Boat accidents are more common than you think. In 2020, the American Boating Association reported 5,265 recreational boating crashes. This is an increase of more than 25% from the previous year. In 2019, the total number of reported boating crashes was 4,168 crashes. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the most common cause of boating accidents is operator inattention. Operator inattention may lead to passengers falling overboard, slips-and-falls onboard, and collisions which can cause serious injuries.
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The next time you board a boat, keep in mind a few tips to prevent serious personal injuries and obtain help should a boating accident occur.
- KEEP EVERYONE SAFE
Check on everyone aboard to see if they need medical attention, including yourself. The Coast Guard will help assist you. While waiting for medical attention, do a headcount and make sure no one has fallen overboard.
- REPORT THE ACCIDENT
The U.S. Coast Guard requires you notify your state reporting authority if your boat accident resulted in any of the following:
- A fatality
- A missing person
- An injury requiring more than a first aid kit
- Property damage of $2,000 or more
- A destroyed vessel
- COLLECT INFORMATION
Ask for names, phone numbers, and addresses from all boat operators involved. Next, talk to anyone who witnessed the accident and obtain their name and contact information. Then, take pictures of the crash scene, location, visible damage, and injuries.
- CONTACT A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER
After you have all your documentation of the accident, call a personal injury lawyer to help get the compensation you deserve.
In 2019, the U.S. Coast Guard ranked the top 10 states by recreational boating deaths with Florida coming in at #1 with 62 deaths and 421 injured. Texas came in at #2 on that list with 43 deaths and 122 injured. Safety is always a priority and most rules factor in safety for not only you but for others around.
Accidents are unexpected and can happen at any time. If you or a loved one have sustained injuries by a recreational boating accident, contact a Hilliard Martinez & Gonzales Law Firm attorney at (361) 882-1612.