If you’ve been involved in a boat accident, you may be wondering if you need to hire a lawyer. The answer depends on many factors, but in general, it is always a good idea to consult with an experienced boating accident lawyer.
There are many reasons why you should hire a lawyer after a boat accident, but some of the most important reasons include:
– An experienced boat accident lawyer will know how to protect your rights and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
-A boat accident lawyer will have the necessary experience and resources to investigate your accident and build a strong case.
-A boat accident lawyer can help you navigate the complex legal system and deal with insurance companies.
-A boat accident lawyer will fight for your rights in court if necessary.
If you’ve been involved in a boat accident, the experienced attorneys at Wilson & Kinsman, LLC can help. We have years of experience handling boating accident claims, and we will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a consultation. We’re here to help.
What Is a Boat Accident?
Boating accidents can occur due to a variety of factors, including capsize, flood, explosion, mechanical failure, or collision. Indiana’s DNR mandates that boats must stay at the scene of an accident. If someone is hurt or killed in an accident, boaters are required to file a report within 24 hours. If you don’t follow this law, you could be charged with a misdemeanor or a crime, depending on how bad the accident was.
Boaters who don’t operate their boat or personal watercraft safely can also face criminal prosecution. This includes driving backward, weaving through a busy area, or following another boat too closely. Drunk boating is illegal and is punishable by the same penalties as drunk driving, including felony charges in an accident, losing boating privileges, fines, and jail time. If you have been involved in a boating accident, it is important to speak with a boat accident lawyer who is familiar with Indiana’s laws and can help you protect your rights.
Indiana’s Boating Laws
Indiana law requires boat operators to have a valid driver’s license, and anyone who has never been licensed must complete an approved boater education course. The course must be approved by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and the student must have a BMV ID card.
There are also age restrictions in Indiana. No one under 15 may operate a 10-hp motorboat or PWC. However, 15-year-olds can operate a motorboat or PWC until they are licensed drivers, provided they finish a boater education course and have a BMV ID card.
If you have been involved in a boat accident, it is important to speak to an experienced boat accident lawyer who can help you navigate the complex legal process.
Types of Boating Accidents
There are four main types of boat accidents:
- Collisions with other boats
- Ship wake collisions
- The waves strike the boat
- And the boat strikes against another object or land.
Collisions With Other Boats
In Indiana, both boat operators are frequently at fault in an accident, which means that injured passengers on either boat could sue both operators. If one driver was wounded, he or she could only sue the other driver if he or she was less than 50% at fault. The motorboat is more likely to be at fault in a sailboat-motorboat collision because “The Rules of the Road” instruct motorboats to avoid sailboats.
Ship Wake Collisions
Hitting another boat’s wake can be a dangerous proposition. The jolt from the impact can easily push passengers overboard, and the boat itself can be damaged.
Culpability in a boat wake accident can depend on several factors, such as:
- The magnitude of the wake
- Boat traffic in the vicinity of the accident
- and whether the operator advised passengers of a large wake.
In Indiana, people who drive boats must follow federal and state rules and regulations, as well as safe ways to drive boats.
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the operator of the boat that caused the wake may be held responsible for your injuries. For example, if the boats were in a no wake zone, any wake would be considered negligence.
Alternatively, if the boat was zipping through a crowded location and produced a significant wake, the operator may be deemed irresponsible. In contrast, if the accident occurred in a remote area, it is unlikely that the other driver would be found at fault.
Waves Striking The Boat
These accidents can be very dangerous and often result in serious injuries or even death. Waves striking the boat can cause the boat to capsize or sink, and can also create a powerful current that can pull swimmers away from the boat and into danger.
Boat Crash Against Another Object or Land
Anyone who has been on a boat knows it can be tricky to operate. Even in good weather and with good visibility, it is possible to hit a submerged object.
In bad weather and with poor visibility, the risk of running aground or hitting the coast is even greater. If you are involved in a boat crash, the operator’s liability will depend on the conditions at the time of the accident.
If the operator had nautical charts and was traveling slowly and cautiously, he or she may not be considered negligent. But if the boating accident happened in thick fog and the driver didn’t have any charts or a GPS, crashing into a jetty would be seen as carelessness.
Lack of Safety Gear Onboard
Indiana law requires that every boat have certain safety equipment on board, including life jackets, throwable life rings, navigational lights, flares, loud whistles, and fire extinguishers. Lack of safety equipment won’t cause an accident, but it can hinder rescue efforts.
Flares and whistles help handicapped boat passengers signal passing boats. Life jackets and life rings help rescue people who fall overboard. Without sufficient safety measures, the boat’s owner might be sued for carelessness.