If you were involved in a boating accident and suffered injuries, you may be entitled to monetary compensation if someone else was at fault for the incident. That usually leads to a question regarding liability: who is responsible and who do you file a lawsuit against? In some cases, this answer might be simple; another boat driver was intoxicated while driving and hit your boat. In other cases, it might not be as simple. If you have any questions or need help filing a claim, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.
Determining liability in a boating accident can sometimes be quite complicated. The following are some of the most common parties that can be held responsible:
The operator of the boat that you were a passenger on
If you were a passenger on a boat and the driver did something negligent that caused your injuries, it will be fairly simple to determine liability. For example, if the boat operator causes an accident because they were speeding, driving recklessly, or drinking while operating the boat, it’s simple to determine that you will file a claim against the operator of the boat.
The operator or passenger of another boat
Determining who is liable when another boat is responsible for your injuries can be more complicated. There are circumstances where it might be obvious, such as the other boat driver colliding with you because they were intoxicated, but there are situations where it won’t be as clear. If a passenger or passengers on the other boat distracted the driver and played a role in the accident, you will need to determine who should be held liable so you can file a lawsuit against the right person. In some cases, there might be multiple responsible parties, which can be reflected in the personal injury lawsuit you file.
A passenger on the boat you were operating
If you were operating a boat and a passenger did something that caused you to have an accident, it’s possible that the passenger could be held liable in court. The fact that they weren’t driving doesn’t mean they hold no responsibility.
The boat manufacturer
If you’re involved in a boating accident that occurred because of a faulty part due to a manufacturing defect, the boat manufacturer could end up being named as a defendant in a lawsuit.
The above list is not exhaustive, as there are several other scenarios that could occur. Determining liability will also require collecting evidence, as many individuals who are responsible for a serious boating accident won’t step forward and admit responsibility. You should collect the names and contact information of anyone on your boat and other boats involved in the accident so your attorney can interview them later to try to piece together what happened. One of the witnesses might even have video footage of the incident, which could end up being very helpful. If you don’t need to seek medical attention immediately, you can also take photos of the incident, including the boat you were on, any other boats involved, and any visible injuries that you or others on the boat suffered.
It’s wise to contact a personal injury lawyer right away so you can make sure you are able to present the strongest case possible. For example, if there is video footage from a camera on the boat or a camera on a dock, your lawyer can request the footage and ensure that it isn’t deleted before they’re able to obtain it.
If you have any questions about boating accident claims or personal injury lawsuits, don’t hesitate to contact us today for a free consultation.