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Who is Liable in a Boating Accident?

By Butler Prather LLP on May 18, 2022

Boating accidents often result in significant injuries for those on board. Throughout the state of Georgia, there are various areas where individuals can enjoy boating activities. This includes on the shores of our oceans as well as in the many lakes and rivers throughout the state. Here, we want to discuss who could be held liable if you sustain an injury caused by the careless or negligent actions of a boat owner or operator.

boat accident liability

Boating is a Favorite Georgia Activity, But Injuries Can Occur

Voting is an incredibly popular activity in Georgia, particularly in the spring, summer, and fall seasons. Take your pick – we have boaters who enjoy activities on the Atlantic as well as on major rivers and lakes across the state (Lake Lanier, Lake Altoona, Lake Oconee, etc.)

There are various ways that individuals can go about getting on a boat to have some fun for the day, week, or the entire season. This includes:

  • Private boat owners who take their boats out with guests
  • Individuals who rent boats for the day or week without a captain
  • Individuals who rent daily boat tours with a captain
  • Individuals who participate in “boat sharing” programs

Regardless of how a person enjoys boating activities in Georgia, the reality is that injuries can occur. When we examine information available from the US Coast Guard, we can see that their 2020 recreational boating statistics show that there were more than 5,200 total boating accidents that resulted in 767 deaths and 3,191 injuries across the US. In Georgia specifically, there were 107 boating accidents reported to the Coast Guard, and these incidents resulted in 11 deaths and a significant number of injuries.

Holding Boat Owners Accountable

When a boating accident occurs, individuals who sustain injuries caused by the negligent actions of another individual or entity should be able to recover compensation. Often, the party who should be held responsible can be challenging to discern. Some of the parties that could be held liable for a boating accident include:

  • The boat owner
  • The company responsible for leasing the boat
  • The company responsible for chartering or supplying a captain
  • Individuals on the boat
  • Inspection and maintenance companies
  • The boat manufacturer

Often, liability comes down to the actions of the boat operator when the boat is on the water. According to the Coast Guard, some of the leading causes of accidents and fatalities on boats across the country include alcohol and drug use, excessive speed, improper boat lookout, navigation rules violations, operator inattention or inexperience, a sharp turns, etc.

It is crucial for any person injured in a boat accident to work with a skilled boat injury lawyer in Atlanta who can examine the facts of the case. An attorney will conduct a complete investigation into the incident and work to uncover any possible liable party for the incident. A lawyer will ensure that their client is evaluated by trusted medical and economic experts who can adequately calculate total expected losses. Ultimately, a lawyer will be responsible for handling negotiations with other parties, and they will fully prepare the case for trial if necessary.

Posted in: Boat Accident

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