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What to Do After a Boating Accident

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What to Do After a Boating Accident

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The injuries and damages sustained in a boating accident are unique due to the added factor of water and related risks. Additionally, the physical and financial effects of a boating accident can be long-lasting and may require specific compensation, so it’s a good idea to speak with a boating accident attorney who knows the ins and outs of the relevant laws. The steps taken immediately after a boating accident can have a significant impact on the outcome of a personal injury and/or insurance claim.

Common injuries in boating accidents:

  • Head injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Spinal cord injuries (SCI)
  • Broken or fractured bones
  • Oxygen deprivation injuries
  • Drowning
  • Death

Steps to follow immediately after a boating accident:

  • Seek medical attention for injured parties. Immediately after a boating accident, it is essential to ascertain the general safety of each person involved in the accident. If someone is seriously injured, contact the Coast Guard immediately to receive medical help as soon as possible.
  • Move to a safe location. It is important to move the vessel to a safe location if possible. Allowing a situation to persist in which another accident could occur can be catastrophic. While it is important to move the vessel or the parties involved out of harm’s way, anyone involved in the accident should not leave the scene of the accident until professionals arrive, except to move to a safer location.
  • Notify the Coast Guard. Regardless of whether anyone is injured, it’s important to contact the Coast Guard as soon as possible after a boating accident. If someone does need medical help, this ensures that help arrives as soon as possible. The Coast Guard will need to know the location of the boat so they can reach you as quickly as possible to begin assessing the accident and collecting evidence.
  • Exchange contact information. It’s important to exchange contact information with anyone involved in the accident. This can include other passengers, other boaters, and any witnesses to the situation. This contact information could come in handy later on when you are trying to confirm elements of the accident or obtain witness testimonies.
  • Document evidence. If possible, take pictures and/or videos of the accident and accompanying damages. If there is damage to the boat or other property, document it. Additionally, it’s important to document any injuries which occurred, regardless of how minor they might appear at first. It’s a good idea to seek medical attention after returning to land, even if an injury doesn’t seem severe at first. This ensures that a document will exist to confirm that an injury actually occurred.
  • Talk to an attorney. Finally, it’s important to speak to a boat accident attorney after a boating accident. The laws surrounding boating are specific and can be complicated to suss out. A boat accident lawyer can be immeasurably helpful in evaluating the accident, calculating the worth of your claim, and helping you obtain and present all the necessary evidence to prove the validity of your case. It might help to note that the majority of boat accident attorneys offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis, which means a client isn’t required to pay unless the attorney wins their case.

To learn more about what to do after a boating accident or if you or a loved one were injured in a boating accident, seek legal counsel.

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