Maritime or Boat Accident: Personal Injury Claims & Lawsuits
A maritime or boat accident that results in injury is a complex situation, and it can be difficult to determine if someone is liable for your injuries, medical costs and other damages. Knowing when you should contact a personal injury lawyer to handle your maritime or boat accident claim can be the differentiating factor in whether or not you are fairly compensated for your injuries.
Should I Contact a Lawyer for a Maritime or Boat Accident Injury?
To help evaluate the need for a personal injury lawyer, see if you answer “yes” to any of the following questions:
- Did the boat or commercial vessel operator have improper training or invalid licensing?
- Was the boat or commercial vessel operator impaired (e.g., drugs or alcohol) at the time of the accident?
- Did the boat or commercial vessel operator violate navigational rules that caused the accident?
- Was the boat or commercial vessel operator using excessive speed when the accident occurred?
- Did equipment failure that was not properly maintained contribute to the accident?
- Did your boat or commercial vessel crash after hitting a wake or wave?
- Did the boat or commercial vessel not have the proper safety equipment onboard?
- Did you slip and fall while on a boat or commercial vessel?
- Did the boat or commercial vessel operator engage in risky behavior that caused the accident?
- Were you involved in an offshore platform accident?
- Did another boat or vessel crash into you?
Note that if a maritime or boat accident led to death, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Steps to Take After a Maritime or Boat Accident Injury
Take pictures of the accident scene — If possible, take multiple pictures of the accident scene. Make sure and include pictures of the damage to all boats or commercial vessels involved as well as any injuries you sustained.
Identify witnesses — Try to obtain names and contact information of all parties involved in the accident. If there are a large number of individuals involved, identify the boat or vessel operator(s) and find a few select witnesses.
Seek medical attention — After being in a maritime or boat accident, even if injuries are not apparent, you should get medical attention for possible injuries. Some conditions, such as whiplash and soft tissue injuries, may not be easily identifiable until after the accident. If you did sustain injury, prompt medical attention can help create a link between your injuries and the accident.
Report the accident to authorities — After a boat or commercial vessel accident, promptly report the incident to local authorities.
Try to preserve accident scene — If possible, try to preserve the accident scene until authorities arrive so that they can conduct an investigation.
Review your insurance coverage — After a boat accident, you should review your boat-specific insurance coverage, if you have any. It is also useful to check for additional coverage under other insurance policies, such as an “umbrella” policy.
Make a written report — The sooner you are able to record the events of the maritime or boat accident, the better. Memories fade with time, and making a written report for the authorities can help document the incident and your claim, and keep details accurate.
Document medical expenses — After a maritime or boat accident, make sure to document all of the medical expenses associated with the treatment of your injuries. Expenses to document include medical bills, prescription costs and insurance co-pays. It may also be possible to receive reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses related to medical care for your maritime or boat accident injuries.
Keep records of all accident-related items — After a maritime or boat accident injury, it is important to document the accident, injuries and other related conversations, paperwork and expenses. Maintaining records and keeping everything organized is useful for any claims or lawsuits that result.
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