Who is Liable in a Boating Accident?

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Even though they are not as common as, say, car accidents, boating accidents do happen quite frequently. And although most boating accidents are not fatal, passengers and other parties can still suffer severe injuries including amputations, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, whiplash, and more. In the event that you are in such an accident and you end up injured, you might wonder who is liable. Different parties can be liable depending on the circumstances, and it is these parties that we will focus on in this article.

The Boat Operator

The person operating the boat is typically the first person an investigation into a boating accident looks into. The boat operator is responsible for the safety of their passenger, vessel, and other boats in the water.

The first two questions asked are whether they were intoxicated or speeding. Both of these circumstances make it harder to control the boat and to even right it in case something starts going wrong.

The investigator will also consider whether they were taking care to avoid hazards such as choppy waters and other boats, if they were experienced enough to operate the boat, and if they ensured access to safety equipment.

Once the authorities complete the investigation and find the accident to be their fault, you might be entitled to monetary compensation. If this is the case, you should hire the best boat accident attorney to go through the circumstances of the accident so they can build a strong case that culminates in you receiving proper compensation.

The Boat’s Owner

The boat’s owner, which can be an individual or organization, is responsible for ensuring there is adequate safety equipment onboard and for the maintenance and upkeep of their vessel(s). If they do not ensure their boat is in the best condition to be on the water, they can be held liable for negligence in case of an accident.

The boat owner is typically held liable in these cases, but they can be held jointly responsible with the boat operator in case their combined actions caused the accident.

Other Passengers

How people act on a vessel, especially smaller ones, can cause the vessel to capsize. Passengers can act in a reckless, negligent, or criminal manner which puts the vessel and its passengers in danger, and they will be held liable if anything happens.

Boating accidents caused by passengers typically stem from them ignoring and violating safety precautions even when cautioned by the boat operator or other staff. These actions can also impact swimmers along the shore who can experience loss of life or property or injuries.

The Boat Manufacturer

The manufacturer is held liable if a part or component that is faulty causes a boating accident. The police and sometimes a judge will decide if the boat manufacturer or the manufacturer of a single part is responsible for the accident.

In most cases, though, the cause of the issues is obvious after the completion of the investigation, so it becomes easier to know who is to be held liable.

While many boating accidents do not result in fatalities, most of them result in injuries. When this happens, the injured party is entitled to compensation, and they need to hold someone liable. Different circumstances will lead to different people or organizations being held liable in these cases.

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