Over 600 Americans die in boating accidents every year, and as a coastal state, Rhode Island is home to a fair share of these tragedies. When boat collisions, malfunctions, or capsize events lead to injury and death, victims and their families may not know where to turn for help. We can evaluate your case and explain your legal options.
As long as the fault for a boating accident does not rest with you, you may be eligible to receive compensation to cover injuries, lost wages, and more. A Middletown boat accident lawyer can help you maximize your settlement. Karns & Kerrison works directly with you to create a legal strategy that meets your needs. Come to our firm for caring service and a team of strong litigators ready to fight for you.
Liability in Boating Accidents
Being out on a boat means being a long way away from help. This makes accidents especially dangerous. The risk may come from the weather, other boaters, or circumstantial factors. Where liability rests will depend on the cause of the accident.
The Operator of Your Boat
Successfully guiding a boat through difficult weather requires skill and practice. Anyone who is not prepared to handle adverse conditions can make a dangerous mistake. Whether an accident was caused by inexperience, attention, or another error, the operator can be held liable.
A survey of boating accidents found that 74% of fatalities happened when the operator of a boat was not safety certified. Anyone who operates a boat with an engine over 10 hp needs a boating license in Rhode Island, but many watercraft are sold with 9.9 hp engines so boaters can avoid this requirement. However, just because something is legal does not mean it’s safe, and license or no, a boat operator is expected to act safely at all times.
Another Boat or Watercraft Operator
Even on the open oceans unsafe boaters can cause collisions or endanger another craft that is in their wake. When this happens, anyone who is injured should ensure they get contact information from the at-fault operator so you can make a claim. The most common causes of accidents among recreational boaters are:
- Operator inattention
- Improper lookout
- Operator inexperience
- Excessive speed
- Alcohol use
Alcohol and boats don’t mix well, and operators with a BAC above .08% may be charged with a BUI. Even after one drink, someone’s judgment may be impaired, leading to an increased risk of an accident and giving you a reason to file a claim.
In a case where both boat operators contributed to the collision, your settlement payment would be split between them depending on the percentage of fault. Complex accidents like these require an experienced lawyer on your side.
A Boat Designer, Manufacturer, or Seller
Boats that are poorly designed, come with defective parts, or do not include sufficient instruction and/or warnings can put operators and riders in danger. The companies behind these faults can be held liable for any damages caused by a malfunctioning watercraft. You could also be able to file a suit if safety gear, like a lifejacket, does not function as expected.
Proving a boat defect requires assistance from an engineer and other professional experts. Our firm has the resources to launch in-depth investigations and a network of consultants ready to help with your case.
Damages in Boat Accident Claims
When injured in a boating accident, your expenses may go far beyond the cost of your initial treatments. Our lawyers can help you identify the damages you may be eligible to receive, including:
- Medical bills
- Future medical needs
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Pain and suffering
Altogether, if you’re in a severe accident, these damages can add up to much more than your initial settlement offer. Make sure you speak with a lawyer before signing anything, so you know whether you’re receiving a fair payout.
What Injuries Do Boat Accidents Usually Cause?
The amount of compensation you’re eligible for depends on the extent of your losses. Injuries can range from mild to severe. In personal watercraft accidents, the most common areas of injury are the:
- Skin (superficial)
- Lower limbs
There is also a danger of drowning accidents, which can cause lasting damages if a victim is deprived of oxygen for more than a few seconds.
When injuries are superficial, filing an accident claim may not be worth it—but anything that causes you to miss a significant amount of work or requires ongoing treatment can lead to significant losses. An injury claim can help you secure your financial future, so you do not have to worry about how you can afford medical care and other needs.
We’re Here for Boating Accident Victims in Middletown
Karns & Kerrison has been fighting for the victims of serious accidents and injuries for over 45 years. We know how to provide the legal support you need. Our team also offers compassion and guidance to the injured and their families as they search for a path forward after an accident.
An experienced personal injury firm can provide comprehensive assistance for the challenges that come along with serious injuries. Reach out to us today to learn about your legal options and how we can help you make the most of them.
Karns & Kerrison offers free consultations to clients in and around Middletown. If you’ve been in a boat accident caused by someone else, reach out to our attorneys today.
Car Accident Traumatic Brain InjuryI would definitely recommend Karns & Kerrison to anyone who asked - they come through for you.
- Patricia Feeley
Slipped on Greasy FloorI have no reservations whatsoever in recommending Karns & Kerrison.
- Mike Carey
Rear End CollisionNothing but positive results from consultation, to filing the legal suit, handling of a major operation, to recovery and finalizing a generous settlement.
- Larry Goldfarb
Horrible Car AccidentThey not only got me a fair settlement, they helped to get me well.
Motor Vehicle Accident - Braga BridgeIt was comforting to know I had someone watching out for me.
- Jeanie Small
Pedestrian hit by CarI did not know where to turn when I realized I needed legal help but I am very happy that I found Karns & Kerrison.