Who Is Liable in a Boating Accident?

Who Is Liable in a Boating Accident?


The onset of spring and warm weather means more people getting outside to do the things they love such as boating. A fun day out on the boat can quickly turn into a perilous day on the lake. If a boating accident occurs, people on the boat could be seriously injured as a result. It is important to know who is liable in the event of a boat crash.

For someone to be liable for an injury or any damage, they must first be proven negligent. Negligent means that they acted carelessly. In order for someone to be liable, you must first be able to prove that your injury is a direct result of their carelessness.

If two or more boats collide, negligence will likely rest between both of the boat operators. Because of this, an injured passenger has a possible legal case against both operators. However, if an operator is injured, it is much more difficult to claim the other boat operator as negligible. The injured boatman must first prove that he or she is less liable or negligent than the other boat operator.

Environmental Boat Accident Causes

Waves can pose a serious threat to passengers on a boat. A wave that is too large or taken too fast has a good chance of either throwing people from their seat, or off the boat entirely. The resulting injuries could be quite severe.

Because waves can be a natural occurrence, the only person who could possibly be liable is the boat operator. Whether the boat operator is liable or not depends on a multitude of circumstances. How visible was the wave? Was he or she driving at reasonable speed? Did he or she manage to warm their passengers first?

Speeding Boats Cause Accidents

Natural waves are not the only cause of movement of the water. When a boat passes an area at a high speed, it leaves waves behind it, called wakes.  Wakes can be more dangerous than normal waves because they can have more energy than a common wave, depending on where your boat is in relation to the passing boat. The liability for injury caused by a wake is much like a normal wave, except now there is a second boat operator that can be held liable in some cases. For example, if a boater speeds through a high traffic area, or if makes wakes in what is considered a no wake zone, either of these scenarios could easily be considered negligence.

Hidden Obstacles Cause Boat Crashes

Even when the water is clear and the weather is amazing, it is still possible to collide with a submerged object. This is likely one of the hardest accidents to avoid, as submerged objects can be impossible to see. But like colliding with anything, it can cause serious damage.

Proving Negligence in Boat Accident Liability

Who is liable For Boat Accident Damages?

Whether or not the boat operator is liable for those damages is dependent on their actions leading up to the collision. If they were boating along at a reasonable pace in what seemed to be open water, they will not likely be found liable. However, if they are speeding around shallow waters in a fog, proving their negligence would be not be difficult.

Finally, a boat operator can be held liable for an accident if their boat does not have the proper safety equipment on board. There are many things that a boat should have a stock of.

Every watercraft should have some important safety items:

  • Life jackets
  • Life preservers
  • Flare guns
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Whistles

While failing to have these on board might not cause an accident directly, it can turn a bad situation into a catastrophic situation. Proper safety equipment is a necessity to keep everyone safe, and to overlook stocking proper safety equipment is negligence.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a boat operator, you should seek experienced boat accident attorneys right away.

If the at-fault boat operator does not have insurance you could face challenges securing your claim to damages. If he or she does not have boat insurance, or adequate liquefiable assets, you and your family could go without adequate compensation for the damages you experienced including unpaid medical bills or lost wages.

It is an unfortunate fact of life that accidents happen. And when they do, it can be difficult to keep your head above water while you or a loved one recuperates. If you or someone you care about is involved in a boating accident due to someone’s negligence, contact a an experienced boat crash lawyer. They have the necessary skills to help get the compensation you deserve

2018-06-22T16:40:06-05:00March 14th, 2017|Boating Accidents|