A boat/jet ski accident can come seemingly out of nowhere. One minute you’re enjoying the thrill; the next, you’re in the water with painful injuries. If you suffered injuries in a boat/jet ski accident, you have rights. You can protect those rights by doing the following at the scene.
Check on Everyone in the Accident
First, check yourself for injuries. Then, account for everyone else who was in the accident. If you or anyone else needs medical attention, call 911 immediately.
If someone has fallen overboard, you and others should help them get back into the vessel. If the boat is too damaged to ride in, try to get to dry land safely. If you’re far from the shore, climb onto floating debris, or look for life jackets.
According to recreational boating statistics, drowning made up 79% of known boating deaths in 2019. Make sure everyone who was with you on the boat/jet ski is above water. Provide what first aid you can to any injured passengers.
Get the strong arm
Move the Boat and Jet Ski Out of Harm’s Way
A damaged boat in the water can lead to more accidents. If you can, make sure the boat is away from other vessels in the water.
Report the Boat/Jet Ski Accident
According to the US Coast Guard, owners or operators of recreational boats must report an accident to their state’s reporting authority if:
- Some injuries need more than first aid
- Someone dies in the accident
- Someone has disappeared from the boat in a way that probably means injury or death
- There is at least $2,000 in property damage to property
- The accident destroyed the boat
In Georgia, the reporting authority is the Georgia Department of Natural Resources‘s Boating Database Administrator.
When to Report
An owner or operator must report the accident within 48 hours if one or more of the first three bullet points above are correct. Otherwise, the owner or operator must report the incident within ten days of a death happening.
Make sure the person who owns or drives the boat/jet ski reports the accident appropriately. Do not leave a boat accident scene before checking on everyone and making sure the accident will get reported.
Get Medical Attention
If you have severe injuries, call for medical attention at the scene. Do not ignore your medical needs.
If you feel okay at the scene, you should still see your doctor afterward. You could have injuries that have not shown up yet. Tell your doctor that you were in a boat accident.
Gather Information About the Accident
Get as much information as possible at the scene. You will need it if you’re going to seek financial compensation from the at-fault party. Gather information like:
- The boat operator’s name and contact information
- Passengers’ names and contact information
- Eyewitnesses’ names and contact information
- Registration numbers for all vessels involved in the accident
- Insurance company information for the owners or operators
Also, note the time, date, and location of the accident. If you have a phone on you, take pictures of the scene. Any evidence you can get now will help you later.
Call Your Insurance Company
If you owned a boat involved in the accident and have boating insurance, this can help you. You might be able to file a claim with your own insurance company. Call your insurer to notify them about the accident.
Contact a Boat/Jet Ski Accident Lawyer
After handling things at the scene, start thinking about legal help. It’s best to contact a boat/jet ski accident lawyer as soon as you can. Look for an attorney who has a lot of experience with watersport-related accidents.
Boat/jet ski accidents are different than other injury crashes. They tend to be more complicated. Plus, not everyone carries boating insurance. Without insurance, recovery can be difficult. Your lawyer should be well-versed in recreational boating cases.
How Can a Boat/Jet Ski Accident Lawyer Help You?
An experienced lawyer can make the process much easier for you. They will handle the investigation as soon as you hire them. While you focus on healing, your attorney will deal with the legal process.
If you file a claim with the boating insurance company, the insurer won’t make it straightforward. Insurance companies will look for ways to pay you less than you deserve. They might use tactics like:
- Getting you to say something they can use against you later
- Downplaying the severity of your injuries
- Offering you a lowball settlement upfront
- Making you feel like you don’t need help from a lawyer
An experienced attorney will know how to respond. They can handle all communication with the insurance company. If there is no insurance coverage for the accident, your lawyer will examine all possible options.
If you end up needing to sue the at-fault party, your lawyer will handle each step. The goal is to get you the fullest compensation possible for your accident costs.
Talk to a Boat/Jet Ski Accident Lawyer for Free Today
Did someone’s actions leave you injured at a boat/jet ski accident? You are not responsible for paying the damages. You might be entitled to full recovery for what you lost. If a loved one died in a boat/jet ski accident, you could have a wrongful death case.
John Foy & Associates has been helping injury victims for 20-plus years. We are well-versed in Georgia boating accidents, and we know what it takes to win. We can help you build a strong case and explore all options.
Contact us today for a FREE, no-risk consultation. Our attorneys do not collect a fee unless we win you compensation. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get started for FREE today.