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Washington Boating Accidents

Boating accidents can be much more dangerous than car accidents. That is because you face added dangers on the water, even after the accident. Drowning, hypothermia, and getting cut by a propeller are all real risks. In order to know your legal rights after a Washington boat accident, you need to know how it happened.

Who Is Responsible for Boating Accidents?

In general, a boat's operator is responsible for anything that happens on the boat. That means legal liability also often falls on the operator. Assigning responsibility can be pretty easy if the operator:

  • Was not paying attention
  • Was drunk
  • Did not have a lookout
  • Was speeding
  • Purposely took the boat too close to swimmers or docks

These and other actions are contrary to safe boating practices. They could lead to criminal charges and personal injury lawsuits.

Other times, fault is not so clear. If more than one boat was involved, it is possible other operators were also being unsafe. They may all share blame. Unruly passengers could have distracted the operator. Victims are still entitled to compensation, of course. But who pays could get a little trickier.

And sometimes it is nobody's fault. For example, a sudden, unexpected storm could damage or capsize the boat.

Understanding what was happening at the time of the accident is important to dealing with legal issues surrounding it.

Washington Accident Reporting Rules

State laws requires a written accident report for serious accidents. You need to file this report within 48 hours when someone:

  • Dies
  • Needs more than first aid medical care
  • Disappears and you suspect death or injury

You need to file the report within 10 days if:

  • The boat was a complete loss.
  • Total property damage exceeds $2,000.

Submit the report to the local law enforcement authorities. When able, operators should submit the report. Otherwise, the boat's owner is responsible.

Locate a Local Washington Boating Accident Lawyer Today

After an accident, you may need legal advice. Since each incident is different, it is important to find a lawyer knowledgeable about boating law. Call now to speak with a boat accident attorney in Washington at 877-913-7222.