Boating is one of the most enjoyable ways to spend an afternoon. In fact, research has shown that there are numerous mental health benefits that come with being out on the water.
Unfortunately, it’s not impossible to get into a boating accident, and it’s essential that you know how to react. We’ve put together a quick guide that details what you should know.
After a boating accident, it’s imperative that you take the necessary steps to get to safety. Unlike accidents that involve land-based vehicles, victims of a boating accident will be in far more danger simply due to being surrounded by water.
This is especially true if the accident occurs while you are a notable distance from dry land.
Depending on the circumstances, seeking help could involve different steps. To elaborate, you may be able to remain on a vessel that had its engine destroyed. Or, you may be required to swim to a buoy, a nearby boat, etc.
Regardless of your situation, you should do all that you can to get yourself to safety. This could also involve contacting another party to help facilitate this.
Get medical attention
Boat accidents are notorious for causing injuries that aren’t immediately obvious. For example, a collision with another boat could launch the passengers from both vessels into the air. Depending on how you land, you may hit your head on your way down.
Unfortunately, many head injuries involve severe internal damage that does not arise until a later time. It’s also entirely possible that you experience an injury that causes immediate complications.
As soon as you have the opportunity, it’s essential that you seek sufficient medical attention. Not only will this help ensure that you don’t have any underlying problems, but you will also establish medical records that can be used to prove the legitimacy of your condition.
This will come into play later if you choose to seek compensation for your injuries.
After you’ve been medically discharged, it’s time to start gathering evidence of the accident. Many times, boating accidents can occur without passengers being aware of what’s happening.
So, you need to use every resource available in order to determine the cause.
This means that you should speak to anyone who was present at the scene and ask them to provide an account of what they witnessed. If you have the opportunity to, you can also use your cell phone to create a video or audio recording of their account as long as the other party consents.
If you choose this option, be sure that you have them state their full name, the current time, and the events as they saw them. It’s also worth considering whether or not there was a recording of the incident.
For example, many people choose to film their boat outings and may have inadvertently filmed the cause of the accident. If another party was involved, you will also need to collect information from them.
This includes their boat registration number, their personal account of the accident, and their insurance policy number. Although it might seem tedious, this is the most crucial step.
So, be sure that you take it seriously.
File a report
Not every accident will require you to file a report. But, the majority of accidents will leave you with this obligation.
To elaborate, there are three instances in which you are required by law to file a report about the accident:
- A total vessel loss occurred
- Property damage exceeds $500
- The occurrence of injury, disappearance, or death
If your incident involved a disappearance or injury, you are legally required to report the accident within 48 hours. If death occurred, you are required to report the accident within 24 hours.
Otherwise, you have up to 10 days to report the incident.
When you’re ready to file a report, you must do so with the Division of Boating and Waterways and provide as much detail as possible. Otherwise, you may run into complications in the future.
Get in touch with a legal professional
After you handle the above obligations, it’s time to get in touch with a legal professional.
One of the primary benefits of doing so is having them provide you with comprehensive information about your rights and how they relate to the incident. For example, someone who doesn’t get in touch with an attorney might not know that they are entitled to legal compensation as a result of another party’s actions.
A common scenario in which this happens is when an accident occurs due to another party’s negligence. At the time of the incident, it’s not always obvious that the other individual(s) was responsible.
Working with a reputable attorney is also essential when it comes to pursuing compensation.
A lawyer with extensive experience will likely be highly familiar with your type of situation. This will allow them to provide the best level of service possible. Personal injury, unfortunately, is one of the most common results of a boating accident.
In order to handle it properly, there are a few steps you need to take. You can learn more on the topic here.
Dealing with a boating accident can seem intimidating
The information listed above will ensure that you take the appropriate steps. From here, you will know exactly how to respond to a boating accident and seek the required assistance as soon as possible.
James Wallace did his degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. He has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.
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