Who’s at Fault in a Boating Accident?

Fault in a boating accident

Every year, thousands get out to the lake or river to have fun in a boat.

In fact, boating is one of the most popular recreational water activities during the summer.

Whether you have your own, you’re renting, or you’re a passenger on someone else’s boat, it’s a great way to relax to over the hot summer months.

However, a fun day on the water can turn to tragedy in the blink of an eye.

When you’re hurt in a boating accident, you may wonder who is actually at fault. The answer depends on a few factors and could be anyone from the driver to the rental company to the manufacturer of that boat and others.

Types of Boating Accidents 

To find out who’s at fault in a boating accident, we have to take a look at the accident itself and see what or who caused it. There are a few different types of boating accidents which can help determine who is at fault in the accident.

Negligent Boating Accidents

  • Running the boat aground
  • Running into another boat or vessel through careless navigation
  • Going out on the water in predicted bad weather
  • Not having proper safety equipment on the boat

Negligent boating accidents are the result of careless behavior and could be the fault of the driver of the boat or of the rental company if there is a lack of proper safety equipment on board.

Reckless Boating Accidents

  • Hitting a wave at a high rate of speed
  • Purposefully running into another boat
  • Taking avoidable risks that end up capsizing the boat or leading to a collision

Sometimes, a boating accident is not the result of carelessness but of reckless behavior.

Boating While Intoxicated

It’s illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. An impaired motorist is more likely to be negligent or reckless, and boating under the influence is an especially egregious crime.

Manufacturer Defects

In these accidents, the boat itself or life jacket may be faulty and cause the accident or injury. The manufacturer may be at fault for a defective product.

You may come across other types of accidents, but these four types cover the most common boating accidents.

Who is at fault in a boating accident?

Negligent boating accidents are the result of careless behavior and could be the fault of the driver of the boat or of the rental company if there is a lack of proper safety equipment on board.

Sometimes, a boating accident is not the result of carelessness but of reckless behavior. A driver can also be intoxicated. In these cases, it’s usually the driver at fault in an accident.

Lastly, the manufacturer may be at fault for defective products that caused an accident or injury.

What to Do After a Boating Accident?

If you are in a boating accident, there are a few important steps that you should take:

  • See if anyone needs medical attention and call the proper authorities.
  • Move out of harm’s way. This is especially important for boaters who are thrown from their vessel.
  • Account for everyone on your boat and help ejected passengers get back on board.
  • Move the boat to safety and ensure it isn’t blocking the safe passage of other boats.
  • Notify the Coast Guard, who can gather information from the scene, prepare a boating accident report, tow your boat to safety, and provide emergency medical care.

Were You In A Boating Accident?

If you or a loved one was in a boating accident, it’s time to call VanDerGinst Law.

Our team of experienced attorneys will help you gather the information you need to make a claim with your insurance company or negligent party or to file a lawsuit if necessary.

The insurance company has a team of lawyers on their side – why shouldn’t you?

You can contact us at 800-797-5391 or on our website at vlaw.com.