Boating accidents can happen just as unexpectedly as auto accidents. However, if you have never been involved in a boating accident, you may have no idea what you should do after a boating accident happens or who may be responsible for the injuries that have been sustained. Luckily, you can consult with a personal injury attorney who can help shed some light on liability and what steps you should take next. In the meantime, here is a brief look at those who may be responsible for your boating accident.
The Boating Operator
Most commonly, the individual who was operating the boat at the time of the accident is the liable party. He or she has control over the boat and is liable for making certain that all laws on the open water are followed. He or she is also accountable for making sure that any and all safety protocols are complied with while on the vessel. Failing to pay attention, speeding, operating the boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and any other negligent or reckless behaviors by boating operators result in boat accidents year after year.
The Boat Owner
In the event that the boating accident was a result of the boat not being maintained properly or defective equipment, the owner of the watercraft may be held liable for any injuries that resulted from the accident. The owner has a direct obligation to ensure his or her boat remains in a safe condition, particularly if the boat is being taken out on the open water where other boats or individuals are present or if there are passengers on board.
The Boat Manufacturer
If the boating accident was a direct cause of a defect in the boat, then the manufacturer of the vessel may be able to be held accountable for any injuries that resulted from the accident. The boat manufacturer is responsible for any manufacturing and design defects, and depending on your state's laws, the manufacturer may be held strictly liable if an accident occurs as a result of said defects.
The Boat Rental Company
If the watercraft that was involved in an accident was a rental from a company, then the rental company may be held accountable for the injuries and related damages. This is true whether or not the boating operator was a rental company employee.
If you or a loved one has recently been involved and injured in a boating accident, don't wait to schedule a consultation with a boat accident lawyer.