Boating Accident Attorneys

Boating AccidentAlthough boating is a favorite pastime for many in the states of Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas, boating also carries with it significant risks. According to statistics from the United States Coast Guard, in 2015 there were 4,158 recreation boating accidents in the United States, which involved 626 deaths, 2,613 injuries and $42,000,000 in property damage. Over 75 percent of those accidents took place where the boat’s operator had not received any boating safety instruction. Alcohol use was the largest known contributing factor in all the boating accidents. Florida consistently has the highest number of fatalities attributable to boating accidents on an annual basis, while Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas all have their fair share of boating accidents with both injuries and fatalities. Boating accidents can also happen in places other than just on the water, such as on land, on a dock or in marinas.

The Law Regarding
Boating Accidents

As is the case in most states, in Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi, a boat operator must either take a boat safety course, be licensed, or both in order to operate a boat under most states’ laws. In Tennessee, anyone born after January 1, 1989 must take a safety course. In Arkansas, a boating safety course is required for anyone born after January 1, 1986, while you must be at least 16 years of age to operate a motorboat. In Florida, anyone who was born after January 1988 must complete a boating safety course. Mississippi has a similar requirement for anyone born after June 30, 1980.

In addition, each state’s laws require a boat operator to use appropriate measures to keep his passengers as well as nearby boaters safe. If a boat’s operator is negligent in operating his vessel, such as by driving at excessive speeds or following another boat too closely, then the boat’s operator can be liable for any injuries he or she causes in the negligent operation of the boat.

Most states also have laws prohibiting operating a boat while intoxicated due to the major problem that is presented by boaters who are intoxicated. In Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee, and Mississippi, boaters are presumed to be intoxicated and can be arrested if they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08 or higher and operate a boat.

Damages Recoverable in a Lawsuit
Involving a Boating Accident

If a boat operator injures or kills another person, then either his own passengers or other boaters can sue the boat operator for negligence. If a boat’s operator is negligent in causing an accident and this negligence results in injuries to a third party, then the boating accident victim is entitled to recover any bills and expenses for medical treatment necessitated by his or her injuries, any lost past or future wages as well as past and future pain and suffering caused by those injuries. If a passenger or another boater is killed by a boat operatoroat, then the victim’s estate as well as surviving spouse and children typically can seek damages from the boater that caused the accident.

Who Can Be Liable for My Injuries
Suffered in a Boating Accident?

The operator of a boat that causes your injuries can always be held responsible for his or her conduct in operating the boat unsafely or negligently. In addition, if the operator of the boat and the boat’s owner are two different persons, you may also be able to seek damages from the boat’s owner for entrusting his or her boat to someone who then operated it negligently. In addition, and depending on the situation, the manufacturer of the boat could also potentially be liable for your injuries.

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