One of our knowledgeable Seattle boat accident attorneys is standing by to walk you through the difficult steps involved in receiving financial compensation from the at-fault party following a boating or watercraft accident. Call The Fang Law Firm today at (206) 489-5140 for a free case consultation.
As the weather gets hotter, you will find many Seattle residents enjoying a weekend on the Puget Sound. Boats are everywhere pulling friends and family members on tubes and water skis; jet skis fly by at top speeds. With an increase in boat traffic comes an increase in boating and watercraft accidents. These injuries are often unexpected and life-changing.
You may be stuck with a costly medical bill or lifelong injuries after sustaining a boating or watercraft related injury. A boating injury attorney can help you recover the financial compensation you deserve from the at-fault party. Washington does not require that personal boat and watercraft operators carry insurance.
To recover financial compensation from an at-fault boat owner, you will need to establish the at-fault party was negligent. To prove a negligence claim, you will have to establish the following in a court of law:
A skilled boat accident attorney in Seattle can help gather evidence to support each element of your negligence claim.
Boating accidents can cause serious, and sometimes life-altering injuries. If you were harmed on the water due to the actions or negligence of a boat operator, the party at fault must provide compensation for the damages you’ve suffered, including the following:
While it’s true that monetary compensation can’t undo an injury or trauma, it can help injury victims to gain the best medical care with fewer financial concerns so they can focus on recovering.
Like other personal injury claims, victims of boating accidents have to file a claim within two years of the date of the accident. The state’s statute of limitations laws set this time limit in order to protect the quality of evidence after an accident and to prevent defendants from living under the long-term threat of a lawsuit. In limited circumstances, the state may suspend the usual 2-year statute of limitations. These mitigating circumstances include:
If you have questions about your accident claim and Washington’s statute of limitations, a Seattle boating accident lawyer can help.
Just as car drivers on the road owe a duty of care to others to follow road rules, avoid distraction, and remain sober while operating a car, boat operators on the waterways owe the same duty to others sharing the water, including boats, jet skis, swimmers and operators of other watercraft.
Unlike criminal charges, proving negligence doesn’t require showing the defendant intended to cause harm to others. Instead, the burden of proof falls to the plaintiff to prove negligence on the part of the at-fault boat operator. When the operator of a boat engages in risky or negligent behaviors they are provably at fault in the accident.
Your Seattle boat accident attorney can help to prove negligence by the following methods:
When a boat isn’t properly maintained or operated in a reasonably safe manner and the result is an accident, the party at fault is liable for damages.
Washington has codified (or written into law) the steps required of a boat operator after an accident has occurred. The vessel must stop immediately at the site of the accident. A report must be filed with the Washington State Parks and Recreation services if any of the following occur:
If a wrongful death, injury, or disappearance occurs, the boat owner must file the report within 48 hours. For property damage and other injuries, the boat owner must submit the report within 10 days. If the boat owner does not submit a report as required by law, the boat owner is entirely at-fault for the accident.
Regardless of the type of boating accident you experience, there are specific steps to take that help to protect your physical and financial interests in the immediate aftermath after securing your own safety and rendering any reasonable aid and comfort to other victims. If you have serious injuries, you may be able to do little except wait for help to arrive. If you are able to move about safely to use your phone—or you could ask an uninjured person to use the phone for you—you can document evidence that can later help to prove liability.
Boating is a relaxing activity for weekends and vacations but as exhilarating as a day on the water can be, the same factors that make boating a fun leisure-time activity also expose boaters and boat passengers to the risk of grave injuries in an accident. Common injuries seen in boating accidents range from mild to catastrophic and sometimes end in fatalities. Examples include:
Near drownings sometimes result in brain damage due to prolonged periods without oxygen, resulting in permanent impairment, disability, or death.
When a life-changing accident occurs during what’s meant to be a leisurely day on the water, the long-term consequences can be devastating.
Boating accidents can occur for any number of reasons, but the most common causes of boating accidents don’t involve weather.
Capsizing and falling overboard remain the most common causes of boating injuries, while collisions between vessels are the most common accident type and cause of property damage. According to the U.S. Coast Guard’s accident statistics, 2021 saw 2,641 total injuries from boating accidents and 658 fatalities. Both injury numbers and overall accident rates decreased by approximately 15% from 2020. Property damage totals exceeded $67.5 million. Around 81% of boating accident fatalities occurred through drowning, and of those drowning deaths, 83% of victims were not wearing a life jacket.
Sadly, operating a boat while intoxicated remains the number one cause of boating accidents. The majority of accidents on the water are not weather-related but happen on clear days and in calm waters.
Boating regulations require that vessels carry specific safety equipment. Failure to provide this equipment is negligence. Required safety gear in Washington includes:
Even small pleasure craft must follow these and other boating laws and regulations. Failure to do so leaves a boat operator liable for damages in the event of a boat accident in Seattle.
The attorneys at The Fang Law Firm are well versed in Washington negligence actions. We are standing by to help you recover the financial compensation you deserve. Our boat accident attorneys in Seattle understand that recovering from an injury is stressful enough, we’ll work hard to get you the financial compensation you deserve so you won’t have to worry about anything but recovery. Call us today at (206) 489-5140 for a free case consultation.
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