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Boating Accidents

Boating accidents are, unfortunately, very common on the coastlines of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. While some boating accidents are little more than a minor collision that does a bit of damage to the boats, others are far more serious and can result in critical injuries, permanent disability and scarring, and wrongful death.

Types of Watercraft That Are Frequently Involved in Accidents

Any type of watercraft can be involved in a boating accident. In fact, even a simple raft or flotation device can be involved in collision on the water. However, some of the most frequently seen boating accidents and collisions involve:

  • Sailboats
  • Speedboats
  • Fishing boats
  • Yachts
  • Tenders
  • Airboats
  • Center Console Runabouts
  • Cabin cruisers
  • Personal watercrafts, e.g., jet skis
  • Non-motorized watercraft, e.g., tubes, floats, kayaks or canoes

Sometimes, the type of boats involved in the accident play a significant role in the severity of the injury. For example, two large yachts that come into contact with each other may only cause physical damage to the boat. However, if a speedboat collides with a non-motorized watercraft, such as a canoe, it’s highly probable that the person in the canoe will be seriously injured or even killed.

Causes of Boating Accidents

While the term “accident” leads people to believe that the collision was unavoidable and just an unfortunate circumstance, there’s always a cause behind the accident. That is not to say that the incident or collision was intentional, only that the person at fault or responsible for the collision was simply to thinking about the potential for injury to others or the consequences of their actions.  And behind that cause could potentially be someone else’s negligence. Here are several commonly seen causes of boating accidents or collisions on the waters of Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

  • Not slowing down for large waves or wakes
  • Not idling in “no wake” zones
  • Boating in inclement weather
  • Operating the boat at an unsafe speed
  • Operating the boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Failing to engage in safety measures when waterskiing or tubing
  • Poor understanding of boating and/or navigation rules
  • Inexperience operating the watercraft
  • Defective designs in a boat or other watercraft
  • Improper boat maintenance or repairs
  • Overcrowding or overloading a boat or other watercraft
  • Not adhering to the proper use instructions of a boat or watercraft
  • Failure to display appropriate lights and signals
  • Not paying attention to the actions or others on the water

Most, if not all, of the above causes of a boating accident or collision can be attributed to another person’s carelessness or negligence. For example, a person operating a boat who does not have adequate experience could be considered negligent. Additionally, a person who chooses to operate a boat after drinking or using drugs would also be negligent.

However, the operator of the boat is not always the person at fault for the accident. If, for example, a boat owner had his or her boat repaired at a facility and the facility failed to properly repair the boat and an accident occurred, it’s possible that the facility and its owner would be held legally responsible for damages caused by the accident.

Common Injuries Caused by Boating Accidents

Almost any injury can occur in a boating accident; however, some are more common than others:

  • Traumatic brain injuries: These types of injuries can occur when a person’s head strikes a hard object within the boat or the boat itself, or is ejected from the boat and hits the water at a high speed
  • Broken bones and limb amputation: Many people make the mistake of assuming that because water isn’t a hard surface such as concrete, that being thrown into the water won’t cause much injury. However, at high speeds, the surface tension of the water is enough to break bones. Some boating accidents also result in limb amputation; if for example, a person’s body comes into contact with the boat propeller after being ejected from the watercraft, serious injuries can occur.
  • Permanent scarring: Depending upon the severity of a broken bone or fracture the injury may require a surgical procedure to ensure that the bones properly heal. A surgery can lead to permanent scarring at the surgical site(s).  In addition, injuries resulting from contact with a boat propeller or engine will also result in lacerations, skin burning and permanent scarring.
  • Death: Unfortunately, many boating accidents do cause the death of one or more victims. If a boat capsizes and traps passengers underwater, drowning deaths may occur. Or, the injuries from the accident may be so severe that they are not survivable.

When to Contact an Attorney

If you, a friend or a loved one have been hurt in a boating accident, it’s absolutely critical that you reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney who has dealt specifically with boating accidents and collisions. The investigation that is conducted immediately after an accident or collision will help to ensure that all necessary information concerning those involved, witnesses and potential insurance information can be gathered and obtained.  How much compensation you recover depends greatly on how well your lawyer is able to navigate through the challenges of a boat accident claim.

At Mazow | McCullough, P.C., we can help you determine who may be at fault for your accident and gather the evidence needed to prove your claim. We can help you present your case in the best possible light to insurance companies and will guide you through settlement negotiations. In the event that your claim cannot be settled for a fair value, we can help you pursue litigation and will aggressively represent you and your interests in the courtroom.

Injuries from boating accidents can be devastating and life changing, especially if you’ve lost a loved one. You may be facing medical costs, funeral expenses, and lost wages that you were unprepared for, and these expenses can easily send families into a financial crisis.

Get the help you need after a boating accident by reaching out to one of our seasoned personal injury attorneys. You don’t have to go through this alone. Contact us today for a consultation by calling 855-693-9084 or 978-744-8000.

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