Troubled Waters: How an Alabama Boating Accident Lawyer Can Help

Last updated Tuesday, November 7th, 2023

Troubled Waters: How an Alabama Boating Accident Lawyer Can Help

Alabama, known for its diverse landscape and beautiful waterways, is a haven for boating enthusiasts. With places such as the Gulf Shores, Mobile Bay, and the Tennessee River, there is ample opportunity for recreational and professional boating. However, despite the beauty and enjoyment that these water bodies provide, they are also the sites for many boating accidents each year. When such unfortunate incidents occur, it becomes necessary to engage a professional – a boating accident lawyer.

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Understanding Alabama Boating Laws

Navigating the legal waters after a boating accident can be as tricky as navigating the sea in a storm. Alabama has specific boating laws and regulations, some of which are unique to the state. In Alabama, for instance, operators of motorized boats over 15hp, and operators of all types of water vessels born after April 28, 1954, must have a vessel operator’s license. Further, state laws mandate safety equipment on board, including life jackets, fire extinguishers, and navigation lights.

 Alabama Boating Accident Lawyer

A boating accident lawyer is well-versed in these laws and regulations and can help victims understand the legal implications of their accident. A good lawyer can dissect the incident’s facts, study the circumstances leading to the accident, and identify whether there were any violations of the state’s boating laws that could have contributed to the accident.

Assessing Liability

One of the critical tasks after a boating accident is determining who is at fault or responsible for the accident. In many instances, this is not a straightforward process. Was it the operator of the boat who was negligent, or were the boat’s manufacturer’s defects to blame? Or perhaps the accident was the result of another passenger’s reckless behavior, or maybe an external factor such as poor signage or inadequate warnings about hazards?

A personal injury lawyer in Alabama will have the knowledge and resources to thoroughly investigate these questions. They can analyze police reports, interview witnesses, engage experts for technical analysis, and review all available evidence to determine who should be held liable for the accident. This step is crucial as it directly influences the compensation the victims might receive.

Filing Claims and Negotiating with Insurance Companies

Insurance companies play a significant role in compensating victims of boating accidents. However, dealing with insurance adjusters can be challenging, particularly in the emotionally charged aftermath of an accident. Insurance companies are businesses, and like all businesses, they aim to maximize profits, which often means trying to minimize the payouts on claims.

A boating accident lawyer can serve as a valuable ally in such situations. They can accurately calculate the damages, including medical expenses, loss of income, property damage, and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. They can then file claims on behalf of their clients and negotiate with the insurance companies to ensure a fair settlement. If negotiations fail, the lawyer can escalate the matter to a lawsuit.

Litigating the Case

If a fair settlement cannot be reached, or if the insurance company denies the claim, a boating accident lawyer can take the case to court. They will build a strong case, present evidence, examine and cross-examine witnesses, argue the case before the judge and jury, and strive to secure the maximum possible compensation.

In addition, some boating accidents might result in criminal charges, especially if they involve DUI, reckless operation, or if the accident led to serious injury or death. In such cases, a boating accident lawyer can also provide criminal defense, protecting the client’s rights throughout the process.

Post-Judgment Actions

Even after a court judgment, the work of a boating accident lawyer does not end. They can assist with enforcing the judgment and collecting the compensation. They can also handle any appeals or post-judgment motions that may arise.

How Much Does a Boating Accident Lawyer Cost?

Mezrano Law Firm works on a contingency. A contingency fee basis means the law firm will not charge you anything unless you win a settlement or in court. A contingency fee ensures the victim pays nothing out of pocket and that the law firm works hard for your case.

What Damages Can a Boating Accident Lawyer Help Me Get?

If you’ve been involved in a boating accident, you may be entitled to various types of damages, depending on the specifics of the accident and the extent of your injuries. An experienced boat accident attorney can help you navigate the complexities of these claims and seek the following types of compensation:

1. Medical Expenses

You are entitled to compensation for any medical expenses related to the boating accident. This includes emergency medical care, hospitalization, surgeries, doctor’s appointments, rehabilitation, physical therapy, medication, medical equipment, and any future medical expenses related to the injury.

2. Lost Wages and Loss of Earning Capacity

If the boating accident caused you to miss work, you could be compensated for the wages you lost during that time. Additionally, if your injuries affect your ability to work in the future, you can also claim damages for loss of future earning capacity.

3. Property Damage

If your personal property, like your boat or equipment, was damaged or destroyed in the accident, you could seek compensation for repair or replacement costs.

4. Pain and Suffering

These are non-economic damages that compensate for the physical pain and emotional distress you’ve suffered as a result of the accident. Calculating these damages can be complex, but they often depend on the severity of the injuries, the extent of the pain, and the impact on your daily life.

5. Emotional Distress

Serious accidents can have significant emotional and psychological impacts. If you’ve suffered from anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or similar conditions as a result of the accident, you may be entitled to compensation.

6. Loss of Enjoyment of Life

If your injuries from the accident prevent you from enjoying activities that you previously participated in and enjoyed, such as boating, sports, or other hobbies, you may be entitled to compensation for loss of enjoyment of life.

7. Wrongful Death Damages

If a loved one was killed in a boating accident, the surviving family members could file a wrongful death lawsuit to seek damages. These can include funeral and burial expenses, loss of financial support, and loss of companionship.

8. Punitive Damages

In some cases where the conduct of the defendant was particularly reckless or egregious, punitive damages may be awarded. These damages are not meant to compensate the victim but rather to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar behavior in the future.

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Common Injuries From a Boating Accident

Boating accidents can cause a range of injuries, depending on factors like the type of accident, the speed of the boat at the time of the accident, the size of the boat, and whether or not the passengers were wearing appropriate safety gear. Below are some of the most common types of injuries that result from boating accidents:

1. Drowning and Near-Drowning Injuries

Unsurprisingly, the most common and most serious risk in boating accidents is drowning, especially in situations where individuals are not wearing life vests or cannot swim. Even in cases where the individual survives, near-drowning incidents can cause severe long-term issues such as brain damage due to oxygen deprivation.

2. Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) and Concussions

When a boating accident occurs, individuals can hit their head against hard surfaces on the boat or be thrown into the water at high speed, causing traumatic brain injuries or concussions. These can range from mild to severe and can lead to cognitive impairment, memory loss, and other long-term effects.

3. Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries are another severe type of injury that can occur in boating accidents, especially in high-speed collisions or when passengers are thrown from the boat. These injuries can lead to partial or complete paralysis, and other neurological and sensory impairments.

4. Broken Bones and Fractures

The impact from a boating collision or being thrown around within the boat can lead to broken bones and fractures. The most commonly affected areas include the arms, legs, ribs, and sometimes, the skull.

5. Lacerations and Bruises

Sharp debris from a damaged boat, fishing equipment, or even the impact with water at high speed can cause significant lacerations, cuts, and bruises. While these injuries may seem less serious than others, they can still lead to complications if not treated properly, such as infection or scarring.

6. Hypothermia

If individuals are thrown overboard and left in cold water for an extended period, they risk developing hypothermia. This condition occurs when the body loses heat faster than it can produce, leading to a dangerous drop in body temperature.

7. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Boats, especially ones with poor ventilation, can lead to carbon monoxide build-up. Occupants can suffer from carbon monoxide poisoning, which can be fatal in enclosed spaces.

8. Burns

In cases where a boat explosion or fire occurs, individuals can suffer from first, second, or third-degree burns, which may require extensive treatment and could leave lasting scars.

9. Emotional and Psychological Trauma

Finally, it’s important to note that not all injuries are physical. Boating accidents can result in significant emotional and psychological trauma, including stress disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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Contact us today and we will help you get the compensation that you deserve.

Who Can Be Held Liable in a Boating Accident?

Liability in a boating accident can be a complex issue, depending largely on the circumstances and the specific laws in the jurisdiction where the accident occurred. Here are some of the parties who could potentially be held liable in the event of a boating accident:

1. The Boat Operator

If the operator of the boat acted negligently, they could be held responsible for the accident. Negligence could include behaviors like operating the boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, speeding, not adhering to navigation rules, or failing to keep a proper lookout.

2. The Boat Owner

Even if the owner was not operating the boat at the time of the accident, they might still be held liable, especially if they entrusted the boat to an inexperienced or irresponsible operator.

3. Passengers

Passengers can also contribute to accidents. For instance, if a passenger interferes with the operation of the boat or behaves recklessly, causing the operator to lose control, they could be held liable.

4. The Boat Manufacturer or Equipment Manufacturer

If the accident was caused by a defect in the boat itself or a piece of equipment on the boat, the manufacturer might be held liable under product liability laws. This could apply to many different components of the boat, including engines, steering systems, navigation equipment, or safety devices.

5. Rental Companies or Charter Services

If a rented or chartered boat is involved in an accident, the rental company or charter service could potentially be held liable, especially if they did not provide adequate safety equipment or failed to maintain the boat properly.

6. Government Entities

In certain cases, government entities could be held responsible for a boating accident. For example, if the accident was due to poorly maintained waterways, inadequate signage, or failure to enforce boating regulations, a government agency could be held liable.

In determining liability, a thorough investigation will be needed to understand all contributing factors to the accident. Therefore, it’s essential to involve an experienced boating accident attorney who can help determine and prove liability and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve if you’re a victim of a boating accident.

Contact Mezrano Law Firm Today

Navigating the aftermath of a boating accident can be as challenging as traversing stormy seas. A skilled boat accident lawyer can be your lighthouse, leading the way toward resolution, justice, and the recompense you deserve after a boating accident.

Get Your FREE Case Review Today

Contact us today and we will help you get the compensation that you deserve.