Detroit Boating Accident Lawyer
Boating and fishing are popular pastimes in the United States, and for many of its citizens, it’s how they make a living. Hundreds of thousands of Americans take to the waterways every day. While tragically, some don’t make it back, others get injured or wreck their vessels. As a result, the dockets of civil courts across the nation are filled with personal injury and property damage cases originating in recreational or commercial boating accidents.
4064 recreational boating accidents occurred in the United States during 2014, which resulted in 610 deaths and 2678 injuries. The total damages from these accidents exceeded $30 million. In Michigan, there were 97 reported accidents, causing 19 fatalities. According to the US Coast Guard, the top contributing factors to these accidents were:
- Operator inattention
- Improper lookout
- Operator inexperience
- Excessive speed
- Alcohol use (for deadly accidents, however, this is the primary factor)
Who Does the Law Hold Responsible in a Boating Accident?
Just like road accidents, liability in boating incidents is determined according to the law of negligence. If you get injured in a boating accident, you can only recover for your property damage and medical expenses if someone else was negligent. A court may find a person negligent if:
- He or she fails to operate a boat in a way that a reasonable person would under similar circumstances
- As a result of this person’s carelessness, you get injured or have your property damaged
For example, if a boat operator fails to adjust his or her speed in poor visibility conditions and runs into your boat as a result, a court may find that boat operator negligent. In this case, that boat operator would need to reimburse you for your injuries and property damage.
In many cases, an accident is caused by the negligence of two or more boats. Michigan has adopted the law of comparative negligence, under which damages are awarded in proportion to each party’s fault–although no one who is more than 50% responsible for an accident may recover. For example, if a court or insurance adjuster concludes that you were 40% responsible for the accident, you may be awarded 60% of your total damages.
A court may also find a person liable to pay for the damages of a boating accident if he or she acted recklessly. Also called “gross negligence” in Michigan, recklessness involves acting with intentional disregard for the safety of others, or deliberately doing something that is likely to result in injury or death. For example, if a boat operator was drunkenly racing a friend to another edge of the lake and hits you, a court may find that person to have been acting with gross negligence. This means that you might receive punitive damages in addition to compensation for your losses.
What Role Does Insurance Play in Boating Accidents?
If the boat operator who caused the accident has liability insurance, the case will likely not go to court. If you’re the injured party, you would file a claim with the boat operator’s insurance company instead of suing. But you may still need a lawyer. Insurance companies have their eye on their bottom line, not on making the lives of injured people any easier. Filing insurance claims can be complicated, and dealing with claims adjusters can be frustrating–especially if you’re still recovering from your injuries.
A Michigan boating accident attorney can help you document all of the expenses you incurred to make sure that you get compensated for all of your losses. You losses may include:
- Hospital bills
- Rehab expenses
- Cost of medical equipment
- Compensation for lost wages if you missed work
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and trauma
- Your family’s losses if you can no longer provide them with financial and affective support
- The cost of repairing or replacing the boat or equipment that was damaged or destroyed in the accident
The responsible party’s insurance company may not be willing or able to compensate you for all of your losses. Or they may try to pressure you into accepting a low ball settlement. This is when your Michigan personal injury lawyer can step in and make sure you get the compensation you deserve. When negotiating with the insurance company doesn’t work, it may be necessary to sue the negligent boat operator directly.
How Can Davis Law Group Help?
At Davis Law Group, we are driven by our passion for achieving justice for our clients. If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident, we can help. And if your vessel was damaged or destroyed, we can assist you in getting it repaired or replaced. Our personal injury lawyers can assist you with accidents that occurred on any of Michigan’s waterways or lakes, including:
- Lake Michigan
- Lake Huron
- Lake Erie
- Lake St. Clair
- Green Lake
- Sylvan Lake
- Union Lake
- Middle Straits Lake
- Long Lake
- Orchard Lake
- Lower Straits Lake
- Cass Lake
- Pine Lake
Our goal isn’t just to get you the compensation you deserve after a boating accident–we also want to lessen the burden of the insurance claim or civil suit process. That way, you can focus on getting back on your feet after a traumatic accident. For more information, contact an experienced Detroit boating accident lawyer with Davis Law Group at today for a free consultation.
Hurt In a Boating Accident? Our Detroit Boating Accident Lawyers Can Help.
If you have been hurt or if you’re suffering financial consequences that are not your fault, you might be wondering what your options are. Call today or fill out the form below. We are available to help you.