Experienced Representation In Boating Accident Claims
You should take a boat accident as seriously as you would a car accident. Do not underestimate your possibility of having a sound case, do not wait too long to begin taking legal action, and do not attempt to represent yourself. These are the most common types of mistakes accident victims often make that results in “undercompensation,” quick, “out-of-court” settlements, intimidation tactics by insurance companies and failed cases.
In 2008, the United States Coast Guard reported approximately 700 deaths from boating accidents and more than 3,000 severe injuries. The American Red Cross estimates an astonishing 355,000 boating accidents every year. Further studies conclude that boating accidents are usually classed in one of two categories: (1) operator error and (2) defective product. Knowing and understanding which of these your accident and injuries fall under will greatly improve your chances of having a successful personal injury case.
How Operator Error Can Lead To Accidents
Alcohol is perhaps the single most leading cause of “operator error” in boating accidents. Far too many boating accidents were the end result of an intoxicated operator taking the controls. Another leading source of operator error is that many operators attempt or believe a boat can be maneuvered the same as a car – this couldn’t be further from the truth. A boat and car are two completely different types of motor vehicles, and how they function, operate and are correctly driven are completely different as well.
Let’s take a look at some examples of operator error:
- Accident caused by impaired judgment due to alcohol intoxication
- Inexperienced operator
- Failure to yield to larger vessels
- Improperly maneuvering on waves and currents
- Operating at high speeds
- Operating in bad, severe or dangerous weather
When Defective Products Cause Injuries
A boating accident or injury caused by a “defective product” is much different from that of operator error; in actuality, more so the opposite. This category is fairly “self-explanatory.” We all know what a defective product it is because we’ve all experienced that before. Whether it was an item purchased off a store shelf or a defective car part; we have had our fair share of dealing with defective products.
Boating accidents are no different when it comes to defective products; here are some examples:
- Improperly functioning safety equipment
- Improper mechanical work
- Nonresponsive controls (no fault of the operator)
- Safety equipment packaged without proper instructions
Selecting A Qualified Lawyer
Now that you’ve learned about some of the contributing factors to boating accidents and injuries, as well as the categories they typically fall under, here are some things you should look for when choosing/hiring your lawyer.
- They should have an understanding of Maritime Laws
- Know the types of injuries (broken bones, spinal, brain damage, etc.)
- They should know the difference between recreational and commercial accidents
- They should have knowledge of the “Jones Act” and “Merchant Marine Act of 1920”
- They should know the “Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act”
Taking your time to thoroughly research and find a boating accident lawyer who is well-educated, well-trained and well-versed with a proven record will significantly increase your chances of success in pursuing legal action and compensation. Attorney Brian Hoag has successfully represented his clients for over 15 years. He knows how to build strong claims after a severe accident on land or in the water. He is equipped to take your case and will explore all avenues for securing fair compensation after your accident.
Contact Us To Discuss Your Claim
We offer free initial consultations because we want you to know your options so that you can protect your rights. Connect with a skilled legal professional at our St. Petersburg office using our online form or by calling 727-739-8665.