This coming Labor Day is a major boating holiday, especially in Missouri and Illinois. Many families head to the Lake of the Ozarks, Table Rock or Rend Lake to close out their summer. Unfortunately, many recreational boating trips end with accidents, whether personal injury or property damage.
Last year, the US Coast Guard reported 4,158 accidents resulting in 626 deaths, 2,613 injuries and approximately $42 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents. In Missouri, there were 109 accidents with $816,823 in damages; and Illinois had 66 accidents with $324,978 in damages.
The top five contributing factors in accidents are operator inattention, operator inexperience, improper lookout, machinery failure, and excessive speed. Many of these can be avoided.
WHEN HEADING OUT ON THE WATER THIS LABOR DAY WEEKEND BE PREPARED BY FOLLOWING THESE TIPS:Use a personal flotation device. Always make sure you and the people you are with have a personal flotation device. This is the easiest way to protect yourself and keep your family safe.
Pay attention. Keep an eye on your surroundings. Help the operator stay aware of incoming vessels, the people you're pulling and the waves.
Only boat with experienced operators. The more hours accumulated behind the wheel, the less likely the operator is to have an accident.
Beware of alcohol consumption. Don't go boating with an operator who has been drinking. It's easy to go too fast, lose track of the surroundings or misjudge distance when under the influence. Be sure to only go out on the water with a sober operator.
Learn boat safety. The US Coast Guard offers many courses from Boat Operator's Courses to Basic Boat Safety. Check their free courses here.
If you are in an accident while boating, the operator of the watercraft or the owner of the boat may be responsible. The operator is liable if he/she fails to observe and operate the watercraft using ordinary care. If the operator is under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs, he/she could be liable for punitive damages as well. The owner is also liable if they knowingly let someone under the influence operate the watercraft.
IF YOU'VE BEEN INJURED IN AN ACCIDENT, BE SURE TO FOLLOW THESE STEPS:
Take pictures of the accident. This will help when you file your report with the US Coast Guard.
Make sure a report is filed. The US Coast Guard requires that an incident report when someone has been injured be filed within 10 days or if there is a fatality within 48 hours. Get the form here.
Talk to a lawyer. Make sure to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible as the statute of limitations varies by state and by the type of case. Contact Eason Law to set up a consultation.
Over the years, Eason Law has helped clients dealing with personal injury and wrongful death get the compensation they deserve. Contact Eason Law through the contact form or by calling 314.932.1066 to schedule your FREE consultation. You should not have to pay for someone else's mistakes.