Boating and Liability in Georgia
Posted on Friday, July 5th, 2019 at 5:51 pm
With more than 35 lakes and over 2,000 miles of coastline, summertime fun in Georgia often includes time spent on the water. When this fun is combined with alcohol or inexperienced boaters, it can prove dangerous. Be certain that you take precautions when you spend time on a boat with friends, including checking the weather beforehand, ensuring that the driver of the boat is experienced, and avoiding intoxication. You will also need to keep a close eye on other waterway users who may be less experienced or drift into your area.
There are many laws regulating the use of boats in Georgia, similar to regulations on motor vehicles. In addition to the expected regulations, such as speed and intoxication levels, there are also clear requirements in the event of an accident. According to the Official Boating Handbook, a boat operator who is involved in an accident is required to:
- Stop immediately
- Render aid if possible
- Provide a name and other pertinent information to those injured or suffering property damage
- Report the accident if it involves, death, disappearance, property damage exceeding $2,000, or injuries requiring medical attention
Accident reports are made to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. This accident report can be essential to building your case for compensation if you are injured in a boating accident.
Accident Liability and Compensation
If you suffer injuries in an accident while out on a boat, your first priority should be to seek medical attention. When those medical bills begin to come in, however, your attention will likely turn to finding ways to pay those bills. If you are not the cause of your injuries, then you may be able to file a personal injury claim, which can result in compensation to cover your medical bills, pain and suffering, and more.
Before filing a claim, you must first know exactly where the accident occurred, since accidents in international or interstate commerce waterways fall under maritime law, while other accidents will fall under Georgia law. If you are uncertain of the jurisdiction under which your accident falls, your attorney will be able to help you make that determination.
Your attorney will also need information about the accident, including:
- Ownership of the boat
- Navigator of the boat
- Names and contact information for witnesses
- Your detailed account of the accident
This information will be used to ensure that you are able to build your case and collect the compensation you deserve. Under the modified comparative negligence laws in Georgia, you can only collect compensation if you are less than 50% at fault for the accident or your injuries. In other words, if your own recklessness, drinking, or other actions caused the accident or your injuries, you will not be able to collect any compensation at all. If you were only partially at fault, you can still collect compensation, but the amount will be reduced by the degree of your own fault.
Contact an Attorney
An experienced personal injury attorney can help you to recover compensation for your boating accident injuries. Contact the attorneys at Jonathan R. Brockman, a Personal Injury Law Firm, right away to ensure that you get the compensation you need.