When you get hurt in a boating accident, it can upend your entire life. When another person’s careless actions lead to your injuries, you have a right to hold them liable for the financial compensation you need to cover your expenses and losses.
Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. has the experience, resources, and knowledge to handle your legal case and seek the justice you deserve. Our team of Alpharetta boating accident lawyers has over 30 years of experience helping injured victims like you recover.
Our perseverance on behalf of our clients has earned us an Avvo 10.0 Superb rating, as well as membership in the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Our greatest honor, however, is the praise we have received from our clients and colleagues.
We know you want to move forward with your life as soon as possible. You can depend on us to work diligently to resolve your case and get you the financial award you need. Call us today at (770) 205-8827 to discuss your case with us and determine the available legal options.
Common Causes of Boating Accidents
There’s a wide range of rules you must follow when you’re driving a car. However, there aren’t as many regulations for boaters. They must comply with some safety measures to prevent others from injury, but it’s impossible to monitor every waterway in and near Alpharetta completely. Water vessel operators tend to be less cautious than motor vehicle drivers and can cause severe injuries and fatalities.
Boating accidents aren’t limited to just boats. There are various water vessels that could be involved in a crash. They include:
- Jet skis
- Water skis
People swimming in the middle of the water could also sustain injuries if a boater isn’t paying attention.
The most common causes of boating accidents include:
- Capsized vessel
- Boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Operator inattention or error
- Slip and fall on the boat
- Falling off the boat
- Malfunctioning equipment
- Lack of life vests
- Adverse weather conditions
- Struck by another water vessel
It’s crucial that you remain diligent whenever you’re on a boat or in the water. You might think you can let your guard down when you’re out on the water, but there are dangers that could cause you harm. If you’re not paying attention to your surroundings, you could end up getting hurt.
Common Injuries Associated With Boating Accidents
The water in and of itself can become a hazard when an accident occurs. If you don’t know how to swim or you’re not wearing a life jacket, you could drown. Many victims of boating accidents encounter issues that motor vehicle occupants don’t, and many factors could contribute to an injury or death on the water.
Some of the most common injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Loss of limb
- Toxic chemical exposure, such as cleaners or antifreeze
- Lacerations and puncture wounds
- Broken bones
Any type of injury could lead to permanent damage. Severe accidents sometimes cause a physical or mental disability. You might require ongoing medical treatment to manage the pain and symptoms associated with the injury. Some people can no longer work and end up struggling financially.
The costs associated with boating accidents can become expensive. However, you shouldn’t be the one to pay. Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. can help you determine who was at fault and hold them accountable.
Boating Laws in Georgia
When someone is operating a water vessel, there are some rules they must follow to ensure the safety of those around them. Failure to comply can result in injuries and legal ramifications.
According to Georgia laws, the following individuals are allowed to operate a boat:
- Children under 12 years old can operate a non-motorized watercraft that’s under 16 feet long. If an adult is present, they can operate a boat that has a motor with a maximum of 30 horsepower.
- Anyone between 12 and 15 years old can operate a boat that’s under 16 feet long if accompanied by an adult, or they passed a course approved by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
- Operators at least 16 years of age can operate any type of boat as long as they passed a boating course and have a valid ID.
- Anyone born on or after January 1, 1998, must complete and pass a boating course.
- Anyone born before January 1, 1998, doesn’t have to complete a boat education course successfully, but the DNR recommends it.
Boating isn’t just a fun activity to do with friends and family on a warm day. There are necessary precautions everyone onboard must follow so no one gets hurt. The following equipment must be on the boat at all times:
- Fire extinguisher
- Whistle, bell, or horn
- Ventilation system
It’s also a legal requirement for each person to have access to their own personal flotation device (life vest). When the water vessel is moving, everyone should wear their flotation device. If there aren’t enough flotation devices, and someone ends up drowning, the owner could be held liable for that person’s death.
There are also laws regarding the consumption of alcohol and drugs. It’s illegal to operate a watercraft under the influence. This includes all boats, water skis, sailboats, and other personal water vessels. Anyone under 21 years of age with a blood alcohol concentration of .02% or higher could face a BUI charge. Those at least 21 years old with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or higher or with drugs in their system could also face BUI charges.
How to Handle the Aftermath of a Boating Accident
If you sustain injuries in a boating accident, you should take the necessary steps to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Vessel operators must report all accidents to the DNR within 48 hours if it resulted in an injury, death, or more than $2,000 in property damage. However, you can take matters into your own hands by reporting the accident yourself.
- Step 1: Notify the coast guard and wait for them to arrive. Let them know of any injuries so they can send medical assistance your way.
- Step 2: If it’s safe to move around, tend to anyone who got hurt. Do a headcount to make sure no one fell overboard.
- Step 3: If there are witnesses who saw what happened, speak to them. Ask them for their names and phone numbers so they can confirm what happened during an insurance claim or lawsuit.
- Step 4: Seek medical treatment immediately. If an ambulance doesn’t pick you up, find a way to get to the nearest hospital for an evaluation of your injuries. If the doctor refers you for further treatment, follow their orders. Continue attending appointments until you recover.
- Step 5: Hire an Alpharetta boating accident attorney from Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. We can begin working on your case immediately and collect crucial evidence that proves who caused the crash and that you deserve compensation for your injuries.
Damages Available in an Insurance Claim
Like car insurance, boat insurance is available with liability coverage if someone becomes injured or dies in an accident. Unfortunately, it’s not a legal requirement in Georgia. There’s a chance that the person who caused the accident doesn’t have insurance to cover your losses.
If the at-fault party does carry liability insurance, you could file a claim with their insurance company for compensation for your damages. Damages are the losses suffered after an accident. There are two main types of damages: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are expenses, while non-economic damages are intangible losses.
The damages available in a liability claim may include:
- Medical bills
- Out of pocket costs
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Loss of consortium or companionship
If you find out the boat operator doesn’t have insurance, you could file a lawsuit against them. There’s a two-year statute of limitations for cases involving injury to a person. That means you have two years from the accident date to sue the liable party; otherwise, you’ll lose your right to pursue compensation.
Besides seeking economic and non-economic damages, there’s another type available only in lawsuits. It’s known as punitive damages. Rather than compensating the victim, it punishes the at-fault individual for their actions. Juries will only award it if you can provide clear and convincing evidence that they acted with fraud, malice, willful conduct, wantonness, oppression, or lack of regard for consequences.
Speak to a Dedicated Alpharetta Boating Accident Attorney Today
At Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C., we have a team of legal professionals who will advocate for your rights and pursue the maximum monetary award you deserve. We understand the trauma an experience like this can cause. You might be in pain and have a psychological injury that requires extensive medical care. We’ll find out who was at fault for the accident and ensure they face the consequences.
We don’t want you to face additional stress during this difficult time in your life. When you hire us, we’ll take your case on contingency. You won’t have to pay upfront fees or costs for us to represent you. We won’t charge you for our legal services unless we win. If you don’t get paid, we don’t get paid.
If you were the victim of a boating accident, call Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. at (770) 205-8827 immediately. We’ll schedule your free consultation with an experienced Alpharetta boating accident lawyer.