Arizona Boat Accident Injury Lawyer
Personal Injury Claims After a Boat Accident In Arizona
The weather is getting the warmer, and the pandemic isn’t going anywhere. With indoor activities discouraged for the time being, many Arizona residents will likely flee to our local lakes and rivers in the coming months. This may also mean an increase in injuries due to boating accidents. Here is some information you should know if you are injured in a boating accident in Arizona.
Examples Of Boating Accidents in Arizona
There are far more situations in which someone could be injured while boating other than two boats colliding with each other. Your boat may hit a particularly strong wave, or be damaged in another boat’s wake. Your boat may also hit rocks, debris, or other submerged objects that could cause significant damage. Someone may also be injured when struck by the boat, while on the boat, or while off the boat if the boat doesn’t have proper safety equipment.
Standard Of Negligence
When someone is injured in a Glendale accident, the court will generally award damages if the injuries are proximately caused by another party’s intentional actions or general negligence. There are boating laws in Arizona, and one party can be found liable for the accident if they weren’t following these laws. However, laws aren’t always broken in accidents that cause injuries. If the operator of a boat fails to keep it safe for its passengers, the standard of negligence may be met so the injured can be compensated for their damages.
Generally, a boat driver is responsible for identifying wakes and other potential dangers and avoiding them. Some of the factors that determine whether a boat driver was negligent in avoiding wakes are the size and visibility of the wake, the type of boat, traffic in the surrounding area, the speed at which the boat was traveling, and if passengers were warned about the wake. The operator of another boat could be held liable for damages from a wake accident if they were negligent- in a no wake zone, driving too quickly through a crowded area, etc. However, if the damages are caused by a wave, there is no other driver to whom the damages can be assigned.
Standard Safety Equipment For Boaters
A driver of a boat can also be held liable for injuries if proper safety equipment isn’t on board. Life jackets, while often discarded due to their bulkiness and appearance, should be available for all passengers. Life rings can be thrown to someone off the boat who is struggling to swim. While a boat is probably the last place you’re worried about a fire, a fire extinguisher should be kept on board in case of emergencies. Flares, lights, whistles, and other signals can be used to show our location if you need help. While not having this equipment may not cause the accident in the first place, the lack of this equipment could make the injuries worse. Additionally, there may be state laws applicable to the situation requiring safety equipment. These laws can create liability for a boat driver who otherwise wasn’t negligent in causing the accident.
Potential Damages Resulting From a Boating Accident
The damages you may be entitled to after a boating injury are similar to other personal injury claims, and include:
- Medical bills
- Future medical costs
- Missed wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages (rare)
Keep in mind that you only have one chance to pursue a personal injury claim. You will need to file your case within the relevant statute of limitations, and you may be in dire need of the finances from a settlement. The amount you demand from the defendant must account for damages you will continue to incur in the future due to the accident, like continuing medical treatment from a permanent condition. You can’t demand punitive damages in a settlement- these can only be awarded at trial.
Will Insurance Cover The Damages?
In general, a motor vehicle insurance policy won’t cover the driver while operating a boat. However, the driver of the boat may have a homeowner’s insurance policy that extends to their boat. The boat owner may have a separate policy for the boat itself. However, many people boating on Arizona’s lakes and rivers aren’t the actual owners of their respective boats. Rental companies typically require some type of insurance policy before lending out their boats. If the other driver has somehow skirted this requirement and can’t pay the judgment, the rental company may be named as a defendant and held liable for damages.
Once you have identified the insurance company as the responsible party, you will send a demand letter. This demand letter will contain a description of your injuries, and an explanation of the amounts you are requesting in your personal injury claim. The insurance company may not accept your initial demand. They will probably counter with a number that is a fraction of your original demand. The insurance company may deny the claim altogether. It will be your job, unless you hire an attorney, to negotiate with the insurance company to reach a settlement. If you are unable to reach settlement, you will need to file a lawsuit before the applicable statute of limitations expires. This is how the trial process begins, a phase that 95% of cases never reach. You should consult with a Gilbert personal injury attorney before accepting a settlement agreement, or filing a lawsuit against any part after a boating accident.
Have You Been Injured In a Boating Accident In Arizona?
If you’ve been injured in a boating accident, you may have a personal injury claim. Our injury attorneys will help you review the facts and evidence surrounding your injury to determine who is at fault, and calculate your total damages. When you retain our personal injury lawyers to represent you in your boating accident claim, we will draft and send your demand letter, and handle all communications with the other party’s insurance company. Our dedicated Arizona Injury staff and attorneys will use their knowledge and experience to render you the highest possible award, whether through settlement or trial.