Speed boat accidents involve the captain, the boat, and the passengers. The captain/owner is required to report accidents that occur while operating a boat. So when you are involved in a boating accident and crash into another ship or object, what do you do now? And if you are a passenger on a boat that is involved in an accident what do you do to make sure you are protected?
Just like car accidents, you have to report boating accidents. This is especially true if you are an injured passenger on a boat. Under federal law, the accident must be reported to the United States Coast Guard. In New Jersey you are to report the accident to the New Jersey State Police. When you’re involved in a boating accident, you should know what to do during and after the accident.
Here are vital steps you should take in the event a boating accident occurs. Here, we’ll break down what you should do.
Ensure Your Passengers Are Safe
The first thing you should do is make sure that you and the other passengers are safe. This is essential in deciding the next actions to take in the aftermath of a boating accident. When you’ve been in a speedboating accident, ensure the safety of you and your passengers by:
- Getting a headcount of your passengers. If anyone has gone overboard, try to assist them back on the boat if conditions are safe. If it’s unsafe, then throw them a flotation device or rope so they don’t drift.
- Checking if anyone needs medical care. Use the boat’s emergency medical kit if minor injuries occur. If someone is experiencing severe or life-threatening injuries, contact the Coast Guard immediately.
- If you’re able to drop your anchor to keep your boat from drifting too far from the accident site.
- Of course the #1 thing that can prevent serious injury from a boating accident is to make sure everyone is wearing their life jackets BEFORE the accident.
Once you’ve taken these precautions, it’s helpful to take photographs of the wreckage for insurance and liability purposes. It’s also good to write down any notes about what happened before and after the accident.
Report the Accident and Get Help
Contact the Coast Guard after a boating accident. In New Jersey you must report the boating accident to the New Jersey State Police. This is especially important for any necessary medical attention. According to federal law, you should report your boating accident, and if you check any of the following descriptions, you should also report to your state’s reporting authority:
- A fatality or missing person
- A serious or life-threatening injury
- The vessel is destroyed
- Significant property damage of $2,000 or more
Here are some more requirements under federal law:
- A report must be filed within 24 hours of an accident if the vessel is completely destroyed or there is a death .
- A report must be filed within 48 hours of an accident if there is damage or injury that requires more than first aid to treat; and
- A report must be filed within 10 days of a boating accident that causes more than $2,000 damage to boats or other property.
Reporting your accident is required by federal law, and your local reporting authority, like the New Jersey State Police, and a necessary step for any injury lawsuit or boat damage insurance claim. It helps to take any photographs and make detailed notes about the accident to support your case. When reporting the accident you should only state the facts and leave personal speculation or apologies out of the report.
If your accident involves another boat or multiple parties, get the information of the other parties’ boat model, make, and registration number, in addition to their insurance company and personal contact information. Note the time, day, and location of the accident and take account of eyewitnesses. Get contact information of the witnesses, too, as they can help support your case.
Always report your boating accident, even if you don’t need medical or emergency services, or if the boat’s damage is $2,000 or more.
What Information Should Be Gathered in a Boating Accident Report?
You should always report your accident no matter how big or small. With that being said, it’s essential to know what information you should gather at the accident. But what information is required?
- For those involved in the crash, provide the name, phone number, and addresses of the boat operators and passengers.
- Obtain the contact information and names of witnesses from the shore or other boats.
- Get the ID number and registration of the other boats involved in the accident.
- Collect Insurance company and policy numbers of the parties involved.
As mentioned before, taking photographs of the scene would be helpful for the boating accident, in addition to other notes you can provide. For example, some of your notes could list how many people were involved, any fatalities or missing persons, and types of damage created.
Gathering the correct information at the scene of the accident is vital for your boating accident report and your insurance and injury claims. Make sure to contact your lawyer for representation for your case.
Notify Your Insurance Company
When you and your passengers are safely onshore and have reported the accident to local authorities, it’s time to report your boating accident to your insurance company. Even if the accident was minor, you still need to inform your insurance company. It’s essential to explain all of the details to your insurance provider, in addition to sending in photographs and notes of the accident. Send in the report forms to your insurance company, too.
If You Were Injured In A Boating Accident Do Not Speak To The Insurance Company
If you were injured in a boating accident, it is best to have an attorney speak on your behalf to the insurance company. Insurance companies take statements on recorded lines. Innocent mistakes in explaining things or adding personal feelings can undermine any future lawsuit. If you’re a victim of a boating accident from negligent or careless behavior on behalf of another boater, you can work with your lawyer for potential compensation. If you’ve suffered medically, lost wages, experienced emotional duress, or wrongful death has taken place, receiving possible compensation can help you.
Seek Any Additional Medical Care
Although you’ll most likely receive medical attention once you’re onshore, it’s essential to follow up with additional medical care weeks after the accident. This is especially important if you need to follow up with a specialist, require surgery, or need to undergo physical therapy for your injuries. See if the other parties’ insurance company, or your own, can cover medical expenses.
Prolonging medical care after an accident can be disadvantageous for your case. If there’s a possibility for compensation, reach out to your lawyer for representation on your case.
For Serious Injuries, What Is the Legal Process?
In the aftermath of your accident, it might seem like a hassle to get more people involved in your case. However, you could be missing out on potential compensation and peace of mind. Getting legal help for injuries, pain and suffering, or lost wages from your injury is vital for your stability following an accident. So, what are some legal steps you can take?
- Get a personal injury lawyer: For more minor injury claims, you could settle them yourself. However, for your boating accident, you’ll want an experienced lawyer on your side to represent you. Contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
- Make a claim: Contact the person(s) responsible for your injury to inform them of your claim. You will need to contact the person responsible and their insurance company.
- Collect other information (like medical history, invoices on boat damage, etc.): As you continue getting treated for any medical issues in the aftermath of your accident, gather any critical medical information to help your case. You can also take this time to gather lost wage amounts or property damage estimates.
- Make negotiations on settlements: On behalf of your attorney, they will discuss compensation to the party responsible and their insurance company, either before or after filing a lawsuit. This can be tricky as both parties have their view on the accident and what the compensation should be worth. It can take time to negotiate a settlement. Either a settlement will be reached, or a suit is filed and taken to court.
- Reach the settlement or file a lawsuit: Once you settle, notify your lawyer for you to accept. If you disagree with the offer, this is when you’ll file your suit and take your case to court.
- Lawsuit process in court: There are four main steps to handling a lawsuit in court.
- The initiation begins when you and your lawyer submit a document of damages and the compensation you wish to obtain.
- You’ll give a deposition (testify under oath) during the litigation period. This is important to record for court records.
- he case will end up in trial, where the jury will discuss the given evidence and facts.
- he judge and jury will come to a decision and declare what compensation, if any, will be awarded to you.
While these steps can become overwhelming, it’s in your best interest to seek representation and work with your attorney for potential compensation. With the help of a personal injury lawyer, you can work towards a settlement for your injuries, pain and suffering, low wages, and other financial burdens.
Contact Us Today
Are you struggling to find a personal injury lawyer for your speed boating accident? If so, you’ve come to the right place. At the Sadaka Associates – Litigation with Purpose, we’ll offer legal assistance and representation throughout the legal process. Filing a personal injury claim can be complicated and stressful. Our team of professional and experienced lawyers is here to help. Call the Law Offices of Sadaka Associates for your speed boating accident today at (1-800) 810-3457.