Whether out on Lake Lanier, Lake Allatoona, or Lake Oconee, there is no shortage of locations to enjoy watersports and activities like boating, jet skiing, or paddle boarding. Tubing, kayaking, or white water rafting down the Chattahoochee River can also be thrilling experiences, but the thrill of the moment can cause boat and watercraft operators to put safety on the back burner.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a boating or watercraft accident in Georgia, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. An Atlanta personal injury lawyer at Kaine Law can help.
An Atlanta Boating and Watercraft Accident Attorney Will Investigate Your Case
Our team of boat accident attorneys will work diligently to determine the cause of your accident, identify the responsible party, and hold them accountable for your pain and suffering.
An accident while using a watercraft such as a jet ski or boat can involve the following:
- Someone falling off the watercraft
- Collisions with other boats or watercrafts
- Explosions or fires
- Slip and falls on the boat
- Propeller injuries
For a free legal consultation with a boating & watercraft accident lawyer serving Atlanta, call 404-214-2001
Our Law Firm Can Help You Seek Compensation for Your Boating & Watercraft Accident Injuries
During your free case review, one of our team members will ask questions to determine the scope of your case, which involves identifying the kinds of damages you may be entitled to collect.
As our team works together with you, we will help you calculate the value of your collective damages from the boating or watercraft accident and pursue compensation based on that total.
For example, you may qualify to receive compensation for the following types of damages:
- Medical expenses, including costs for emergency care treatment, surgeries, doctor’s appointments, X-rays and other types of imaging exams, and physical therapy.
- Out-of-pocket medical expenses may be related but might not involve direct medical treatment, such as costs for prescription medicines and medical support devices like a wheelchair or crutches.
- Income loss: If your injuries prevented you from going to work, we might be able to recover the wages you lost during this time and possibly in the future if your injuries are long-term or permanent.
- Reduced earning capacity: If your injuries allow you to work but at a limited capacity, we may be able to recover compensation for wages you lost as a result of taking a lower-paying position or missing out on promotions and other job opportunities.
- Pain and suffering, including both physical pain from your injuries and emotional anguish.
- Permanent disability: If your injuries are deemed permanent, we may be able to recover compensation for losses related to living with a permanent injury, including at-home care services to help you with daily tasks or non-economic damages, such as loss of enjoyment and diminished quality of life.
- Property damage: We may be able to recover compensation for the costs of repairing your damaged property, such as a boat, or cover its replacement value.
Boating Under the Influence and Punitive Damages
Much like driving under the influence, it is illegal to have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 while operating a boat in Georgia. If your Atlanta boating or watercraft accident was caused by boating under the influence, a boating and watercraft accident attorney at our firm can help hold the negligent party responsible.
We Can Help You Build Your Boating Accident Case
Kaine Law helps boating accident victims of all kinds, from yacht passengers who fell off the boat to jet ski enthusiasts who crashed into a negligent boat operator.
We can examine the details of your situation and help you prepare your personal injury claim or lawsuit. When you work with Kaine Law, our legal team can serve you by:
- Identifying all liable parties for your boating accident and injuries
- Helping you collect evidence to support your claims
- Communicating with other parties, including the insurance company
- Negotiating a potential settlement on your behalf
- Representing you in court if necessary
Liable Parties in Atlanta Boating and Watercraft Accidents
The party that is liable for your boating accident depends on the cause and contributing factors.
Some examples of parties that may be liable for your accident include:
- Boat or watercraft operator
- Watercraft rental company
- Charter boating company
- Boat passengers
- Boat owners
- Boat manufacturers
In many cases, direct acts of negligence by boat operators or others operating personal watercrafts are to blame; however, that is not always the case.
Mechanical errors and equipment failures may be the cause of the accident, leaving the manufacturing company responsible if a design or manufacturing defect was at play.
Some machinery failures can be attributed to the owner if they didn’t perform due maintenance on the vessel. Further, allowing someone underage to operate a boat outside of Georgia restrictions can place liability on the boat owner.
Boat Rental Companies
Other times, a boat rental company could be liable if they failed to maintain the boat in proper working order prior to renting it out, didn’t provide necessary safety equipment, or rented to someone who did not meet the legal requirements.
Under Georgia law:
- Renters must be 16 years old to operate a vessel of 10 horsepower or more, per O.C.G.A. § 52-7-8.3
- Boaters must take a boaters education class approved by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources if born on or after January 1, 1998, per O.C.G.A. § 52-7-22
- Renters must watch a ten-minute boating education video and sign an orientation safety checklist prior to operating any rented vessel ten horsepower or greater.
- If any person or boat rental company allows a boat operator under 16 to operate any prohibited vessel or any permissible vessel without meeting proper requirements, such as boating education or accompaniment by an adult, they are violating the law.
In some cases, more than one party is liable for a boating accident. Kaine Law will use evidence to prove fault and liability. Evidence may include:
- Eyewitness testimonies
- Boat operator’s blood alcohol content (BAC)
- Photos and videos of the accident scene
- Boating operation and safety certifications
- Accident reports
- Medical records
- Expert witness testimony
- Weather and water conditions reports
- Vessel maintenance and repair records
- GPS and electronic data
Your Accident Injury Case Must Include These Four Elements
In the realm of boating and watercraft incidents in Atlanta, GA, understanding the principles of negligence is key for victims seeking compensation. Initially, it’s imperative to demonstrate a duty of care, indicating that the boat operator had a legal obligation to act responsibly to avoid causing harm. For example, operators are expected to adhere to safety regulations and navigate attentively.
The next step involves illustrating a breach of this duty, such as instances where the operator was distracted or under the influence, leading to unsafe conditions. Causation is the third critical element, requiring proof that the operator’s negligence directly led to the accident and subsequent injuries. This could be shown by a direct correlation between reckless speeding and a collision. Finally, the concept of damages encompasses the resultant injuries or losses, which might include physical harm, psychological distress, or financial burdens due to medical expenses and lost income.
For those impacted in Atlanta, successfully proving these elements with evidence is vital to achieving a fair resolution. Our Atlanta boating accident lawyer and our investigators will examine your case and accident scene, collecting evidence that demonstrates each of these four elements.
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You Have a Limited Time to File Your Boating Accident Lawsuit
You can file an insurance claim for your boating accident, but you may also have the option to file a personal injury lawsuit to pursue compensation.
You generally have two years to file your lawsuit, per O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33.
Two years can go by fast when you gather evidence, interview witnesses, or attempt to negotiate a fair settlement with an insurance company. While our legal team can monitor your case so that you do not miss the filing deadline, you must decide when to act—and it’s better to act sooner rather than later.
Commonly Reported Boating Accident Injuries
A collision with another watercraft can expose you to catastrophic injuries due to the open water and the objects and debris on the boat. Boating accident injuries can include:
Our personal injury lawyers will obtain and review your medical records and consult medical experts to substantiate your compensation request.
Types of Boating Accident Cases We Handle
Georgia has beautiful weather during the boating season, which sees lots of people and vessels on the water. Our boating accident attorneys represent injured parties after accidents on the following types of watercrafts:
- Sailboat accidents
- Canoe accidents
- Party boat accidents
- Speed boat accidents
- Jet ski accidents
- Water skiing accidents
Our boat accident lawyer will investigate your accident, the vessel, and its driver. We work hard to build the best possible case for you, including collecting evidence and identifying the at-fault party.
Leading Causes of Serious or Fatal Boating Accidents
The open water can be a time for families and friends to enjoy one another and relax. However, with the increasing number of accidents, it is essential to understand some of the leading causes of fatal boating accidents.
Drinking and boating activities often go hand in hand, but many do not consider the consequences. The influence of alcohol is the number one contributing factor in fatal boating accidents in the U.S., according to the 2020 Recreational Boating Statistics Report released by the U.S. Coast Guard.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, where the cause was known, 75% of fatal boating accident victims drowned. Of those drowning victims, 86% were not wearing a life jacket.
Another major cause of boating accidents is an inexperienced boating operator.
The U.S. Coast Guard also reported that more than two-thirds of watercraft operators had not received any boating safety instructions or participated in a boater’s safety course.
Other Causal Factors
The top 5 contributing factors in boating and personal watercraft accidents are:
- Operator inattention
- Operator inexperience
- Improper lookout
- Excessive speed
- Mechanical failure
Contact Our Kaine Law to Start Your Boating Accident Claim In Georgia
If you or someone you love was injured in a recent boating accident, our personal injury attorneys can help you recover your financial losses. We will collect evidence and negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance provider.
Contact our boating and watercraft accident team today for legal assistance. Request a free consultation and find out how hard we will go to bat for you. Hablamos Español.