New Jersey is a haven for boating activities with its many rivers and lakes and well as its close proximity to the ocean. Going out for a sightseeing tour or a fishing excursion can be a wonderful way to spend a day. Unfortunately, as with any vehicle, tragedy can strike and someone can end up suffering serious personal injury in a boating accident. Whether it was a mechanical malfunction, an inexperienced or reckless operator or a result of hazardous conditions, you want to seek out restitution for your pain and suffering. You’ll need a New Jersey boat accident lawyer like those at Gold, Albanese & Barletti who knows their way around the sometimes tricky cases that can result from incidents on the water.
What Constitutes a New Jersey Boating Accident?
A boating accident can involve any type of watercraft, from cruise liners or cargo ships to small personal watercrafts. The U.S. Coast Guard reported 4,291 boating accidents in 2017, which resulted in 658 fatalities and 2,629 non-fatal injuries. Of these accidents, 106 took place in New Jersey.
Types of Boating Accidents
Boating accidents cover a wide range of scenarios, but some of the more common situations include:
- Falling off a boat
- Collisions with other watercraft
- Collisions with fixed objects
- Injuries due to inclement weather or hazardous waters
- Flooding or swamping
- Stranding or grounding
- Engine or other machinery exploding or catching fire
- Accidents involving water skis
- Slip and fall on or near a boat
- Accidents involving propellers
These accidents can happen for a variety of reasons. Some of the biggest risk factors when boating are:
- Use of alcohol or drugs
- Excessive speeds
- Operator inexperience or distraction
- Mechanical failure
- Failure to follow boat rules and regulations
- Hazardous waters (such as strong waves or wakes)
- Dangerous weather conditions
In fatal boating accidents in 2016, alcohol misuse was the leading cause. The injuries that can result from are as varied as the situations that can lead to them, but the biggest danger is drowning, which makes up 3/4ths of all boating accident fatalities.
What to Do in the Event of a Boating Accident
The first thing to do in the event of a boating accident is to assess the situation. Figure out if the boat is in danger of sinking or capsizing. In the event that it is, work on getting everyone on board to safety. Contact someone for help, especially if there are people who are injured. Contact the U.S. Coast Guard if the boat has a radio, otherwise call 911 and provide the dispatch with your coordinates. Get medical assistance for any injured person as soon as possible, even if the injuries seem minor. Let medical professionals decide whether it warrants more serious care.
Proving Fault in a Boating Accident
Boating accidents represent a unique challenge compared to other vehicular accidents due to the fact that water can cause evidence related to the accident to deteriorate or disappear. This can make evidence gathering and accident reconstruction much more difficult. You need the help of experienced NJ boat accident lawyers that know how to secure maritime law enforcement and toxicology reports and get the right experts to help reconstruct the accident.
It is important to note that boat insurance works differently in New Jersey than auto insurance does. Boat insurance usually includes bodily injury liability coverage, which offers compensation to any person injured by the boat or as a result of an accident involving it. However, without any personal injury protection and the length of time it can take to settle a claim with the boat’s insurer, you could find yourself on the hook for medical expenses in the interim if you don’t have health insurance to help pay the costs. Boating accident lawyers can help you get access to the medical care you need until the claim comes through.
NJ Boat Accident Lawyers Are Here to Help
If you or a loved has been involved in a boating accident in New Jersey, the attorneys at The Law Offices of Gold, Albanese & Barletti are ready to assist you in getting the compensation you deserve for your injuries, pain and suffering. We have the experience to get you a favorable outcome from your case. We serve our New Jersey clients from our offices in Morristown, NJ.