Boat accidents can result in catastrophic injuries and tragic deaths. If you have suffered a serious injury in a boating accident or have lost a loved one to wrongful death in a boat accident due to someone else’s negligence, the capable boat accident attorneys at Cooper Schall & Levy will fight to help you recover the maximum compensation you deserve.
Our skilled attorneys handle personal injury cases throughout Philadelphia, including all surrounding counties. Although boat accidents involving commercial vessels are covered under federal maritime law, we handle recreational boating accidents that are covered under state negligence law.
If you have suffered harm caused by another person’s negligent or reckless behavior on any of the following craft, contact us at either one of our offices, Philadelphia or Drexel Hill, for prompt, efficient, compassionate service. We know how overwhelming a boat accident injury can be, whether it occurs on a:
- Fishing boat
- Jet ski
- Inflatable raft
Once you become our client, we will handle all the details of your claim. Including all communications with opposing lawyers and insurance adjusters so you can take the time you need to rest and recover from your trauma. Remember: your initial consultation with us is free and we will charge you no attorneys’ fees until we win your case.
Common Causes of a Boating Accident
The leading types of boat accidents include collisions with other vessels, collisions with fixed objects, flooding, capsizing, grounding, and falling overboard. In some cases, bad weather and poor sea conditions contribute to dangers while boating. The leading causes or contributory causes of boating accidents include:
- Operator inexperience/inattention
- Boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Boat crowding, i.e. boats traveling too close to one another
- Boats with too many passengers for their size
- Collisions with debris or obstacles in the water
- Failure of the operator to obey navigation rules and regulations
- Improper loading/excessive weight
- Mechanical failure
- Poor water markers
It should be noted that alcohol consumption is a major contributing factor in boat accidents involving a fatality and that a high percentage of boating fatalities occur on boats operated by someone who did not receive proper boating safety instructions. As you can see, many reasons for boat accidents are attributable to human negligence and can therefore be litigated.
Boating Requirements in Pennsylvania & New Jersey
While statistics show an encouraging decrease in the number of boating accidents during the past two years, one accident with injuries is one too many. This is why state laws require boaters to meet safety standards before venturing out on the water.
Boating laws vary from state to state, so it is essential to be aware of the laws that apply in your particular location. Fortunately, the boat accident attorneys at Cooper Schall & Levy have comprehensive knowledge of the statutes in Pennsylvania and are aware of how your case may be affected by state laws pertaining to:
- Boat titles
- Life jacket use
- Safety certifications
- Number of passengers permitted on boats of certain sizes
- Required equipment, e.g. navigation lights, sounding devices
- Ages of those permitted to drive boats
- Speeds permitted
- BUI regulations
No matter the circumstances of your accident, our team of experienced boat accident attorneys will give you reliable legal guidance and help you navigate the justice system.
Responsibilities of Boat Operators Involved in a Boating Accident
Any boat operator involved in an accident is legally required to:
- Stop their boat at the site
- Render assistance to any injured person (as long as they can do so without endangering themselves or other passengers)
- Provide their written contact information to injured parties and anyone with property damage
- Report the boat accident to the authorities within 48 hours if there was an injury requiring more than first aid, if there was a fatality, or if anyone disappeared from the boat
- Report the boat accident within 10 days if there has been property damage in excess of $2,000
It is also worth noting that the owner of the boat can be sued for damages no matter who was driving at the time of the accident.
Boat Accident Injuries
According to the National Safe Boating Council, in 81 percent of boat accident fatalities in 2021, victims died by drowning. Alarmingly, 83 percent of those victims were not wearing life jackets meaning some deaths could have been avoided had more precautions been in place.
Some common injuries resulting from boating accidents include:
- Blunt force trauma
- Internal injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Other head injuries
- Severed limbs
Some boat accident victims suffer brain damage due to oxygen deprivation when they almost drown.
Damages We Will Fight to Recover
Depending on the nature and severity of your injury or loss, you may be entitled to both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages will cover actual financial losses, such as medical costs and lost income. Non-economic damages will compensate you for intangible losses, like pain and suffering, permanent disability or disfigurement, or loss of enjoyment of life.
If you have lost a loved one in a boat accident, our lawyers will work tirelessly to obtain the resources you need for final medical expenses, funeral costs, and the loss of financial and emotional support.
Contact Our Experienced Pennsylvania Boating Accident Attorneys Today
Cooper Schall & Levy offers all the legal services you need, from investigating the site and vessel(s) to interviewing witnesses, from examining medical and Coast Guard reports to creating a powerful courtroom strategy. In fact, in many cases, our strategy is so persuasive that we may be able to settle your case through negotiations alone and never have to go to trial at all. Contact us now so we can begin fighting for your rights.