A boating accident is not only a stressful and traumatizing experience, but it can also cause you significant injuries. It can be challenging to determine how you should protect yourself when you are involved in a crash on the water. If you sustained injuries or other damages during a boating accident, you could have the right to compensation. However, to try and attain compensation, you need to protect yourself by ensuring you have followed the correct process for finding an experienced attorney.

According to data released by Statistica, there were 2,559 boating injuries sustained by people involved in a boating accident in 2019 in the United States.

An Ohio lawyer could help you establish what you need to do after being involved in a boating accident as it is up to the victim to protect their legal rights. However, at The Henry Law Firm, we care about helping you protect your rights and can work alongside you to ensure your case has a higher likelihood of a successful outcome.

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Steps to Protect Yourself After a Boating Accident

Although Ohio is far away from the ocean, quite a few boating accidents occur here each year. It is surprising to learn how often registered boats frequent Ohio’s many lakes, creeks, and rivers. There are a few main reasons for boating accidents in America, such as:

  • Flooding
  • Collisions with other boats or fixed objects
  • Grounding
  • Passengers falling overboard

If you experience a boating accident, you need to take a few key steps to protect your rights. Should any of these steps be unclear or confusing, speaking with an attorney from our Ohio law firm will be beneficial. We can help you resolve your boating accident incident quickly and efficiently.

1. Establish if Anyone Involved Needs Medical Attention

A critical first step you need to take if you are involved in a boating accident (or any other traumatic event) is to assess if you or those involved are injured. Regardless of whether you believe yourself to have injuries, it’s crucial to seek prompt medical attention. Most don’t realize that they have sustained injuries in a boating accident, as many are not immediately apparent.

By seeking out a medical professional who can assess your injuries, you will be able to determine the true extent of the injuries you sustained during your boating accident. Early and consistent treatment gives you the best chance to make a fast recovery. Additionally, when you seek medical attention, you are automatically creating a record of your injuries. This record will be crucial if you need to seek compensation from an at-fault party if you believe someone else’s negligence led to your boating accident.

2. Stay at the Scene

After a boating accident, you should never abandon the scene. If you are hurt or not, you need to stay at the accident scene to be assessed by first responders and law enforcement. Remaining at the scene will protect you, ensure your injuries are treated, and eliminate any suspicion of fleeing the scene. If possible, have a report of the accident done by law enforcement or a first responder, and make sure all involved parties are identified in the report.

3. Get to a Safe Location

Getting the boat out of harm’s way and to a safer location without abandoning the scene is not always possible. However, one of your main priorities should be getting the boat away from immediate danger while ensuring that those on the vessel are safe.

Many boating accidents can result in the vessel sinking or catching fire, so you need to be vigilant and ensure the boat is in the safest position while you await assistance. You don’t want your actions to be construed as recklessness and negligence if you leave the boat in a dangerous area.

4. Obtain Evidence From the Boating Accident

As is the case with any accident, you need to gather information about the boating accident. The information you collect will likely count as valuable evidence when you need to file a claim against a negligent at-fault party for the injuries or damages you sustained. Some of the information you need to try and obtain for your lawyer includes:

  • Contact details of any witnesses who saw how the accident occurred.
  • The relevant contact information for the boating operators involved in the accident if you were not the sole operator.
  • The registration numbers and relevant identification numbers of all the boats involved in the accident.
  • Contact information of any passengers that were on board when the accident occurred.
  • The appropriate insurance company names and policy numbers from those involved in your boating accident.

5. Report the Boating Accident

Another crucial step you must complete when involved in a boating accident is to file a report of the incident. In most scenarios, it’s a legal requirement to report any involvement in a boating accident.

A report must be filed if death has occurred, damage to a vessel or property is above $500, or a person has disappeared. Additionally, an accident report must be filed when someone has been injured and needs more extensive medical care.

6. Seek Advice From a Lawyer

Once you have been through the accident proceedings, you should consider seeking counsel with an attorney. An attorney can establish if you have a legal claim and a right to compensation. In some instances, you could have a right to initiate a lawsuit against a boating operator or a negligent third party.

Additionally, contacting a lawyer will ensure your rights are protected and that an insurance company does not try to get you to accept an unfair settlement.

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Contact an Ohio Lawyer to Discuss Your Boating Accident Claim

Boating accidents can be challenging to navigate, which is why an Ohio accident lawyer can be of great assistance. Should you have been involved in an accident and have sustained damages and injuries, you need to consider speaking with a knowledgeable and experienced attorney.

We will know how best to proceed with your case and advise you on if your claim has the potential for a successful outcome. Additionally, we will protect you from future harm by ensuring you are not taken advantage of and attain the compensation you deserve. Contact our Ohio office today.