Sailing is a particularly challenging boating activity. Unlike other types of boating such as paddling or motor-powered boating, sailing requires extensive knowledge of weather and wind patterns, as well as handling of the sails. Thus, while sailboats typically do not travel as fast as other boats, there are various risks involved regarding the maneuvering and controlling of the vessel. People aboard the boat can be exposed to risks and accidents such as:

  • Collisions with rocks or other objects under the boat
  • Collisions with a dock
  • Running aground (such as on the shore or on a sandbar)
  • Collisions with other boats
  • Capsizing
  • Being stranded at sea

These types of accidents can result in severe damage to the boat (and other property as well). Injuries can occur as well; these can include head and neck injuries, abrasion and broken bones, and in more serious cases, drowning.

Who Can be Held Liable for a Sailing Accident?

Liability for a sailboat accident can be traced to many causes. In many cases, the navigator of the boat can be held liable for any negligence displayed in handling the boat. For instance, if they had a duty to change their route to avoid collision with another boat, yet failed to do so, they could become liable for damage or injuries resulting from a collision. More serious issues can arise if the boat operator was found to be under the influence at the time of the accident.

Other legal liability issues can arise from other sources. For instance, if there was a product defect with the boat or with any equipment on the boat (such as a defective navigation tool), the manufacturer of the boat or equipment might become liable for the accident.

Lastly, boat rental companies may also be held liable for knowingly providing faulty or defective vessels to a customer, and similar liability can be extended to negligent parties in a boat charter or sailboat tour.

What are the Legal Remedies in a Sailing Accident Lawsuit?

Sailing injuries can be severe, and property damage in a sailing accident can also be substantial. In many cases, legal action may be required to fully address the issues of compensation for the non-liable party or parties. In most instances, a monetary damages award may be issued to cover expenses like medical and hospital bills, property repair or replacement (such as damage to a boat or to a dock), and other losses like lost wages. Wrongful death compensation may also arise, such as in cases where drowning occurred.

Also, in cases where product liability is an issue, other remedies may apply as well. For instance, a product recall may be issued for the dangerous product or boat. Class action lawsuits can also result if many different people are affected by the same hazard.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Assistance with a Sailing Accident Lawsuit?

As mentioned, sailing accidents can be very dangerous and may also involve a complex mix of different laws (which can vary by state). You may need to hire a personal injury lawyer in your area if you need any guidance or legal research for a sailing accident claim. Your lawyer can help you file your claim and can also provide you with assistance during the process. Also, if you need to appear in court, your attorney can represent you during hearings and meetings.