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What Is the First Thing You Do in a Boating Accident?
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What Is the First Thing You Do in a Boating Accident?
MAY 6TH, 2021
Boating accidents have the potential to cause devastating injuries, and it is vital for everyone involved in a boating accident to know the first steps they should take after these incidents occur. Your actions immediately following a boating accident can have serious repercussions and may influence your liability for the accident. Whether you are a boat operator or passenger, it is vital to know the first thing you should do after a boating accident.
If You Are Involved in a Boating Accident, What Is the First Thing You Must Do?
If you experience a boating accident and the boat remains safely afloat, the first thing you should do is to ascertain whether you or anyone else involved in the incident requires medical attention. If anyone fell overboard, you and the others onboard should work quickly to get them back into the vessel safely. In the event you or someone else sustained an injury, the next step is to get the victim back to shore safely as soon as possible.
Boats should have emergency equipment onboard, including lifejackets, fire extinguishers, flotation devices, and a radio for calling for help if necessary. It’s vital that all of this emergency equipment be in good working order before every outing in case those onboard need to use it for any reason.
What Is the First Action of a Boat Operator Who Is Involved in a Boating Accident?
When a boating accident occurs, the boat operator has a legal responsibility to stop the vessel immediately at the scene of the accident. They also have a legal duty to assist anyone injured in the accident immediately unless doing so would put themselves or the vessel in danger. Boat operators should maintain control over their vessels as closely as possible at all times, and once it is safe to do so, they must call for help using their cell phone or a radio to report the accident and request assistance. The boat operator must also provide everyone involved in the accident with, in writing, their name, address, and their vessel’s registration number.
What is the Mandatory Action to Take When Involved in a Boat Accident?
Boating accident law requires boat operators to take the previously mentioned steps immediately following these incidents, and everyone involved should consider medical treatment for anyone injured as the priority in the situation. The boat operator should stop their vessel immediately and should never leave the scene of a boating accident until the responding authorities allow them to do so. However, they should move their vessel out of the paths of other watercraft in the area.
Another mandatory action that a boat operator must take following an accident is reporting the incident to the Coast Guard. All boating operators should have the necessary equipment and contact information for the local Coast Guard detachment and wait for them to respond before leaving the area.
How Do You Respond to a Boating Accident?
Aside from the previously mentioned rules for boat operators, there are some other things to keep in mind when it comes to responding to a boating accident. It may not be necessary to report a boating accident to the authorities if there is no serious damage to the boat and no one sustained injuries. Typically, a boating accident requires a formal report if:
The accident causes a death.
The accident sends anyone overboard, and the others involved cannot find them.
Anyone suffers an injury that requires medical care beyond basic first aid.
The accident causes damage worth $2,000 or more.
The accident results in the complete loss of the vessel or renders the vessel no longer seaworthy.
If there is any room for doubt as to whether your boating accident requires a formal report, it is always best to err on the side of caution and report the accident. Failure to report a boating accident when required by law carries severe legal penalties, potentially including fines and jail time.
What to Do If You Are Injured in a Boating Accident
If you or a loved one suffer injury in a boating accident, your first priority should be seeking medical attention. The doctor who treats your injuries can provide you with a medical report that will describe your injuries in detail, as well as the doctor’s concerns for future medical complications resulting from the injuries. This will be an invaluable document if you decide to pursue legal action against the party responsible for causing the accident.
When you have sustained damages due to another party’s negligence, it’s vital to consult a boating accident attorney to discuss your options for legal recourse. Some boating accident claims are highly complex, and some involve multiple defendants. The sooner you seek legal counsel after a boating accident, the better your chances will be of securing compensation for your losses.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
Some people make the mistake of believing their cases are so simple and straightforward that they do not need legal representation to secure compensation for their losses. This is a major mistake because most average people with no legal experience or formal legal training will have a very hard time navigating the civil court system, gathering the evidence they need to confirm a defendant’s liability, and taking full advantage of the full scope of claimable damages available to them.
Boating Accident, What Is The First Thing You Must Do?
Free Consultation - Call (803) 256-4242 - Kassel McVey helps victims and their families receive compensation for their injuries in a Boating Accident.
If You Are Involved In A Boating Accident, What Is The First Thing You Must Do?
An accident is much more terrifying when it takes place on the water, where the possibility of drowning adds to possible injuries. This can panic everyone involved, but in a boating accident, it’s all the more crucial to stay calm and collected.
Keep in mind the things to do immediately after a boating accident. These steps can save you and your loved ones from more serious injuries, and can help your case if you decide to claim accident compensation later on.
First Thing To Do After A Boating Accident: Keep Everyone Safe
The first priority after any disaster is appropriate medical care. In a boating accident, you should check whether you or anyone else requires medical attention. If anyone has injuries, call for professional help right away. The Coast Guard is able to assist with this. While awaiting medical help, see if any first aid is available from the boat’s emergency kit.
If you are the boat operator, South Carolina boating rules require you to stop the vessel immediately, situating it out of the path of any other vessel. You must do a head count and assist anyone who is injured or in danger due to the accident.
Dangers in a boating accident include falling overboard. If someone has fallen in the water, it is not advisable for anyone to jump in after them unless it’s absolutely necessary. Instead, if it’s possible, throw a buoy, a rope, or a flotation device to the person. If jumping after them is necessary, make sure you are wearing a life jacket before doing so.
Reporting A Boating Accident
Calling the Coast Guard after a watercraft accident is helpful especially when medical assistance is needed. But apart from this, reporting the accident is actually required by federal law. According to the US Coast Guard, you must report to the state reporting authority if the boating accident resulted in any of these:
A fatality A missing person
An injury requiring more than first aid
Property damage of $2,000 or more
A destroyed vessel.
In South Carolina, the authority to report to is the SC Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR). You may immediately call them at 1-800-922-5431.
Another reason to report your boating accident is to have an accident report filed. This document can be a valuable piece of evidence to support your compensation claim. With this in mind, keep your report factually accurate, but avoid providing unnecessary information, opinions, or speculations. Also avoid accepting responsibility or offering an apology as these could be taken against you later on.
Collecting Information About Your Boating Accident
Aside from the accident report, you’ll also want to gather information about other people involved in your accident and other potential evidence for your case.
First, ask for the name, address, contact details, and vessel identification of all boat operators involved. SC boating regulations require them to give this information to injured individuals and to owners of property that has been damaged in the accident. Also ask for the insurance company names and policy numbers of those in the accident, particularly the vessel operators.
Next, talk to anyone who may have witnessed the boat crash, and obtain their names and contact information.
If possible, take photos of the accident scene and the resulting damage. Document the accident location, the position of the boat or boats, any visible damage, and especially the injuries of anyone involved.
What To Do In The Aftermath Of A Boating Accident
In the hours or days following your accident, there are also some vital to-dos to help you medically and legally.
You’ll want to notify your insurer of the incident. Regardless of who you believe is liable for the accident, it is possible that you would have to turn to your insurance company to pay for damages.
The insurer of other parties may get in touch with you as well. Practice caution when speaking to insurance adjusters as your words could undermine the injuries you have suffered. To best protect yourself, let an attorney speak for you.
It is also wise to see a doctor for a thorough medical examination after the accident. Some injuries don’t immediately show symptoms. In other cases, symptoms that seem negligible later turn out to be a sign of a serious condition. It’s important for you to know the true extent of your injuries before you agree to any insurance offer.
Filing an injury claim is also an option for you if you have been seriously hurt in a boating accident. But whether or not you are seeking compensation, the best thing for you to do in the aftermath of your accident is to consult an injury lawyer. This way, you can get legal advice that’s specifically suited to your experience. In South Carolina, we at Kassel McVey are prepared to guide you. Talk to us today at (803) 256-4242.
What You Must Do if Involved in an Accident
What You Must Do if Involved in an Accident
An operator involved in a boating accident must:
Stop his or her vessel immediately at the scene of the accident and...
Assist anyone injured or in danger from the accident, unless doing so would seriously endanger his or her own vessel or passengers and...
Give, in writing, his or her name, address, and vessel identification (registration number) to anyone injured and to the owner of any property damaged by the accident.