New York is the perfect location for boating. Its abundance of lakes and proximity to the Atlantic Ocean make it a popular destination for boating, jet skiing, and all sorts of watercraft. Watersports are exciting, novel, and understandably popular among New Yorkers and out-of-state visitors.
However, these activities carry unique risks and liabilities for those involved. If you’ve been injured in a boating accident, it’s important to understand your options for receiving compensation. But, first, let’s do a quick review of boating regulations.
LAWS COVERING BOATING AND BOATING ACCIDENTS
Recreational boating is governed by both state and federal regulations.
Under Title forty-six, subtitle two – Vessels and Seamen, federal regulations cover operational provisions, vessel inspection requirements, marine casualty reporting procedures, vessel identification measures, and requirements for state boating safety programs.
New York also has its own state-specific regulations for boating, including the process for determining liability in various circumstances. These can be found in the state’s Navigation Law. Our attorneys are well-versed in these laws, and can explain how they apply to your specific case after a boating accident.
DETERMINING LIABILITY IN A BOATING ACCIDENT
The process of determining liability requires recalling and analyzing the events that led up to the accident. Here are some key questions that we would will want to address with clients who were hurt in a boating accident:
- Was the operator irresponsible in handling their vessel?
- Was the operator boating under the influence?
- Was the accident caused by human error, and if so, whose error was it?
- Was the boat seaworthy, and was it equipped properly with safety gear?
- Was the boat defective in some way?
- Was the operator trained and licensed in utilizing their vessel?
We will also handle the necessary investigations and file the relevant motions in order to discover the cause of your boating accident.
SEEKING COMPENSATION THROUGH INSURANCE
Boating insurance is not a requirement in New York. Therefore, a victim cannot predict the exact amount of compensation they may receive from another party’s insurance. However, most watercraft owners will have some form of insurance, as they are financially liable for any damages they cause.
Boater’s insurance typically covers bodily injury, medical expenses, and property damage. There will always be policy limits but you generally can expect these policies to cover your expenses after an accident caused by someone else’s negligence.
Coverage could also come from a liable party’s homeowner’s insurance or your own health insurance. However, if your costs exceed your coverage, then you will need to recover damages from the liable party by filing a lawsuit.
TYPES OF BOATING ACCIDENTS AND STATISTICS
The United States Coast Guard recognizes over a dozen water vessel types, each of which come with their own unique risks. This graphic illustrates the seven that are most frequently involved in accidents. As you can see, open motorboats pose the greatest risk of death and injury.
The seven most common causes of accidents in 2019 are shown here. Collisions with other boats and fixed objects lead all other accident types, and falls overboard cause the most deaths. But grounding, capsizing, and other mishaps can be dangerous as well.
Whatever the vessel type and cause, if you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident, contact Rosenblum Law for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our experienced attorneys will take the time to learn about the circumstances of your case, and recommend the best way to proceed.