Taking a boat out on the Chattahoochee River or elsewhere in Sandy Springs is a great way to relax, unwind, and enjoy the nature around you – but it comes with some risks. A nice day out can quickly turn tragic. If you’re the victim of a boat crash, you’ll want to speak with a boat accident attorney in Sandy Springs as soon as possible.
Just like motor vehicle drivers, those who operate boats have a responsibility to act safely towards others. If they fail in that duty, the at-fault party should pay for the costs. At John Foy & Associates, we have been helping accident victims get the compensation they need after being injured at no fault of their own.
What You Need to Win a Boat Accident Case in Sandy Springs
Any personal injury case in Sandy Springs is based on the concept of negligence. Someone has been negligent when they fail to act in a way that another ordinarily prudent person would in the same situation. In other words, negligence is a form of carelessness.
To be eligible for compensation after a boat accident, you must be able to show that another party was negligent and that their negligence led to your accident. Someone can be negligent without meaning to cause harm, or they might be intentionally breaking certain laws, such as these boating laws outlined by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GDNR).
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How a Boating Accident Attorney Can Help
When you’ve been involved in a boar accident, you may be left confused and stressed over how you’re going to pay your expenses. The first thing that a boating accident lawyer in Sandy Springs can do is put your mind at ease. At your initial consultation, they’ll listen to your story and tell you how they can handle your case so that you can focus on recovering.
After that, your attorney will get to work to prove that you were the victim of someone else’s negligence. To do that, they will:
- Gather evidence
- Calculate your damages
- Negotiate with the other party, their lawyer, and the insurance company
- Fight for you in court, if necessary
It’s not likely that your case will go to trial at all. In most cases, the two parties come to an agreement and settle outside of court. However, in some rare cases, negotiations fall through and your claim will go in front of a judge. Rest assured that if that happens, our team will be there to fight for your well-deserved compensation.
Georgia Boating Laws
Boaters must follow certain “rules of the road” like other vehicles in Georgia. One of the most important ones is the 100-foot law.
According to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) § 52-7-18, no one can “operate any vessel or tow a person or persons on water skis, an aquaplane, a surfboard, or any similar device on the water” in Georgia at higher than idle speed and within 100 feet of:
- A vessel that is moored, anchored, or adrift outside normal traffic channels
- A wharf, dock, pier, peeling, bridge structure, or abutment
- The person in the water or
- A shoreline adjacent to a full-time or part-time residence, public park, public beach, public swimming area, marina, restaurant, or another public use area
All boats must follow the 100-foot law and slow down to idle speed when within 100 feet of anything mentioned above. Those operating boats must also:
- Pass on the right side when coming upon another vessel
- Stay as far right as possible on narrow streams and rivers
- Drive carefully when overtaking or passing other boats and going around curves or bends and
- Yield to sailboats if operating a powerboat
Boat operators also cannot drive a boat with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher, the same as with other drivers.
If the other party in your accident was not following Georgia boating laws, it’s very likely that they are liable for your damages. Your attorney will investigate your case and gather any evidence they can to show that you were a victim of a negligent boater.
Get Help Building Your Boating Accident Case
To win your case, you will need to gather evidence to show that the other party was negligent in your boating accident and injuries. A boat accident lawyer in Sandy Springs will be familiar with local boating laws and know how they apply to your case. They can also help you build a strong case to demonstrate what happened.
Evidence in your boating accident case can include:
- Pictures of the scene of the accident
- Witness statements
- Expert testimony
- Criminal records
- Medical documents
Common Causes of Boating Accidents
The most common cause of death in boat accidents in the United States is drawing. Victims can also suffer paralysis and other catastrophic injuries because of a boat accident. These incidents are serious, and there are many situations that may contribute to them, the top ones being:
- Drinking while operating a boat
- Inexperience operating the boat
- Excessive speed
- Not looking out properly
- Inattention while operating the boat and
- Machinery failures
Alcohol can be a huge problem when it comes to boat accidents. Many people take their boats out on the water to have a good time with friends or family. However, it’s the duty of the person driving the boat to not operate it while under the influence of alcohol. Doing so is incredibly negligent.
Crucial Steps to Take After a Boat Accident in Sandy Springs
The steps to follow after a boat accident are much the same as those we recommend after any type of accident:
- Call 911 to report the accident to the police so that a police report is created.
- Take pictures of the boats involved in the accident, the entire scene, boat damage, and injuries.
- Talk to any witnesses and get their names and phone numbers.
- Get medical attention as soon as possible.
- Speak with an experienced Sandy Springs boat accident attorney as soon as you can.
Just like with any personal injury case, you will likely have to deal with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Insurance companies can make the claims process very difficult, as they often try to offer you a lowball settlement or find other ways to reduce what they have to pay you.
This is why it’s best to work with a boat accident lawyer right away, as they will be able to handle the insurance company for you.
Be very careful to never accept the first settlement, agree to give recorded statements, or sign anything when speaking with the insurance adjuster. Talk to a lawyer first. Insurance companies are not on your side, but your boat accident lawyer will be your biggest advocate during this time.
How Much Does a Boat Accident Lawyer Cost?
Because every boat accident case is different, there is no one-size-fits-all fee for your claim. There are many factors that could affect your boat accident lawyer’s fee, including the difficulty of your case and the extent of your damages.
However, no matter the circumstances of your accident, you can rest easy knowing that we take nothing upfront. Our team works on a contingency fee basis, which means we don’t get paid unless you win your case. When you hire one of our lawyers, they will come to an agreement with you on how much of your compensation will go towards their fees.
Between our contingency fee policy and your free initial consultation, there’s no risk in hiring one of our Sandy Springs boat accident attorneys.
You May Be Entitled to Full Compensation
If you did not cause your boat accident, you should not have to pay for any of the costs. The goal is to get you full recovery for the damages you have experienced because of the accident. Those can include all your medical costs, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering you have experienced.
If you lost a loved one in a fatal boat accident in Sandy Springs, you might also be able to bring a wrongful death case to seek compensation. Talk to your lawyer about the details.
Speak With a Sandy Springs Boat Accident Lawyer for Free Today
Many boat accident victims are worried about the money side of hiring a lawyer. Thankfully, the Sandy Springs boat accident lawyers at John Foy & Associates make it easy and risk-free for you. Don’t hesitate to take the first step towards moving past your accident.
We’re also ready to give you a FREE consultation to review your case and talk about how we can help. Call us today at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get started with your FREE consultation.
404-400-4000 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form