Boating Accidents in Alabama
There are more than 256,000 registered boat owners in the state of Alabama, as well as more than 300 public boating ramps for launching. Whether heading to Walter George Reservoir, Lake Seminole or another popular area for summertime fun on the water, boating is a fun – and usually a very safe – activity.
But boating accidents do happen, and when they do the results can be tragic. At the law office of Smith & McGhee, P.C., our Dothan boating accident attorneys can help you to understand what comes next, and what you need to do to recover compensation for your losses.
Causes of Boating Accidents
Boating accidents almost always occur because of negligence, although in some cases, extreme weather and unpredictable forces of nature are to blame. In some cases, though, boating accidents result from:
- Operator inattention. The failure of an operator to pay attention to their surroundings is one of the top causes of boating accidents. A boat operator who is not aware of their environment may hit an object, take a turn too quickly, or even run into another boat. In the most tragic of cases, an inattentive boat operator may even hit a person in the water.
- Operator/lookout intoxication. Operators of boats and their lookouts – the person responsible for helping the operator of the boat to determine other objects’ and people’s locations – should stay sober during a day on the water. Unfortunately, the desire to have fun by having a few alcoholic beverages can get to the best of people, and a day of sobriety and responsible behavior can quickly turn into an irresponsible intoxicated one.
- Inexperience of the boat operator. Even though the state of Alabama requires its boat operators to be licensed, which includes completing a boating safety course, many boat operators do not have the experience that is necessary to safely operate a boat in our state. While performing basic functions may be easy and very doable for an inexperienced boat operator, if something goes wrong, the operator may not know how to safely handle the situation.
- Driving too fast or too fast for conditions. Another mistake that many boat operators make is driving their boat too fast, taking a turn too quickly, or driving too fast for conditions, which is especially common when the weather is bad and waves are forming. Sometimes, a boat operator will even try to give passengers a thrill by speeding over the wake created by their own boat, a choice that can be very dangerous.
In addition to these top causes of boating accidents, mechanical failure of the boat is another potential reason for a boating accident. However, mechanical failure leading to a boat accident is less common.
Injuries from a Boating Accident
If a boating accident does occur, injuries may be very severe. A boating accident can result in:
- Head and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs);
- Lacerations and bruises;
- Internal injuries;
- Fractures, such as fractured ribs;
- Amputation injuries;
- Limb sever injuries (typically involving an accident with a propeller);
- Strangulation injuries (involving an accident with a waterski/sports rope)
- Drowning and near drowning injuries.
- Burn injuries, and
One of the biggest threats that accidents on the water pose, that car accident on land do not, is the risk of drowning. If a person is thrown overboard and is not wearing a life vest, does not know how to swim, or is knocked unconscious, they may die from drowning or suffer serious brain damage as a result of oxygen deprivation.
Who Is Liable for a Boating Accident in Alabama?
When any type of negligence leads to an accident, ranging from the negligence of a manufacturer to create a defect-free piece of boating machinery to an operator driving while sober, an injured party can pursue a claim for damages. The bad news is, however, that the state of Alabama does not require boat operators to carry boaters’ insurance, which means that determining who will pay for your claim may be complex.
If the negligent party is covered by insurance, their insurance policy may be responsible for paying for an injured party’s damages. If they do not have boaters’ insurance, other insurance sources may need to be turned to. Our experienced Alabama boat accident attorneys can help you to determine against whom to file a claim and will guide you through negotiations with an insurance company to maximize your damages amount.
You Deserve to Be Compensated
When you are in a boat accident and suffer injuries, your life may drastically change. You may no longer be able to enjoy water sports like you once did, return to work, or even care for yourself without assistance. In some cases, a boating injury may result in the need for long-term, intensive care. And in the worst of cases, a boating injury can result in death, leaving surviving family members with emotional anguish and heartache, as well as questions about what they will do to support themselves and continue to provide for their loved ones.
At the offices of Smith & McGhee, P.C., our Dothan boat accident attorneys believe that you deserve to be compensated for your injuries after a boating accident caused by someone else’s negligence. When you call our law firm, we will go to work investigating and building your case, and assist you in filing your claim for damages. We will work hard to secure the settlement that you deserve, and if we are unsuccessful in our efforts, you will not owe us a dime.
If you are ready to schedule your free consultation with our law offices, call us today at 334-708-3158.
We are here to serve you. Contact us today to get started on taking the first steps to improve your future after a boat accident.