Boating is a popular recreational activity in Georgia. There are more than 300,000 in the state and over 150 boat ramps people can use to access one of Georgia’s many lakes and waterways. If you are out on the water, we hope that you enjoy your time.
Nevertheless, boating is also a dangerous activity. According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the state saw a total of 135 boating incidents in 2017, resulting in 63 drownings and 15 fatalities. There were also 63 injuries. These numbers are in line with previous years. Boating under the influence also remains a problem in the state, with 189 BUIs in 2017.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, the boating accident lawyers at Slappey & Sadd in Atlanta want to hear from you. You might receive financial compensation which can cover medical expenses, lost wages, and intangible harms like pain and suffering. Call us today, 404-255-6677, to schedule a free consultation.Types of Boating Accidents
Boating accidents usually result from a collision of some sort, such as:
- Your boat strikes an object like a submerged rock or land.
- Your boat collides with another boat.
- Your boat smashes into another boat’s wake.
- Your boat hits a wave.
The force generated by these collisions can cause tremendous damage to both the boat and to passengers, who might suffer a direct hit or get tossed overboard after the impact.
In a few situations, accidents might not stem from collisions with other objects. For example, a boat might catch on fire or sink because of some defect or activity happening on the boat. In other situations, the operator might get lost and cause injury as you wait for rescue.Common Boating Accident Injuries
Boating collisions can leave victims with an array of physical injuries, including:
- Broken bones
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Soft tissue injuries involving ligaments and tendons
- Nerve damage
If a person is thrown overboard, they risk death by drowning or by hypothermia. Even near-drowning accidents can deprive the brain of oxygen, resulting in anoxic brain injuries that leave victims unable to care for themselves or unable to communicate.
Even relatively minor boating injuries can cause tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills as victims attempt to put the pieces of their lives back together. Fortunately, Georgia law allows victims to receive financial compensation when someone else is to blame for the injuries.Holding Others Legally Accountable
Before you can hold someone legally liable for your injuries, you typically must show that they were negligent or reckless and that this misconduct injured you. Every situation is different, but an experienced Georgia boating accident lawyer can analyze your case to see if someone else is to blame.
Typically, you might hold the following people liable:
- The boat operator. If this person made a mistake that caused you to get injured, then you can sue them for negligence. Common examples include not watching where they are going, boating while intoxicated, and engaging in risky behavior.
- The boat owner. You might have been injured because the boat did not have proper safety equipment which impeded your ability to be rescued. For example, a boat might lack life jackets, life rings, or flares. Because of this oversight, victims can suffer injuries.
- The boat manufacturer. A defect in the boat might have caused the boat to sink or catch on fire. Defects can also cause operators to lose control so that an accident results even where operators are being careful.
Every case requires evidence, and the evidence you need will depend on who you are suing and what you believe caused the accident. For example, if you are suing the operator for negligence, you will need to show that the operator did not handle the boat as a reasonably careful person would. You can collect testimony from other people on the boat as well as evidence about blood alcohol concentration (BAC), which a Georgia boating accident lawyer can obtain. Other helpful evidence includes:
- Your own memories of what happened
- Any video recorded on the boat that captured the accident
- The operator’s own testimony which you can obtain in a deposition or through written interrogatories
- Any statements the operator made in the unguarded moments after an accident
By contrast, if a boat defect injured you, then you typically need proof of the defect, which might have existed in the design of the boat or its manufacture. Injured victims can receive compensation if a boat or its component part was unreasonably dangerous and if this defect led to your injuries. Because defects are not always easy to see, you might need an expert witness to investigate the boat for defects. A boating accident lawyer in Georgia can help you find an appropriate expert.Other Watercraft Accidents
Georgia’s waterways host a variety of watercraft in addition to boats. You might have been injured on a jet ski, kayak, canoe, or a sailboat. This watercraft is also involved in their fair share of accidents, which might also be the fault of an operator or the manufacturer. Lawsuits will proceed similarly as injuries caused by a boat.How a Boating Accident Lawyer in Georgia Can Help
In the days and weeks following a boating accident, you might have many questions and not know where to turn. Injured victims need to focus on healing, but insurance adjusters might be calling at all hours, and you might be worried about how you will support yourself if your injuries are serious.
Fortunately, injured boat accident victims have options for obtaining compensation and replacing any lost wages if they cannot return to work. By working with a boating accident lawyer, you can preserve evidence and protect your right to compensation by filing a legal complaint in an appropriate court. Depending on the defendant, you might also negotiate a settlement for compensation for medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.Speak with an Experienced Attorney in Atlanta, Georgia Today
Avoid delay. Georgia’s statute of limitations gives accident victims only two years from the date of their injury to bring a lawsuit. If you wait too long, you can lose your ability to receive compensation from the person at fault for your accident. The lawyers at Slappey & Sadd are available and ready to discuss your boating accident and help you determine next best steps. Calls us today at 404-255-6677 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.