers may need legal advice after an accident. As an operator, you may face criminal or civil charges, especially if you broke state boating rules.
As a passenger, if you were injured in an accident that was the operator's fault, you may be entitled to compensation similar to any other personal injury case. A boat accident lawyer can help you make an insurance claim and evaluate your case to determine if you should file a boating accident lawsuit.
Whatever your role in a boating accident, find help by calling 877-913-7222 to speak with an experienced Arkansas attorney.