Signs You Need a Boat Accident Lawyer
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
Many people enjoy sailing on Michigan’s lakes, but when boat accidents happen, they can be costly and complicated to deal with. Claiming compensation for a boating accident is complex. You will be better equipped to manage the process with legal advice from a boat accident lawyer at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C.
Once you understand the factors involved in making a successful claim for injuries that occur on the water, you’ll be able to identify if you have a case and require an attorney for filing.
There is Possible Operator Negligence
A boat operator’s duty of care includes exercising good judgment while performing their duties. They may be held liable for any accident or injury that occurs as a result of failure to exercise this judgment; this could constitute negligent behavior.
They should not drive under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. Boat operators need to prioritize passenger safety, including keeping life jackets on board, being knowledgeable about the boat’s controls, and having someone looking out for unlit navigational buoys and other objects in the water.
If a boat operator failed to act reasonably by excessively speeding, this could be considered negligence, which is similar to determining negligence in car accidents. It is advisable to work with a boat accident attorney to determine negligence.
The Accident Happened Because of Poor Maintenance of the Boat
Many people are tempted to neglect boating safety in favor of comfort, but this can have serious consequences when on the water. If a boat owner cannot maintain their vessel adequately, it could lead to an accident and put others’ lives at risk along with yours.
Boat inspections can save both money and lives by ensuring the proper function of a boat. Without inspections, boat owners may be unaware of problems with the hull or HVAC systems. Technical problems could lead to boat accidents and result in costly legal battles in courtrooms.
The Boat Owner Has No Insurance
Although boat registration is required in Michigan, boat insurance is not. However, it’s highly advisable for boat owners to get this type of coverage. Boat insurance can protect owners if a boating accident occurs by covering costs for damaged equipment or hulls. This insurance can help owners in case of an accident that results in injuries or deaths.
If you are injured or your property, such as your jet ski, is damaged in a boating accident, it may be difficult to recover or make repairs if the boat owner does not have insurance. An experienced lawyer can help determine your legal options for compensation.
Your Injuries Aren’t Minor
A boating injury is often the source of a long and painful recovery, resulting in overwhelming medical bills and lost wages due to time off work. The U.S. Coast Guard notes the following are some of the most common types of boat accident injuries among all vessels:
- Broken bones
- Internal organ injury
With many people being injured every year by negligent parties who fail to follow safety laws, it’s important that you take legal action if necessary after suffering an injury on someone else’s boat. You can get your life back on track and move forward with the help of an attorney.
Your Insurance Settlement Isn’t Enough
Although filing a claim with the boat owner’s insurance company can help you get compensation, it may not cover all your expenses. Your injury could have a tremendous impact on your life as it may lead to diagnostic testing like X-rays or even hospitalization.
It might also require ongoing medical attention and treatment with regular doctor appointments besides physical therapy. If you’re offered an insurance settlement that doesn’t cover your medical expenses, consult with a lawyer immediately to ensure all the current and future fees are covered.
Choose the Right Boat Accident Attorney
A boat accident can cause significant harm, so every precaution should be taken by boat owners and operators. Choosing the right lawyer is important for any legal case and is especially critical in a boating accident.
An attorney who is experienced with maritime law for Michigan’s inland lakes is the best choice. Since the Great Lakes have federal jurisdiction, your attorney should also be familiar with various laws surrounding them in case a boat accident occurs on one of those bodies of water.
It’s essential to hire a local lawyer with experience in Michigan state and local boating laws. They are aware of the complicated legal procedures and liabilities that boat owners are faced with, such as who must pay for damage caused by recklessness. The law firm of Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. has offices across southeastern Michigan so you can get the help you need after your boating accident.
Work with an Experienced Boat Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a boating accident, the first thing to do is seek medical attention. Once your injuries have stabilized and are no longer life-threatening, it may be time to contact an experienced boat accident lawyer at our law firm.
Our skilled personal injury lawyers know how local, state, and federal laws pertain to boating accidents and can advise you on what steps you should take next for filing a lawsuit against the operator of the vessel that caused your injury. Call us at 866-MICH-LAW for a free consultation to discuss your case.
Why can’t I represent myself in court after a boating accident?
Without an attorney, boat accident cases can be challenging to resolve. Every case is unique depending on the factors that led to the boat accident and the resulting injuries and damages. It is important to hire an experienced lawyer who has worked on similar cases in the past.
What should I do if I’m involved in a boat accident?
You can follow these steps if you are in a boating accident and are physically able to do so:
- If someone needs first aid, give it immediately.
- Contact emergency services for help.
- Gather as much evidence regarding the accident as possible, including pictures, videos, and the contact information of the people involved in the accident.
- File a report with the United States Coast Guard within 48 hours if someone was injured or died because of the accident.
What damages can I get in a boat accident settlement?
A boat accident claim involves two types of damages. Non-economic damages include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Scars and disfigurements
- Loss of enjoyment of life
You may also receive economic damages that involve:
- Loss of wages from missed work
- Medical expenses
- Property damage
Your personal injury lawyer will review your case and then decide whether to pursue more potential damages.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.