‘Tis this season for water activities. From boating to swimming to tubing, hot summer weather calls for activities on the water. Unfortunately, a trade-off of summer boating is the inevitable increase in boat accidents. Potential boating accidents include falling overboard, boat collisions, jet ski or tubing accidents, and more. Many of these accidents are caused by a lack of safety measures or operator negligence. Some common causes of boat accidents are:
- Operating a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Excessive speeding
- Reckless operation
- Distracted boating
- Poor lighting on boats, buildings, or other objects on the waterway
- Negligent boat maintenance
- Inexperienced boat operators
- Failure to comply with Arizona boating laws
- Lack of warning signage or incorrect signage
- Debris and other objects in the waterway
If you’ve been party to a boat accident, you may need to seek consultation from an attorney. This blog highlights 5 signs it’s time to pick up the phone and call our boat accident lawyers in Phoenix, AZ today.
- The Boat Owner Has No Insurance
Boat insurance is not required in Arizona. Lack of coverage could present a significant problem if the liable boat owner has caused injury to you or damaged your property. If you’ve been in an accident on the waterway and realized the liable party is uninsured, this is a large sign to hire an experienced boat accident law firm today to ensure you aren’t left in the lurch when it comes to being compensated for your preventable injuries.
2. You’ve Suffered Serious Injuries
An injury caused by a negligent party has the potential to really knock your life off track. Every day, people suffer from preventable injuries that deplete their financial resources with compounding medical bills and lost wages. Not to mention the physical and emotional pain that might be associated with a boat accident injury. Some common types of boat injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Accidental amputations
If you’ve suffered from serious injuries from a boat accident, know there are remedies that an attorney can help you seek to get your life back on track.
3. The Boat Operator Was Negligent
While boating accidents can happen when all rules and safety standards have been followed, sometimes the accident is the result of operator negligence. A boat operator has a duty to operate the boat in a reasonable manner. If the operator failed to act reasonably, say they were distracted by their phone or were excessively speeding in a wake zone, it could be determined as negligence. In this case, you were harmed by someone who should have been looking out for your safety. Having an attorney help you determine operator negligence is advisable.
4. The Accident Was Due to a Poorly Maintained Boat
A boat owner has a responsibility to ensure his or her boat is functioning properly, adhering to safety standards and state requirements. A boat should be inspected by professionals to ensure the health of its engine, hull, electrical systems, HVAC systems, plumbing systems, etc. If the negligent care of a boat has contributed to an accident that resulted in injuries, contact an attorney today.
5. The Insurance Company Is Low-Balling Your Settlement
Don’t take a settlement that is less than what you deserve. Sometimes, insurance companies will offer settlements that barely touch a plaintiff’s medical expenses or other damages. If your offered settlement doesn’t cover your expenses, consult an attorney as soon as possible. Some expenses incurred due to a boat accident injury might include emergency room visits, hospital bills, X-rays, lost wages, damages to your property, ongoing care, etc. As you can imagine, the bills can pile up after a boating incident. A qualified boat accident lawyer in Phoenix, Az can help you get the compensation you need.
What to Do After a Boat Accident
After a boat accident, there are a few things you’ll want to know. First, ensure the scene is safe and see if anyone on your vessel, any other involved vessels or anyone in the water needs medical attention. Never leave the scene of the accident, as it could result in criminal charges. If it’s safe and possible, prepare your boat for travel and proceed to the shore. From there, obtain the following items:
- The other party’s name, address, and phone number
- Names and contact information for any passengers and eyewitnesses who saw the boat accident
- Registration or identification number of the vessels involved in the accident
- Insurance company information and policy numbers of those involved
- Photographs of the accident and any damages
Don’t neglect to report the accident. If an accident results in damages exceeding $500, Arizona law requires you to report it within 5 days to the police and file a report with the Arizona Game and Fish Department. If a death occurs, it must be reported within 48 hours.
It’s advisable to seek medical attention after an accident, even if you do not feel hurt. Accident injuries often show up hours or even days after the initial incident. Additionally, internal injuries may not be known, and if left untreated, could be life-threatening. It’s a good idea to get checked out as soon as possible by a medical professional.
How to Stay Safe While Boating
Boating is an activity with associated risks. However, there are actions you can take to ensure you’re safe on the water. Here are some tips to keeping you and your passengers protected:
- Never operate a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Always ensure that you and your passengers are wearing life jackets
- Participate in a boating safety course and review safety measures regularly
- Be aware of Arizona boating laws and follow them
- Use caution around the boat propeller– ensure no one enters or exits the boat while the engine is on
- Keep your safety equipment aboard, including flares, life jackets, fire extinguishers, and boat lights
- Be aware of weather conditions before you go out on your boat each day
Practicing the above habits could mean life or death in some cases. Keep yourself, your passengers, and fellow boaters safe by observing these safety tips.
Let Impact Legal Help You Navigate Your Boat Injury Claim Today
There’s no doubt if you or a loved one has been injured in a boat accident, having an attorney on your side can help you better understand your case and get you the compensation you deserve and need. If you’ve been injured, give us a call, or fill out our online form to request an in-person or online consultation with our boat accident lawyers in Phoenix, AZ.