A boating accident is an extremely harrowing experience, even if it is a small accident. It can be difficult to know what to do once the accident has occurred. However, if you own a boat or are even just going on a boat, knowing the steps to take after an accident can save someone’s life and a lot of legal stress. The laws in Nebraska do allow victims to pursue claims for monetary damage incurred during a boating accident.
Our Nebraska boating injury lawyer can help you pursue a legal claim and advise you on what to do to protect your legal rights. We offer a free personal injury case consultation.
What You Should Do After A Boating Accident
If you have been involved in a boating accident and the boat is still afloat, and everyone is aboard, the first thing to do is determine whether or not medical attention is needed. If someone has fallen overboard, you need to first focus on getting that person back on the boat. Once everyone is safe on the ship, you need to get the boat to safety. Move out of the way of oncoming vessels and then start with first-aid. Contact the Coast Guard and 911 immediately to let them know that an accident did occur so they can send someone over to help you.
If your boat is sinking, you want to climb on any floating debris and signal for help. In a perfect world, you are already wearing a lifejacket (some 70% of deaths in boating accidents are the result of drowning).
Often, accidents don’t occur to just one vessel. You want to ensure that everyone aboard the other vessels is safe. You should never leave the scene of the boating accident, even if everyone is safe. Sometimes, people may not realize they were injured during the crash. Adrenaline flows and people tend to work on autopilot. Contact law enforcement and seek medical attention even if you think it isn’t necessary.
Gathering Information About The Accident
Gathering information on the boating accident is similar to gathering information about a car accident. You will want to get several pieces of essential information:
- Names, addresses, and phone numbers of the person(s) operating the boat;
- Names, addresses, and phone numbers of the passengers of all boats;
- Names and contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident;
- Registration number of the boats involved;
- Insurance policy numbers and names for those involved
If possible, you want to take photos with your phone that show the damage to the boat and the location where the accident occurred. This information can be helpful at a later date. Do not edit the photos, use filters, or post the photos to social media.
Reporting the Boating Accident
As mentioned, you want to report the boating accident to the US Coast Guard and 911. In many cases, you are required by law to report the accident. Under federal law, it is required if the following happened:
- Someone was injured severely enough to need medical care;
- Someone is killed;
- There was a complete loss of the vessel;
- The vessel cannot get away from the scene of the accident;
- The damage to the boat exceeds $2,000;
- Someone disappeared into the water
When talking to the authorities, it is essential to stay calm and report accurate information. Be careful about volunteering extra information or speculation about the accident, as this can be used against you.
Making A Claim After The Boating Accident
After the boating accident, it is important to report to your insurance carrier, no matter who was to blame. If the driver of a boat was negligent, you may be able to take legal action for payment of medical bills, as well as compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress and wrongful death.
Matthew Miller, an Omaha boating accidents lawyer, has vast amounts of experience in boating accidents and personal injury cases and can help you to seek restitution for what happened to you. Call him today at (402) 558-4900 to get started.