In Georgia, we are fortunate to have numerous lakes and rivers and a climate that allows us to enjoy our waterways for most of the year. But with having fun on the water comes a heightened risk of accidents. Boating accidents can result in severe injuries and in the worst of cases: wrongful death. Because many associate boating with recreational activity, it is common for boat drivers and passengers to have their guard down when it comes to safety.
When someone is injured in a boat accident, it can be a life-altering event. Medical bills pile up, and if the injured party is a primary breadwinner, being out of work can put a major financial strain on the entire household. The excruciating pain that usually accompanies a serious injury and the uncertainty about how long they will have to deal with the pain can also create a lot of stress and anxiety for victims and their loved ones.
Ross Moore II, P.C. understands what injury victims and their families go through, and he is passionate about fighting for just compensation on their behalf. Our firm can thoroughly investigate the causes of your or your loved one’s injuries and work to prove negligence. We fight not only for compensation that will take care of your present circumstances, but also for compensation that secures your future. Begin your free initial case evaluation with an experienced boating accident attorney in Atlanta today!
Boating accidents may be caused by a number of factors. Attorney Ross Moore will meticulously investigate the circumstances surrounding your accident to determine who may be held liable for your injuries.
In many cases, the operator of a boat may be held negligent for the following:
Hitting a large wave while speeding
Navigating in inclement weather
Contact with propellers
Operating at dangerous speeds
Failing to have proper safety equipment on board
Colliding with objects or other boats
Failing to know or follow boating rules
Overloading or overcrowding the vessel
In most cases, these causes of injury can be prevented by following proper safety procedures. Some ways watercraft operators commonly violate safety procedures include:
Reckless Driving: Boat operators often get caught up in all the fun and excitement that is happening by driving their boat recklessly. In fact, many people take chances while driving a boat that they would never even think of doing when behind the wheel of an automobile. Some of this is due to operator inexperience – many boat operators are young and/or do not have proper training. In other cases, operators may be more experienced, but they are just trying to have some “fun” while out on the water.
Distracted Driving: In today’s electronic age, distractions are a bigger problem for drivers than ever before. The same thing holds true on the waterways, and it is very tempting to send and receive texts, snap photos, take videos, or even watch videos while operating a boat. These types of distractions take the focus of the boat operator away from potential hazards that could lead to an accident.
Driving while Intoxicated: With many boat outings, alcohol consumption is one of the major activities. And when everyone else is drinking, it can be very tempting for a boat operator to have some drinks as well. Just like driving an automobile, operating a boat while intoxicated is not only illegal, it is extremely dangerous.
While operator negligence is the most common cause of boating accidents, there are some cases in which an accident is caused by a dangerous or defective boat, motor, or other piece of equipment. When this is the case, it may be possible to bring a product liability claim against the designer, manufacturer, distributor, or any other party in the product’s supply chain.
Pursuing a Boating Accident Injury Claim in Georgia
Those who are injured in boat accidents that are caused by another party have a right to compensation in the form of monetary damages. Compensatory damages can be broken down into two general categories:
Economic Damages: These are damages for direct monetary losses that the victim incurs. Examples of economic damages include hospitalization costs, costs for surgeries and other procedures, rehabilitation expenses, the cost of ongoing medical care (in the case of a permanent debilitating injury), lost wages, loss of earning capacity, property damage, and funeral and burial costs (in the case of a wrongful death).
Noneconomic Damages: These are damages for losses that are more intangible and difficult to quantify; such as physical pain-and-suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment, disfigurement, permanent injury, loss of consortium, and loss of comfort, guidance, care, and support.
In more limited cases in which the actions of the party responsible for the accident were willful, malicious, or grossly negligent, punitive damages may also be appropriate. Punitive damages are not paid as compensation, but as punishment for the wrongdoing that occurred and to help serve as a deterrent against similarly egregious actions in the future. Georgia caps punitive damages at $250,000 in most cases.
It is important to note that in Georgia, even if an injured party contributes to a boating accident, they may still be eligible for compensation under the state’s modified comparative negligence law. This law allows victims to recover damages as long as they are less than 50% at fault for the underlying accident. However, any damage award would be reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault they share in the accident.
For example, let’s say you were driving a boat and another boat collided with yours and it is determined that you contributed 25% to the accident. And let’s say you sustained a total of $300,000 in combined economic and noneconomic losses. In such a case, your damage award would be reduced by $75,000 down to a total of $225,000.
When there are significant monetary damages at stake, you can be sure that the party responsible for the boat accident will look for ways to minimize their losses by trying to pin some of the blame on you. For this reason, it is very important to get an experienced personal injury lawyer involved as soon as possible, so you are in the best possible position to recover maximum compensation.
CALL (404) 905-3146 FOR A FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION!
If you or your loved one has been injured in a boating accident in the Atlanta area, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a practiced boating accident attorney from our firm. Our firm can take care of the legal details so that you can focus on recovery. We will make sure that your needs are represented and that the insurance companies involved do not take advantage of you and attempt to undervalue the extent of your damages.