Personal Injury Lawyer
Whether you live in a climate where the warm weather is seasonal or you’re lucky enough where you can boat all year long, it is still important to remember how quickly a fun day on the water can turn into tragedy because of a boating accident. It is critical for your safety to know what the laws are that govern the waterways you will be boating on, as well as what the required steps are if you do get into a boating accident.
It is also important to be aware of what agencies patrol the waterways you are on. In many states, there are multiple agencies that could oversee where you are boating, including federal, state, county, and local agencies.
According to the United States Coast Guard, the operator of the watercraft involved in the accident is required to file an accident report. If the operator is unable to file the report because of injuries or other acceptable reasons, the owner of the watercraft should file it. This report must be filed within 48 after the accident occurred if any of the following apply:
- A victim suffered an injury that required medical treatment beyond first aid
- A victim is missing from the watercraft and it is suspected the victim is injured or dead
- A victim dies within 24 hours of the boating accident
If any of the following applies, then the operator or owner has up to 10 days to report the boating accident:
- The accident caused property damage of $2,000 or more
- The accident caused the complete loss of a watercraft
- A victim dies more than 24 hours after the boating accident
If the accident was a minor one and does not fall into any of the above categories, it does not have to be reported. It is important to keep in mind, however, if a victim suffered an injury that had to be treated by a medical professional, then even a minor accident needs to be reported under the law.
Medical professionals are aware of these laws and understand what the reporting laws are for boating accidents. If an operator fails to report a boating accident where someone was injured, there is a high likelihood that the treating doctor will report the incident to authorities and then the operator could face legal problems for failing to report it. This could also lead to authorities seeking to conduct toxicology tests since one of the most common causes of boating accidents is alcohol use.
In addition to legal issues, failure to report the accident to appropriate authorities can also lead the insurance company to deny the boating accident claim.
Call a Boating Accident Lawyer for Assistance
If you have been injured in a boating accident, call a lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer in Indianapolis, IN from Ward & Ward Law Firm, to meet with a skilled boating accident attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have for financial compensation against the party who was responsible for the accident and your injuries.