Cumming Boating Accident Attorneys

If you suffered injuries in a boating accident caused by someone else’s negligence, don’t hesitate to contact the Cumming personal injury attorneys at Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. We’ll provide quality representation and help you seek the full compensation you deserve from the at-fault party. You can depend on our team to guide you through the complicated legal process every step of the way.

Boating is a great activity to enjoy with family and friends, but unfortunately, it can also pose serious hazards. Whether the driver of a boat was speeding, driving under the influence, or simply being reckless, a lack of caution is often the cause of boating accidents that result in severe injuries or even fatalities.

At Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C., we have the experience and resources to investigate crashes and determine liability. We have worked hard to earn our reputation as a compassionate and determined law firm. The successes we’ve earned on behalf of our clients has earned us an AV Preeminent® rating from Martindale-Hubbell for ethical standards and legal ability, and we received a 10.0 Superb rating from Avvo, as well as recognition from Super Lawyers.

We have the experience and skill set needed to build a solid case, and you won’t be alone in your fight for justice. We’ll stay by your side until we reach a favorable outcome. Call us at (855) 465-4407 to speak with one of our Cumming boating accident attorneys about the legal services we provide.

Types of Watercrafts

Boating accidents include more than just a standard boat or yacht. There are many water vessels people use that could lead to bodily harm. The most common include:

  • Speed boats
  • Kayaks
  • Catamarans
  • Yachts
  • Jet skis
  • Fishing boats
  • Canoes
  • Sailboats

If you get hurt using any of these, you might be entitled to compensation from the at-fault party. There are boating laws that regulate how people behave on the water. If they break any of the laws, they could face legal and financial consequences.

Georgia Boating Laws

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) allows specific individuals to operate a watercraft. There are three age groups, including:

  • Under 12 years old: Can operate vessels under 16 feet long that are non-motorized or contain up to a 30-horsepower motor while they’re accompanied by an adult.
  • 12 to 15 years old: Can operate vessels under 16 feet long, including personal watercraft, as long as they passed a boat education course approved by the DNR, and there’s a competent adult present.
  • At least 16 years old: Can operate all boats as long as they have the proper identification. If they were born after January 1, 1998, they must also pass a boater education course.

Competent adult refers to any person at least 18 years of age who isn’t under the influence of drugs or alcohol and has proper identification.

Proper identification includes a driver’s license or government-issued identification containing a photo, birth date, and description of the individual.

Common Causes of Boating Accidents

What most people don’t realize is that boats are just as dangerous as cars. They think when they’re out on open water, they won’t encounter hazards that could cause them to crash or capsize. However, there are many dangers watercraft operators and riders can face whether they’re on the ocean, a river, or a lake.

Operator error and inattention lead to the most injuries and fatalities. When someone isn’t paying attention to where they’re going, they could collide with another boat or hurt someone swimming in the water. The most common causes of boating accidents and injuries include:

  • Distractions, such as cell phone use
  • Traveling at excessive speeds
  • Mechanical failure
  • Defective boat parts
  • Reckless or aggressive operation
  • Failure to maintain and repair the watercraft
  • Lack of life vests and other safety equipment
  • Capsized vessel
  • Faulty equipment leading to a fire or explosion
  • Slippery surfaces

Boating under the influence (BUI) is also a major problem. It’s against the law and can cause severe injuries and fatalities. A person can face a BUI charge if:

  • They’re operating a vessel under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or any intoxicating substance; or
  • They have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher within three hours of boating.

When you hire Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C., your Cumming boating accident lawyer will investigate the cause to figure out who’s at fault. Whoever’s responsible for your injuries should be held liable in an insurance claim or lawsuit. They should be the person who compensates you for all the losses you suffered due to the accident.

Injuries Commonly Sustained in Boating Accidents

It might not seem like it, but there are dangers everywhere when you’re on a waterway. Anything can cause injuries to the occupants of a boat or other water vessel. Some people end up with permanent disabilities and require lifelong medical treatment. Others suffer fatal injuries that result in death.

The most common injuries include the following:

  • Paralysis
  • Drowning
  • Hypothermia
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Broken bones
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals, such as paint and cleaners
  • Loss of limb and amputation injury
  • Ejection injuries from being thrown off the boat

You could also sustain psychological trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or the fear of boating. Whether the injury is physical or mental, medical bills are expensive. In severe cases, you might not have the ability to maintain adequate employment or perform routine tasks, such as showering. If you require ongoing care, you could face financial strain. You have the right to hold the at-fault party responsible and receive compensation from them to cover your past and future expenses.

Determining Who’s Liable After a Boating Accident

When you sustain injuries in a boat accident, you must determine who caused the crash. You can pursue compensation from the at-fault party in an insurance claim or lawsuit. Any of the following parties could have contributed to your accident:

  • Operator: There are times when the person operating a vessel is the one who caused the accident. If they were reckless behind the wheel or failed to remove hazards, they would become liable for the costs associated with your injuries. Examples of liable actions include:
    • Failure to provide a life jacket for each person on board
    • Reckless or distracted operation
    • Consuming alcohol or taking drugs before or during operation
    • Unqualified to safely navigate or handle an emergency
    • Speeding
    • Improper lookout for other watercraft, swimmers, and hazards in the water
  • Another boat operator: If the person operating the boat you were in didn’t cause the crash, it’s possible another boater did. Sometimes there’s a collision between two vessels, and one of them is at fault. If the other person broke any boating laws, they would be liable for your injuries.
  • Boat or parts manufacturer: Manufacturers are responsible for providing the consumer with safe products. If the watercraft you were in contained defective parts or malfunctioning equipment, you might be entitled to compensation from the manufacturer.

Pursuing Compensation From the At-Fault Party

Although it’s the law for vehicle drivers to carry auto insurance with minimum liability coverage, it’s not a legal requirement for boat operators to have insurance. If you discover the at-fault party has liability coverage, you could file a claim with their insurance company. Depending on the amount they chose to purchase, you could seek the following damages:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Personal property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Out of pocket expenses
  • Emotional distress

Damages are all the losses associated with an accident. They fall under two subcategories: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are the expenses incurred after an accident, while non-economic damages refer to physical and emotional suffering.

If the other boat operator doesn’t carry boating insurance, you might be able to sue. There’s a statute of limitations you must follow in Georgia if you want to file a civil lawsuit for damages. The statute of limitations is two years. That means you have two years from the accident date to file. If the deadline passes, you’ll lose your right to pursue financial compensation.

There are two exceptions to the two-year statute:

  • The victim is under the age of 18 or of unsound mind at the time of the accident. The clock wouldn’t start until they turn 18 years old or gain mental competency.
  • The at-fault party leaves the state for a temporary period before the victim gets the chance to file a lawsuit. The at-fault party’s absence wouldn’t count towards the two-year deadline.

Seeking Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The legal definition of wrongful death in Georgia is the death of someone caused by the intentional, reckless, negligent, or criminal acts of another.

In order of eligibility, the only individuals allowed to file a wrongful death suit if their loved one died in a boating accident are:

  • Surviving spouse;
  • Surviving children;
  • Surviving parents; or
  • The personal representative of the deceased’s estate.

When you file a lawsuit against the boat operator or another at-fault party, you can seek the following damages:

  • Medical bills associated with the fatal injury
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Pain and suffering the victim endured before dying
  • Lost wages and benefits, including those they would have earned if they survived the accident
  • Loss of companionship, care, and other services the deceased provided to their loved ones

The statute of limitations for a wrongful death suit is two years. The two-year clock would begin when the victim died in the accident or from the fatal injury they sustained.

Schedule Your Free Consultation With Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C.

Our Cumming boating accident attorneys have more than 30 years of experience helping our clients recover the financial compensation they deserve. We will fight to hold the at-fault party accountable for their negligent actions. We’ll create a strategy that reaches your legal goals and ensures you don’t have to pay out-of-pocket for any of your damages.

Call Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. at (770) 205-8827 immediately if you sustained injuries in a boating accident and need the assistance of an experienced and dedicated Cumming boating accident lawyer.

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