If you are hurt while a passenger on a motorboat that collides with another vessel, you will need to verify the injury was due to a willful disregard for the safety of persons or property to recover damages. Injury alone does not mean that anyone was at fault. Negligence is when a person fails to act in a way that expresses prudence and caution for his/her safety and the well-being of others, as an ordinarily rational person would under the same circumstances. This means that you will need to be able to prove that another boater failed to act with safety in mind and that, as a result, you got hurt.
A negligence claim:
To better understand how a negligence claim will work, it is important to identify the main types of accidents experienced on the water. Nearly all pleasure boating accidents will fall into the following categories:
- A collision with a fixed pier, buoy, rock or sandbar.
- A collision with another boat, personal watercraft or sailboat.
- Excess speed when hitting the wake of another boat or a wave will make the vessel unsteady.
A collision with a sandbar or rock:
It is possible for a boat to strike an underwater object in the best weather conditions. In lousy weather and limited visibility, a boat can collide with the coastline. Liability will depend on:
- Relative speed in relation to the conditions.
- Whether the operator is using nautical maps.
A collision between motorboats:
In a collision between two boats, one or both operators will usually be found to be at least partially at fault. This means that injured passengers from both boats would have a case against the operator of either vessel, just like in a motor vehicle crash.
Hitting a boat wake or an errant wave:
Safe boating practices require the operator to maintain a lookout for anything that may be a hazard to passengers or the boat. If a wake is crossed at high speed, depending on whether passengers are securely sitting or standing, it is possible they can fall overboard. Liability in this type of accident will depend on circumstances, such as:
- The size of the wake.
- Traffic on the water at the time of the accident.
- Whether the boat operator warned passengers to take a seat.
Just like in an automobile accident, if a boat operator failed to operate with reasonable care and you suffered an injury due to their negligence, you may be entitled to damages. Please feel free to contact us any time day or night for a free case evaluation by calling us at 844-HUNTER-LAW.