Boat Accidents and Injuries - An Overview

The United States Coast Guard reports that there has been a sharp increase in the number of registered boats and personal watercraft (PWCs) in the U.S. in the past decade. In particular, the use of personal watercraft, such as Jet-Skis, Waverunners and other brands has exploded. Not surprisingly, the Coast Guard also reports that there has been a corresponding rise in boating accidents that result in serious personal injuries or death. If you have been injured on a boat, while boating or while engaged in other water sport activities, contact an attorney in your area to learn more about your legal rights. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Federal maritime law or state tort law?

Generally, the legal issues associated with boating injuries are similar to those seen in other personal injury claims. Specifically, there are questions related to negligence, causation and damages in both maritime and non-maritime accidents. Before those questions can be answered, however, it must first be determined which law will control the case, federal maritime law or state tort law. The differences between federal maritime law and state tort law are significant, and the application of the wrong law could have a huge impact on the outcome of the case. An attorney who regularly handles boating injury cases has the experience to sort through the complex legal issues and help you achieve a fair outcome based on the facts of your case.

Rights of a person injured on or by a watercraft

The potential claims of a person injured by a boat or personal watercraft are determined by the injured person's classification. Was the injured party a seaman, social guest, business visitor or bystander/swimmer/water skier? The category into which the injured person is classified also determines the legal rules that will be applied to the claim.

Product liability claims - boats and personal watercraft

Although the majority of boating accidents occur due to the boat operator's negligence or recklessness, some boating accidents are caused by a defect in the boat itself. When an injury is caused by a defective or dangerous condition of the boat (like, for example, a faulty engine component), the injured person may have a product liability case against the manufacturer of the boat. These claims are based on the legal theory that a manufacturer's design defect could make the watercraft unreasonably dangerous even when used correctly and in a "foreseeable manner."

Speak to a personal injury lawyer

When a water-related accident occurs, you need a thorough investigation and evaluation of its cause(s) by an experienced maritime law attorney. Complex legal and safety issues may be involved. If you have been injured on a boat, while boating or while engaged in other water sport activities, contact an attorney in your area who has experience handling boat accident and injury claims.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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