Recreational boating is one of the most popular activities in Rhode Island, with approximately 40,000 boats registered in 2020. With that many boats on the water, not to mention the number of swimmers, divers, kayakers, and other personal watercraft, it's no wonder that boating accidents are on the rise.
If you or a loved one is the victim of a boat accident, it's important to understand your right to compensation. The Rhode Island boat accident lawyers at Karns & Kerrison can evaluate your case during a free consultation and help you determine your next steps.
If you or your loved one was injured in an accident involving a recreational watercraft, contact Karns & Kerrison.
Who Can Sue for Damages in Boat Accidents?
People injured as a result of negligence on recreational boats, including powerboats and sailboats, have the right to sue and recover damages from the negligent party. This includes:
- Passengers in a personal watercraft who is injured as a result of the operator's negligence;
- Passengers who are injured when another watercraft strikes their vehicle;
- Or the operator of the personal watercraft if he or she is injured as a result of another party's negligence.
Boat accidents involving recreational swimmers are also covered under this law. Swimmers, snorkelers, or scuba divers who are injured when struck by boats or due to another act of negligence may seek damages for their injuries.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Boat Accident Claim?
At Karns & Kerrison, we help injured individuals and the family members of those killed in serious boat accidents determine their legal options and fight for the full, fair recovery they are owed.
The recovery for these damages differs from case to case, but often includes:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of use
- Permanent injuries
- Permanent loss of income or reduced income
- Emotional distress
Common Causes of Boating Accident Injuries
There are many different types of accidents that can occur on the water. The United States Coast Guard keeps annual statistics of common causes of recreational watercraft accidents, including:
- Negligent operation - This can consist of the recreational boat operator not being experienced and not knowing how to utilize the boat properly such as going too close to other boats or going into a high wave in the wrong direction. It can also occur if the boating operator is intoxicated or allows passengers to be intoxicated causing problems on board. Going too fast on the water causes multiple fatalities and other injuries every year.
- Lack of safety devices and training - Many casualties are caused by the boat owner or operator not having the proper equipment on board the boat such as sufficient life preservers or failing to explain how to properly use them. Overcrowding by allowing more people on the boat than is recommended by the manufacturer or Coast Guard promotes the likelihood of injuries. Allowing a passenger to ride on the bow of the bow, especially in rough weather, can cause severe injuries.
- Negligent manufacturing - Product liability can also be a cause of boating casualties as the boat is not manufactured properly including poor designs or the seating not being properly anchored to the boat.
In addition to injuries on powerboats and sailboats, there are other types of recreational accidents that can occur on the water. Some of these injuries are as follows:
- Injuries on personal watercraft such as Jet Skis, Wave Runners, or small Jet Boats. These injuries are usually caused by the negligent operation of the watercraft, including driving while intoxicated, going too fast and striking objects, and allowing overcrowding on the personal watercraft.
- People that are enjoying the water by swimming, snorkeling, or scuba diving can be injured by a passing watercraft.
If you or someone you love has sustained a serious injury in a boat accident in Providence or anywhere in Rhode Island, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. We can give you the information you need to make the right decisions for your family and your future.
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