What is Boating Negligence?

Posted on: August 21st, 2014 by Bain & Rodzik

Boating is a popular pastime in the Wilmington area thanks to the region’s plentiful shorelines, waterways, and tributaries. Just like on roadways, traffic on the water can get congested in the summertime and accidents can occur. When accidents on the water are caused by boating negligence, then the negligent party could find themselves on the wrong side of a legal case filed by a personal injury lawyer in Wilmington NC.

The problem with negligence on the water is that it is not as easily proven as negligence that occurs in other areas and the law can be tricky when it comes to boating accidents. If you’re an avid boater, then here are some important things you need to know about boating negligence.

Determining Boating Negligence

Just because you were injured in a boating accident does not automatically mean that your injury was caused by someone else’s negligent actions. The law defines negligence as the failure to act with reasonable care. Therefore, in order for your case to be successful, you and your attorney need to be able to prove that your injuries were caused by another boater’s failure to act with reasonable care.

Injuries Sustained on a Pleasure Boat

One of the more complex types of personal injury cases are those involving pleasure boats. Pleasure boats are large motorized boats capable of carrying several people. When a passenger is injured on these crafts, the injury tends to occur from one of the following:

  • The pleasure craft hitting another boat
  • The pleasure craft hitting the wake of another boat
  • The pleasure craft hitting a wave
  • The pleasure craft hitting a submerged object

Boat Collisions

Whenever two boats are involved in a collision on the water, both operators are usually held at least partly responsible. As a result, if you were injured in such a collision, then your case can actually be against the operators of both boats. On the other hand, if a motorboat and a sailboat collide, then the operator of the motorboat may be held more liable because the rules of water dictate that motorboats need to avoid sailboats, not the other way around.

Injuries Caused by Wakes / Waves

When a boat hits a large wave or a wake caused by another boat, the passengers can be jostled around and in some cases, they may sustain injuries. Since wakes and waves are commonplace on the waterways, proving negligence in this situation can prove to be more of a challenge. The law will look at specific factors in determining the operator’s negligence, such as:

  • The size of the wake or wave
  • The boat’s speed at the time of the accident
  • The visibility level on the water at the time
  • The amount of boat traffic at the time of the accident
  • Whether or not the passengers were given advance warning of the wake or wave by the operator
  • Whether the injured passenger was on a motorboat or sailboat

Safety Equipment Negligence

Every sailing vessel needs to have standard safety equipment on board for passengers and crew. Such equipment includes life jackets, life rings, fire extinguishers, flares, navigational lights, and whistles. In the event that the boat hits a submerged object or a passenger falls overboard and the boat is not adequately equipped and an injury is sustained as a result, then this can be considered negligence on the part of the boat’s operator.

What Kind of Damages are Available in Cases of Boating Negligence?

If you were injured in a boating accident that was caused by another’s negligence, then you may be entitled to damages similar to those afforded to vehicular accident victims, including the reasonable value of your medical bills, lost earnings, lost earning capacity, and pain and suffering. To learn more about your rights to determine if your injuries were the result of another’s negligence, call Bain & Rodzik’s personal injury lawyer in Wilmington NC today. In boating negligence cases, time is of the essence, so call us today.

For more information or to schedule a free initial consultation with one of Bain & Rodzik’s experienced attorneys, please call us at 910-762-1199 or visit our website at bainandrodzik.com.

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