Were You Injured in a Boating Accident Over the Fourth of July Weekend?
The fourth of July is one of the busiest boating weekends of the year. Each year, there are dozens of serious accidents across the United States, and there are far more minor accidents that go unreported. If you were injured in a boating accident over the fourth of July weekend, you have clear legal rights, but you will need to be careful to make sure you can recover the financial compensation you deserve.
5 Key Facts about fourth of July Weekend Boating Accidents
Here is an overview of what you need to know after a boating accident over the fourth of July weekend:
1. There Are Steps You Need to Take to Protect Your Legal Rights
Boaters, passengers, and others injured in boating accidents over the fourth of July weekend will be entitled to financial compensation in many cases. But, if you have a claim for compensation, there are steps you need to take to protect your legal rights. With this in mind, as soon as possible, you should:
- Seek medical treatment for your injuries (if you haven’t already)
- Be sure to keep any relevant photos and other information you have from the accident
- Report the accident to the U.S. Coast Guard or appropriate state authorities (this is required by law in many cases, and it creates an official record of the accident)
- Review your boater’s insurance policy (if you have one) to determine if you have applicable coverage
- Contact a lawyer who handles boating accidents to help you avoid mistakes that could jeopardize your financial recovery
2. Multiple Parties Could Be Liable for Your Injuries
Many boating accidents, including most boating accidents over the fourth of July weekend, result from boat captain or operator negligence. Boating under the influence (BUI) is a major issue during summer holidays like the fourth of July, and many boaters are not equipped to handle the increased traffic (and rough water conditions that comes with it) during holiday weekends. So, if you were injured in a boating accident during the fourth of July weekend, there is a good chance that a negligent boater is liable.
But, there are other possibilities as well. If you were involved in a collision with another vessel, was the operator borrowing someone else’s boat? Was the other vessel a rental or club boat? Did an issue with your boat (or the other captain’s boat) cause the accident? Was a drunk or unruly passenger to blame? These are all common issues in boating accident cases as well; and, if one or more of these factors played a role in your accident, multiple parties could be liable for your accident-related losses.
3. Most Boat Accident Cases Involve Insurance Claims
Most likely, if you have a claim for compensation based on a boating accident that occurred during the fourth of July weekend, recovering your losses will involve dealing with an insurance company. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, this could mean dealing with the at-fault boater’s insurance company (if the at-fault boater has liability insurance), dealing with your own insurance company (if you have coverage for accidents involving uninsured boaters), or dealing with a rental company’s or boat club’s liability insurer. There are other possibilities as well. It is also possible that you will need to file multiple insurance claims to fully recover your losses; and, if this is the case, you will need to work closely with an experienced attorney to ensure that you make informed decisions about how (and when) to resolve each individual claim.
While boat owners can typically deal with their own insurance companies directly for property damage claims, maritime injury claims are a different story. There are additional challenges (and risks) involved, and the process is not nearly as straightforward. As a result, if you have an injury claim, it is strongly in your best interests to hire a lawyer who can represent you every step of the way.
4. You Need to Accurately Calculate the Costs of Your Fourth of July Weekend Boating Accident
One of the biggest challenges involved with successfully pursuing a maritime injury claim is calculating the costs of your injuries. If you were seriously injured in a fourth of July weekend boating accident, you could be facing substantial medical bills and long-term loss of income. To recover the full compensation you deserve, you need to have a clear understanding of not only how much your injuries have cost you to date, but also how much they will cost you in the future.
Recreational boaters and boat passengers injured in accidents on the water are entitled to just compensation for their non-financial losses as well. This includes losses such as pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and loss of enjoyment of life (i.e. if you won’t be able to get back out on the water). The insurance companies won’t cover these losses voluntarily, and it is up to you to convince the insurance companies that you have suffered compensable non-financial losses under the applicable maritime laws.
5. The Insurance Companies Aren’t Going to Settle Without a Fight
Regardless of what losses you have suffered (and will suffer in the future), the insurance companies aren’t going to settle without a fight. Not only do they see an influx of claims over the fourth of July weekend, but they also generally deploy strategies designed to ensure that injured boaters and passengers receive as little as possible. To assert your right to just compensation effectively, you need to make smart decisions, and you need to rely on the advice and representation of an experienced lawyer. Unfortunately, if you don’t, you stand virtually no chance of recovering the full compensation you deserve.
Discuss Your Fourth of July Boating Accident Claim with an Experienced Lawyer
Were you injured in a boating accident over the fourth of July weekend? If so, we strongly encourage you to contact us for more information. To discuss your legal rights with an experienced lawyer in confidence, call Brais Law Firm at 800-499-0551 or request a free consultation online today.