A boating accident is an event in which an individual is injured or killed while on a boat. They can occur when the owner or operator negligently navigates the craft, causing injury. Boating accidents occur when two vessels collide. Boating accidents occur when a mechanical or design defect causes a malfunction.
What are Some Common Types of Boat Accidents?
Most commonly, boating accidents occur when two boats collide. Determination of liability is similar to determination of liability in motor vehicle accident cases. An operator who was operating the craft at an unsafe speed, or while intoxicated, or otherwise negligently, can be sued by those injured as a result of the negligence.
Boating accidents can also be caused when a boat collides with a dock or port. Boating accidents may also occur when either the boat or boat product malfunctions, causing injury to an operator, a passenger, or the operator or passenger of another boat.
What do Boat Laws Cover?
District of Columbia boating laws cover who is liable for boating accidents, and under what circumstances they are liable. Boat laws also cover whether an injured party can obtain damages (monetary compensation) for injuries. Boat laws also cover what kind of damages someone may recover. Boat laws cover defenses someone who has caused injury may raise in court.
Who Can be Held Liable for a Boating Accident?
Typically, the operator of a boat is the person most likely to be liable for a boating accident. If the operator operates the boat in a negligent fashion, and that negligence causes injury, the operator can be liable for damages. An operator, much like a drunk driver, can be liable for injuries sustained as a result of the operator’s being intoxicated.
Alcohol or drug intoxication may render a driver unable to properly operate a boat, increasing the risk of injury. Boat owners have a duty to ensure their boat is maintained in proper condition before they sail. To maintain a boat in proper condition, an owner must make sure that the parts of the boat, and the boat’s safety system, are in proper working order. If a boating malfunction can be traced to a manufacturing defect or design defect, the product manufacturer may be held liable.
What Types of Injuries Can Boat Accidents Cause?
Boating accidents can cause a variety of injuries. Less severe injuries may include damage to muscles, joints,and body tissues. If an accident causes a plaintiff to come into sudden contact with part of the boat, the plaintiff may also sustain lacerations, bruises,or cuts. The plaintiff may also suffer spinal cord or neck injuries.
Sometimes, injuries are more severe, particularly when either the operator of the plaintiff’s boat, and/or the operator of the defendant’s boat, were traveling at high speeds. In high speed or high wind situations, a plaintiff may be ejected from the boat, and possibly drown. If there is a defect in a boat product, such as a propeller, a plaintiff may suffer the loss of one or more limbs.
What Legal Remedies are Available in a Boat Accident Lawsuit?
The legal remedies available in a boat accident lawsuit consist primarily of damages. Damages are a sum or sums of money awarded to a plaintiff, to compensate the plaintiff for expenses related to their injury. After being injured, a plaintiff may, for example, be required to seek medical treatment. A plaintiff may require an operation. A doctor may require the plaintiff to undergo physical therapy.
Damages, paid by a defendant to a plaintiff, cover the costs associated with these treatments. If negligence also caused the plaintiff to miss work, or to be unable to perform physical tasks such as home care, damages may be awarded for the costs incurred by the plaintiff’s inability to work or care for a house.
Are There any Unique Boating Laws in the D.C. Area?
The District of Columbia has its own boating titling and registration requirements. Title 19 of the DC Code, pertaining to harbor and boating safety, regulates boating speed limits, anchoring, and mooring, among other things. Different speed limits, for example, apply depending on a boater’s location. Boaters may be required to reduce speed while at certain locations in the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers.
Washington, DC negligence law is governed by a legal doctrine known as contributory negligence. Under contributory negligence, a plaintiff operating a boat must act reasonably and carefully when doing so. If the plaintiff fails to do so, and is negligent, the plaintiff may be reliable for part or even all of their injuries. This is so even if the defendant acted negligently. ,
A defendant can claim the defense of contributory negligence upon a plaintiff’s argument that the defendant’s negligence caused injury. For a defendant to prevail on a contributory negligence claim, the defendant must prove both that the plaintiff was negligent and that this negligence contributed to the plaintiff’s injuries.
Should I Hire a Lawyer if I’ve Been Injured in a Boat Accident in the D.C. Area?
If you have sustained injuries from a boating accident, or someone has claimed you caused boating accident injuries, you should contact a personal injury attorney. An experienced personal injury attorney near you can review the facts of your case, advise you as to your rights and options, and represent you in court proceedings.