Boating is a popular way to spend the warm weather months in Clayton County. Many families look forward to spending their leisure hours fishing, engaging in water sports, or just relaxing on their boats. Unfortunately, not everyone is responsible about following safe boating practices and alcohol use while boating is common. This can lead to accidents on the water.
If you have suffered physical injuries in a boating accident, it is best to get a skilled personal injury lawyer on your side right away. If somebody’s negligence was a contributing factor in the accident, you could claim damages to compensate you for your injuries.
Negligence Causes Most Boat Accident Injuries
According to the United States Coast Guard’s compilation of recreational boating statistics, most accidents happen because two boats collide, or one collides with a fixed object. Operator inexperience, inattention, excessive speed, and alcohol use are major causes of recreational boating accidents. Collisions that cause injuries most often involve open motorboats or personal watercraft.
Open boats and personal watercraft provide little protection in a collision, meaning severe injuries are more likely. Broken bones, amputations, head injuries, and burns are common, as are drownings and near-drownings. A skilled lawyer could help a plaintiff seek damages for all of the short-term and long-term consequences of their injuries.
Determining Negligence in a Boat Accident Case
A person injured in a boat accident (the plaintiff) and their attorney must show that another party was negligent if they wish to seek compensation for damages. Proving negligence requires the plaintiff to show that the other party had a duty of care that they breached, the breach caused an accident to happen, and the plaintiff suffered injuries in the accident as a result.
All boaters have a duty to obey the law and exercise reasonable care in the operation of their vessels. If they failed to do so, and that failure caused an accident with injuries, then the plaintiff has established negligence
Sometimes the negligent party is not another boater but the manufacturer of a mechanical boat part, or a government entity with jurisdiction over a particular waterway. On occasion, there are several potentially negligent parties. A knowledgeable boat crash attorney could evaluate the circumstances of a particular accident and identify potentially negligent parties who might be liable for a plaintiff’s injuries
It is not unusual for an injured person to be partially responsible for an accident. Clayton County does not bar a person who shares some fault for an accident from seeking damages but there are some important limitations on their recovery.
Georgia law denies an injured person a right to damages if they bear 50 percent or more of the responsibility for an accident per Official Code of Georgia §51-12-33. If an injured person’s share of the fault is less than 50 percent, they may seek damages from the responsible party under the comparative negligence rule.
When an injured person wins damages but was determined to be partially at fault, the judge will reduce the amount they can collect to account for the plaintiff’s degree of responsibility. For example, if a person who is 20 percent responsible for an accident gets a damage award, the judge will reduce the amount they can collect by 20 percent. A local boat accident lawyer could fight for the plaintiff to collect as much compensation for damages as possible.
A Clayton County Boat Accident Attorney Could Fight for Your Interests
Boat accidents have the potential to inflict horrendous injuries. In addition to any physical ailments, dealing with the aftermath of a boat accident can lead to stress, confusion, and embarrassment if a person is unfamiliar with the legal process. Trying to negotiate a fair settlement with negligent parties can be an impossible task.
You could save yourself a great deal of trouble by hiring a legal professional to handle getting compensation for your injuries. It is a good idea to consult with a Clayton County boat accident lawyer right away to avoid losing any of your rights. Call today to schedule a consultation.