Atlanta Boat Accident Lawyer
Boating may not be the first thing that comes to mind when people outside of Georgia think about our state, but with 14 river basins, 23 large lakes, over 425,000 acres of public lakes and reservoirs, and about 100 miles of Atlantic coastline, Georgia is the home of thousands of boat owners and boating enthusiasts. In fact, more than 319,000 boats are registered in the state of Georgia. Unfortunately, anywhere you have that many boats and boaters, there will be accidents and injuries, and some of those will be quite serious and occasionally fatal.
Scores of Georgia residents and visitors are seriously injured every year in boating accidents in this state, but if you are injured by the negligence of a boat operator in a boat accident or collision, speak at once with an experienced Atlanta boat accident attorney at Spaulding Injury Law. Under Georgia law, injured victims of negligence are entitled to compensation for all of their medical expenses, lost wages, and more – if they can prove that they were genuinely injured and that the injury was caused by another person’s negligence.
What Are the Causes of Boating Accidents in Georgia?
Intoxication, recklessness, and distraction are the leading causes of boating accidents. Defective equipment – primarily safety devices and engines – can also be a cause of boating accidents and serious injuries. If you are injured by a boat operator’s negligence or by a boating equipment failure in Georgia, do not agree to any settlement, sign any insurance forms, or speak with any insurance company representative before you consult an experienced Atlanta boat accident attorney at Spaulding Injury Law. Any settlement you are offered quickly will very likely be for an amount that is far less than the real value of your injury claim.
Do not admit any fault or responsibility for the accident. Take as many photos as you can of the injuries, property damage, and the accident site. Make copies of any paperwork you are given by law officers or medical providers because of the accident. Seek medical attention immediately, and then speak to an experienced Atlanta boat accident attorney at Spaulding Injury Law. When you become our client after a boating injury, an attorney can examine the evidence, interrogate the witnesses, and if necessary have the boat scrutinized by experts to determine if flawed equipment had any part in causing the accident.
Common Boating Accident Injuries
Boat accidents are not just car accidents on the water. The fact that the accidents occur on the water means there is less opportunity to escape and fewer options for avoiding injury. Some of the more common injuries in a boating accident are:
Traumatic Brain Injuries – Many boating accidents throw the unseated victim around the boat. If the passenger’s head impacts the boat or its equipment, traumatic brain injury can result.
Lacerations – Cuts and abrasions can happen when boats collide or when swimmers make contact with sharp propellers.
Burns – Fires at sea are highly dangerous because there is such limited opportunity for escape. Fires can result from collisions with other boats or from equipment failures. Potential explosions and fires leave victims vulnerable to severe burns and the resulting long-term healing process.
Whiplash – As with land vehicle accidents, the sudden jolting and jerking that occurs during an accident can damage the soft tissues in the neck and upper spine, causing the long-term pain and mobility issues prevalent in whiplash.
Spinal Cord Injuries – The same jolting and tossing of victims in a boating accident can cause vertebral fractures and related spinal cord injuries. These injuries can be severe and have life-shattering consequences.
Drowning – When a boating accident throws a passenger overboard or when a victim actually falls overboard, the potential for drowning is very high. Death in this manner may be cause for a wrongful death action.
Amputations – Contact with propellers or with glass and other sharp debris in an accident can result in the loss of limbs through amputation. Passengers and those swimming near boats should exercise extreme caution in avoiding the propellers of other boats, particularly in crowded areas like harbors.
Fractures and Sprains – Again, the tossing about that can occur in a violent collision between two boats, involving both passengers and equipment, can result in broken limbs and soft tissue injuries. Seat belts and remaining seated when expected can help to prevent these injuries.
Causes of Boat Accident Injuries
Boating accidents have many causes, some but not all of them similar to the causes of accidents on land. Some of the more typical causes include:
Reckless Operation of the Boat – Failure to observe safety requirements such as designated seating and use of life jackets can constitute reckless operation of a boat. For the driver of the boat, things like violating low wake rules, failing to pay attention to other boats in the area, failing to yield to other boats when required, and failing to maintain required distances from other boats are all signs of recklessness that can result in an accident.
Operating Boat While Under the Influence – Driving a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is as reckless on the water as operating a car on the highway in the same condition is. Drugs, whether legal or illegal, and alcohol slow reaction times and interfere with good judgment, both of which can severely impact the safe operation of a boat. The same blood alcohol content level that is illegal on the road, 0.08 percent, is illegal for the operation of a boat. A boating DUI can result in criminal charges, large fines, suspension of boating privileges, and sometimes even jail time.
Inexperienced Operator – People seem to think it’s all right to let anyone operate a boat for some inexplicable reason. However, the captain remains responsible for the safety of those aboard and should not permit unlicensed or inexperienced drivers to operate the board. Drivers who do not know what they are doing are more likely to get into accidents, including those resulting from simply not knowing how to operate the boat proficiently.
Speeding – Most of us don’t really think about speeding on a boat. However, there are often speed limits in particular areas such as harbors. Further, operating a boat at excessive speeds can make it difficult to control the boat and avoid other nearby vessels.
Weather Conditions– Bad weather increases the likelihood of any and all kinds of accidents. Large waves, heavy rains, and high winds can make the boat difficult to manage and may even cause it to capsize. Checking for weather forecasts and operating safety equipment can help prevent these accidents.
Passenger Conduct – The captain needs to ensure that passengers don’t violate safety rules while enjoying their boating adventure. Passengers should remain seated when required and should move carefully when they aren’t seated. Passengers should wear life jackets as required and avoid becoming overly drunk or reckless.
Onboard Slip and Fall – Slippery decks and equipment movement due to high waves or winds can easily result in slip and fall injuries on the deck. Such falls can cause serious injuries, particularly if the victim experiences a head injury, and may result in an overboard accident. All passengers and crew must wear appropriate shoes and life jackets to prevent falls and injuries that result from them.
Propeller Accidents – Those individuals swimming around or near boats can suffer injuries from contact with the sharp propellers. These blades, especially if moving, can cause severe lacerations or even loss of limbs.
Run-Over Accidents – The run-over accident is another danger facing those swimming around boats and smaller vehicles sharing the water with larger boats. Victims are often on smaller watercraft like jet skis and small boats or engaged in diving and snorkeling. Occurring most often in high traffic areas like harbors, these accidents can result in severe injuries.
Overboard – A fall overboard is a surprisingly common boating accident. Sudden changes in speed or direction, or even in the weather, can cause someone to fall overboard. If the faller can’t swim or gets injured on the way into the water, this kind of fall can quickly become a serious problem. Even worse, if no one notices the fall, the situation can rapidly become very dangerous indeed.
Boat collisions – Common in high traffic areas like harbors, boat collisions often cause passenger injuries. Passengers who are not seated may be thrown about and suffer fractures and concussions. If the impact is severe, fires and explosions may also result from the collision causing even more serious injuries and potential death.
How Else Can an Atlanta Boat Accident Attorney Help?
If a boat operator was intoxicated, reckless, or distracted when he or she injured someone, that boat operator can be held responsible for his or her carelessness when the boating accident victim pursues a personal injury claim. By investigating thoroughly and building the case on solid facts along with eyewitness and expert testimony, an Atlanta boat accident attorney can help an injury victim receive full monetary compensation for medical treatment, lost earnings, and sometimes much more.
After a boating injury, and after you’ve received medical attention, speak promptly with an experienced attorney at Spaulding Injury Law by calling 770-744-0890. You may also reach us by filling out the contact form right here on the website. The attorneys at Spaulding Injury Law are ready and prepared to protect the rights of our clients and to advocate aggressively for justice on their behalf. Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyers is located at 50 Hurt Plaza SE #1536, Atlanta, GA 30303, United.