Accidents out on the water are some of the most dangerous that people can suffer.
In addition to suffering bodily injuries, victims face the prospect of possibly drowning.
Each year, hundreds of people are injured in boating and watercraft accidents on Washington waterways.
If you have suffered an injury, we can help. A boating accident attorney can help a client receive compensation to cover their medical bills and replace lost income when they cannot work.
You can hold the person or entity to blame for the accident legally responsible. For more information about getting started on your case, please contact a Washington boating accident attorney today.
Types of Boating Accidents
Boats can get into trouble in various ways, such as:
- Hitting another boat’s wake. An operator should avoid slamming into a wake, if at all possible. After hitting a wake, it is easy to lose control of the vessel.
- Ramming another boat. If the operator is not paying attention, he can steer a vessel directly into another one. Passengers on either boat can fall overboard or suffer an injury when being thrown around the boat.
- Hitting a dock or running aground. Distracted boating can lead to all sorts of collisions, even with stationary objects. An inexperienced boat operator might not know when he is too close to the shore and end up grounding the vessel.
- Capsizing. A boat might sink because of a hole or other defect in the hull. Passengers can drown or injure themselves in the scramble for life rafts.
- Fires or explosions. These accidents can cause direct injuries to passengers and send them overboard as well.
There are many reasons why these boating accidents occur, including:
- Boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Operator inexperience or poor training
- Defective parts
- Distracted boating
- Absence of required flotation devices
- Overloading a vessel
If the operator or someone else has been negligent, you can sue them for compensation. Our clients have received money to cover necessary medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The amount they receive varies, so reach out to an experienced boating accident attorney for help.
Common Injuries in Boating Accidents
Accidents involving boats and other watercraft are traumatic. Victims can suffer serious injuries that keep them in the hospital or at home for months.
At our law firm, we have seen people suffer from:
- Soft-tissue injuries. Sprains and strains cause considerable pain and can leave people immobile. Damage to soft tissue can also press on nerves, leading to possible nerve damage if the pressure is not relieved.
- Cuts. A deep cut can become infected and is at risk of leaving behind an unsightly scar. Cuts or abrasions on the face can be particularly traumatic.
- Burns. If the boat catches on fire, then passengers can suffer serious burn injuries that might require skin grafts.
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries. Any damage to the brain can cause a person to suffer impairments with respect to balance, mobility, speech, memory, and cognition. Serious traumatic brain injuries require months of rehabilitation.
- Back injuries. A person can suffer debilitating pain when they fracture vertebrae or ribs, pull muscles or ligaments, and suffer nerve damage.
- Building discs. The vertebrae have rubbery discs in between that act as cushions. These discs can become displaced or the soft material inside the disc can extrude out, pushing on the spinal cord directly.
- Spinal cord injury. This type of injury can lead to paralysis or impaired sensation.
Some victims will also die in a boat or watercraft accident. Their family members have not only lost a loved one but will suffer the financial fallout from the untimely death.
What to Do after a Boating Accident
Moving fast is necessary to save lives. If you were involved in a boating accident, remember the following:
- Render assistance to people in need. RCW 79A.60.200 states that the operator of a vessel shall help all people affected by the collision. By offering aid, you are not admitting responsibility for the accident.
- Report the accident. You should notify the authorities of the accident just as you would a car crash.
- Go to the hospital. If you were injured, make sure to get medical treatment as soon as possible. Some injuries take some time for symptoms to fully manifest.
- Document the accident. Your ability to receive compensation depends on gathering sufficient proof of who is responsible for the accident. Write down your memories and identify any witnesses to the accident.
Also remember to contact a Washington boating accident attorney for help with your case. Kapuza Lighty, PLLC, has represented boating accident victims and offers a free consultation to those who contact us today.