If you were injured or your boat suffered damage, a New Orleans recreational boat accident lawyer can help you get some much-needed compensation so you can get back on the water with minimal stress.
It’s important to remember that there are several laws and rules in place to ensure safe boating, and if you experienced a boat accident because of someone else’s negligence, the professional personal injury attorneys at Scott Vicknair can help. Read on to learn more about safe boating, and contact us for a free consultation.
Boat Accidents Deserve Legal Intervention
Whether you’re boating for pleasure or boating for business, you need to remember that boating accidents have the potential to cause serious injury, financial damage, and even death. Much like a car accident, they require legal input if you’re seeking monetary damages.
If your boat accident caused death, injuries that required more than simple first aid, or more than $2,000 in damages, you’ll have to report it to the police. Of course, what comes after your boat accident can be a lengthy and complicated legal headache. A court may have to determine who was at fault, and you may need a New Orleans boat accident attorney to make sure you’re protected.
Determining Fault in a Boat Accident
There are rules of the road when it comes to boating. These rules are much like traffic laws on land, and they’re intended to keep everyone safe. And, much like traffic laws, if a party was found to be in violation of one of these rules when they were involved in an accident, the blame for the accident may rest squarely with them.
There are some common sense rules to boating, but it’s important to remember the basic rules of right of way as well. Violating the right of way in a boat can land you in legal trouble, especially if there’s an accident involved.
- First priority: Vessels that are not under command. The rules of priority for boating right of way are largely based on a vessel’s maneuverability. A vessel that is not under command (or otherwise incapable of maneuvering) gets top priority in boating traffic.
- Second priority: A vessel being overtaken. If you’re approaching another boat from astern, and that boat starts to make a maneuver, you have to yield.
- Third priority: A boat engaged in fishing. Fishing boats with deployed fishing equipment are much less maneuverable than other watercraft. You should yield to them and allow them plenty of space.
- Fourth priority: A vessel under sail. Sailboats rely on the wind to get around, and are thus less maneuverable than a powered vessel. A sailboat that is actively under sail (i.e. using only sails for propulsion) has higher priority than a powered vessel, but if a sailboat is using its inboard motor, it loses priority.
- Fifth priority: A powered vessel. Power-driven vessels are capable of the most maneuverability and thus have the lowest priority in terms of yielding.
If a boat fails to respect right of way, the boat’s operator may be on the hook for serious financial damages.
Pursuing A Legal Case After A Boating Accident
Accidents that occur on a watercraft can be hazardous, and when another party’s negligent actions result in damages like physical injuries, property damage, or even death, a New Orleans boat accident lawyer is available to offer the necessary legal assistance. There are several reasons boat accidents may happen, and despite best efforts to prevent an accident from happening, it’s still possible to fall victim to this type of catastrophic event. Operators of watercrafts have a duty of care to not only their passengers but also others who are on the water, and when boat operators breach their duty of care, they may be held responsible for the losses that are faced by the victim(s). When an accident on the water happens, Scott Vicknair, LLC knows that the scene can be incredibly chaotic, especially in situations where victims are severely injured or thrown from the vessel. Because of this, it’s imperative to take critical steps at the scene and the days, weeks, and months after.
Most Common Types of Boating Accidents
There are many reasons people may be on the water, for leisure, travel, work, etc., and while spending time on the water can be enjoyable, should an accident happen, the impact on those involved stand to experience horrific losses. While boating accidents are less common than car accidents, thousands of boating accidents happen each year, which can result in severe losses. Our New Orleans leisure boat accident lawyer will share that some of the most common types of car accidents include:
- Collisions with Other Boats
- Collisions with Other Objects
- Explosions or Fires
- Intoxicated Boating
- Equipment Failures
While spending time on the water can be a fun way to spend time, when the utmost care is not taken and safety protocols are not adhered to, this activity can take a turn and quickly become a dangerous scenario.
Boat Accident Prevention
Boating can be dangerous when the proper precautions are not taken. Poor boating conditions, boater inexperience, alcohol consumption, and reckless behavior can all contribute to accidents. It’s vital for the person operating the boat and the passengers to understand how to operate a watercraft, have boater safety knowledge, and clearly understand how to prevent an accident. Critical tips for preventing boat accidents include:
- Never drink while operating a boat
- Ensuring that there are enough life jackets on board for all passengers
- Understanding and adhering to all boating laws
- Making sure that there is a radio on board in the event of an emergency
- Continuously checking the conditions to ensure the boat can safely operate on the water
- Engaging in a course for boater safety
While in some cases, nothing can be done to stop an accident from happening, especially when there are other negligent boaters on the water, being adequately prepared can help prevent an accident and the damages that could follow.
Steps to Take After an Accident
The moments immediately following a boating accident can be incredibly chaotic. Depending upon the nature of the accident, people could be seriously injured, and some may have even been thrown from the boat. If immediate action is not taken, the impacts can be truly catastrophic. Following an accident, it’s essential to:
- Ensure the safety of passengers
- Ensure medical attention is received
- Report the accident
- Contact an experienced lawyer
- Seek medical treatment
- Gather as much evidence as possible
- Consider filing a legal claim for damages
To learn more about how our boat accident lawyer from Scott Vicknair, LLC helps victims of boating accidents to receive what they deserve, schedule a consultation as quickly as possible.
Steps To Take When Filing A Legal Claim
When accident victims experience losses resulting from another person’s negligence, they should consider speaking with a New Orleans attorney for a clear strategy for moving forward. Accidents of this nature can undoubtedly range in severity, yet it’s crucial to be aware that even minor damages can significantly impact a victim’s life. Victims may face financial loss from missed time away from work and medical expenses. In addition, property damage may be experienced along with physical pain from injuries, some of which may result in lifelong debilitations. While injury recovery should be the top focus for victims, one way to prioritize recovery is to consider speaking with a lawyer from Scott Vicknair, LLC. Working with a legal professional offers several advantages, which can help victims prioritize recovery from injuries and ensure appropriate steps are taken toward filing a legal claim with the insurance company. The following are key steps to consider when seeking damages after a boat accident:
Step #1 Consult with Prospective Lawyers
It’s essential to locate an area lawyer with experience in this area of practice. Remember that there are stringent timeframes when filing a personal injury claim. In Louisiana, the statute of limitations from the accident or discovery of the injuries is one year. Start by searching for lawyers who come highly recommended, have a good track record, and bring with them ample experience and resources. Once a prospective lawyer has been identified, victims should schedule a consultation, many of which are complimentary. However, it’s essential to remember that when meeting with a New Orleans boat accident lawyer, victims will have the opportunity to ask questions, understand the capabilities of the prospective lawyer, and hear about the strategy they will develop to produce results.
Step #2: Determine the Responsible Party
Cases of this nature can be complex, and at times, it may be challenging to determine who may be responsible for the accident. In some situations, there may be multiple liable parties, including the boat operator, owner, or manufacturer. A lawyer will carefully investigate the details surrounding the case to determine whether a duty of care was owed, the defendant breached their duty of care, and as a result, their negligence caused the victim’s accidents and losses; they will likely recommend moving forward in taking legal action.
Step #3: Keep Diligent Records
To receive compensation for losses that resulted in a boating accident, victims must gather evidence and keep records that are diligent and accurate. The victim should write down their personal account of the accident, the injuries they are currently facing, and essential details regarding their recovery. In addition, victims should keep written records every step of the way, including any interactions with the defendant, the defendant’s lawyer, the defendant’s insurance company, or anyone directly involved in the accident. Depending upon case specifics, it may be helpful to have the help of a private investigator to gather details surrounding the accident.
Step #4: File a Claim with the Party Responsible
Once it has been determined that filing a claim with the insurance company is the proper step forward, a lawyer will carefully review the case’s details to determine its value. Typically, a legal professional will work to prove the case and value potential compensation by gathering evidence proving a breach of duty of care, negligence, and damages the victim is experiencing. All of this information is outlined in a demand letter sent to the insurance company. Once the insurance company receives the demand letter, they will assign an adjuster to review the case and determine whether they will accept the claim, offer a settlement, or deny it. Typically, once the insurance company responds to the plaintiff’s lawyer, they may offer compensation to the victim, at which point the negotiation process is initiated. During negotiations, a lawyer will work to gain the highest compensation levels possible for their client.
The days, weeks, and months following a boating accident can be deeply challenging for accident victims as they work to receive treatment and make the best possible recovery. However, at some point, victims may consider seeking legal action against the responsible party to obtain compensation for losses. For victims to ensure they receive the opportunity to retain the compensation they are entitled to, consider speaking with our recreational boat crash attorneys.
Contact a New Orleans Recreational Boat Accident Attorney
A boating accident can be dangerous and expensive, and you deserve all the legal help you can get to set things straight. Get in touch with Scott Vicknair today and see how a New Orleans boat accident attorney from our office can help.