Boat Accidents

Federal, state, and international maritime laws each have their own regulations regarding boating accidents.  As a result, building a claim to receive compensation can be a complicated process.

Boat Accidents

If you have been injured in a boating accident, you may be entitled to compensation.  Our personal injury attorneys understand the specifics that separate boating accidents from other vehicle accidents, and may be able to help — contact Zwillinger Wulkan to discuss your case.

Frequently Asked Questions

A boating operator may be considered negligent for:

  • Hitting a big wave or wake at excessive speed
  • Deciding to navigate in heavy weather, causing individuals to fall overboard
  • Contact with propellers
  • Operating at a high speed
  • Failing to carry safety equipment on board
  • Collisions with other boats or fixed object
  • Failing to know the “rules of the road,” as required by the FFWCC
  • Overcrowding and overloading the vessel

Boating Under the Influence
It is illegal to operate a vessel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  If an individual is suspected of driving a boat while intoxicated, they must submit to sobriety tests.  Refusal to submit to the test may result in the revocation of the operator’s boating and driving privileges.

Reckless & Careless Operation
Boating operators have a duty to operate their vessel in a reasonable and prudent manner with regard for other vessel traffic, posted restrictions, the presence of a divers-down flag, and other circumstances to ensure the safety of other boaters, guests, and property.  Failure to follow these regulations may result in a legal liability for careless operation.

Victims of boating accidents may be able to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for personal injuries and/or property damage.  In some cases, criminal charges may be brought against a boater if they operated recklessly, with gross negligence, or under the influence.

Negligence is the most common cause of action under which boating accident lawsuits are filed.  In most instances, the operator of the vessel may be held liable for negligence during a boating accident if they do not follow the prescribed boating rules, improperly pass another vessel, or fail to use/have proper safety equipment on board.  If the case goes to trial, a jury will determine if the operator of the boat operated the vessel in the same manner as a “reasonable boater.”

To collect damages, the plaintiff’s injuries must be directly linked to the boating accident.  It is important to collect evidence, including eyewitness testimony, law enforcement reports, and photographs of the scene of the accident and injuries, to support a negligence claim.  In these types of lawsuits, the injured party will have to prove that the boating accident was caused by another’s negligence or carelessness, they were injured as a result, and the negligent party is responsible for any related losses.

The party responsible for a boating accident injury will vary by case.  Liability for a boating accident and the law applicable to the injured party’s claim will depend on the individual’s status on the vessel (whether they were an employee, a guest, operator, or owner), as well as the location of the accident.  Accidents close to shore will likely fall under state and federal laws, while accidents further from shore may fall under maritime law.

Lawyers at Zwillinger Wulkan handle complex personal injury cases and have recovered millions of dollars for our clients to compensate them for their injuries and losses.