What do I do after a boating accident in Alabama?
According to the United States Coast Guard (USCG), the top five types of boating accidents in 2016 included collision with a recreational vehicle, collision with a fixed object, flooding and swamping, grounding, and capsizing. The USCG recorded 4,463 of these types of accidents in 2016. As a result of these accidents, 701 people died and 2,903 were injured. Also, the USCG recorded approximately $49 million dollars in damage to property resulting from recreational boating accidents in 2016. People drowned more than five times as often as any other cause of death, including trauma, cardiac arrest, and hypothermia.
The Coast Guard also included the top 10 causes of boating accidents in its 2016 report. As with drivers of personal vehicles, operator inattention is the leading cause of death and injury in boating accidents. Other common causes in order of reported fatalities and injuries include:
- Inexperience of operator
- Improper lookout
- Excessive speed
- Equipment failure
- Use of alcohol or drugs
- Inclement weather
- Violation of navigation rules
- Hazardous waters
- Force of the wake or wave
Regardless how your accident happened, you’re bound to be anxious and upset immediately afterwards. This can cause people to make foolish mistakes that can affect them indefinitely. When you are involved in a boating accident, your priority must be ensuring the safety of everyone on board and anyone else in the near vicinity of the boat. Once you are certain everyone is safe and you have called for help, the next thing you need to do is report the boating accident.
Laws Regarding Boating Accident Reporting
Federal law requires the following types of boating accidents to be reported to the local authorities:
- Any incident that resulted in injury or death of the boat operator and its passengers. If the accident involved a collision between two or more boats, you must report injuries or fatalities from each one of them.
- If a driver or any passengers cannot be accounted for in the immediate aftermath of the accident
- Property damage exceeding $2,000
The boat operator is the person who should report the accident. He or she has 10 days to do so, except when anyone involved in the accident was injured or killed. These types of boating accidents must be reported within two days.
You still have recourse if you sustained injuries in a boating accident that the operator did not report. We encourage you to contact the Law Office of J. Allan Brown, LLC as soon as possible after your injury to learn more about filing a lawsuit against the responsible party.
Boating accidents fall under the category of personal injury, which means that state law allows you up to two years from the date of the accident to sue for damages. This timeline is necessary because even significant injuries aren’t always apparent right away. However, the state may impose additional restrictions depending on the body of water where the accident occurred and the type of boating accident.
Injuries Sustained as a Passenger or Employee of a Cruise Ship
Companies that operate cruise ships typically have passengers and employees sign documentation that limits the time allowed to file a personal injury lawsuit. Some may bar you from suing at all. Legal documents can be complex enough that you don’t really understand what you are signing. When you are unclear about your rights or want to ensure that you file by the deadline, working with an experienced Alabama boating accident attorney is essential.
You Bear the Burden of Proving Negligence
As the plaintiff in a personal injury case, it’s up to you to prove that the negligent actions of the other party directly caused your injuries. The responsible party may have been negligent due to taking an incorrect action or failing to act at all. For the purposes of legal action, judges and juries consider whether the other party acted how a prudent individual would act in similar circumstances. With more than 25 years of experience behind us, the personal injury attorneys at J. Allan Brown, LLC are prepared to uncover the evidence that proves the accident happened exactly as you said it did.
Our law firm offers a free initial consultation to anyone who has been seriously injured or experienced the wrongful death of a loved one due to an accident on Alabama’s waters. Please contact our office in Mobile to request your appointment today. We can be reached at (251) 473-6691 or by using our online contact form.