Getting out on the boat to enjoy Creve Coeur lake or another local waterway is supposed to be a relaxing activity. Unfortunately, negligent boaters can turn a pleasant day into an ordeal that may have enduring repercussions.

If you have been involved in a boating accident and believe that someone else’s negligence contributed to the mishap, a skilled local attorney could determine if you are entitled to compensation. Contact a Maryland Heights boat accident lawyer for advice about asserting a claim for monetary damages.

Common Injuries in Boating Wrecks

The injuries people suffer in watercraft accidents can be severe. Many boats that sail local waterways are small and do not have a completely enclosed cabin that might offer some protection. Additionally, decks are slippery and could cause a person to fall, unsecured equipment or belongings might crash into a boater, or someone could fall overboard. Powerboats have internal combustion engines that could catch fire or explode.

If a boat is on the water when an accident occurs, help is often not available immediately. As a result, these wrecks can quickly become deadly. The most common injuries resulting from a watercraft crash include:

  • Drownings and near-drownings
  • Shrapnel injuries
  • Fractures
  • Amputations
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Burns
  • Crushing injuries

Any of these injuries could require months of recovery time and significant financial outlay. Some boat accident injuries are catastrophic and lifelong, affecting the economic security of the injured person and their family and diminishing their quality of life. Fortunately, experienced lawyers in the area could help people injured in an accident caused by a negligent boater seek financial restitution for their harm.

Who is Negligent in a Watercraft Accident?

Human error is a frequent cause of boat accidents. Many local boaters are relatively inexperienced, using their watercrafts only on the weekends for a few months of the year.  They might lack the knowledge to keep their vessel in top condition, or the skills to avoid accidents.

Other times, boaters can be reckless. Taking a boat out in weather conditions the vessel cannot handle, exceeding speed limits, failing to have proper safety equipment, and ignoring navigation rules are all, unfortunately, common occurrences. Operator intoxication is also a frequent cause of watercraft collisions.

An injured person seeking damages must show that someone else’s negligence contributed to the accident. Negligence is a failure to act with the care that a reasonably prudent person would take in similar circumstances.

In addition to the owner or operator of the watercraft, other passengers, equipment manufacturers, and the boat maintenance contractor could all have potential liability to pay damages to the injured person. A well-practiced attorney could help a Maryland Heights boater identify the negligent party in the accident and hold them financial liable.

What to Do After a Boat Crash

The scene of a boat wreck can be chaotic, but safety must be the priority. Ensure that everyone is accounted for, render first aid if it can be done safely, and call the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) for assistance if someone is missing, there are serious injuries, or the boat is not seaworthy. The Highway Patrol has a water patrol division responsible for law enforcement and emergency response on local waterways. If MSHP assistance is not required immediately, Missouri Statute §306.140 requires involved operators to report the accident to the water patrol within five days.

Get the contact information of any witnesses or other involved parties. Take pictures of the accident scene and any damage to the vessel, if possible. Such photos could help an attorney reconstruct the wreck and provide clues about what happened and why.

Anyone involved in a boating accident should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Some injuries may only become apparent over time. A record of seeking medical assistance immediately after an accident could be important evidence that counters any assertion by a negligent party that injuries were sustained somewhere other than in the wreck.

Work with a Knowledgeable Maryland Heights Boat Accident Attorney

Strong but compassionate representation is critical to the success of your civil claim. Working with someone who knows the laws specific to boating wrecks is important, and so is working with someone who knows how to stand up to defendants and their insurance companies.

If you have been in an accident on the water, contact a Maryland Heights boating accident lawyer for a consultation to determine whether pursuing damages is the right decision in your case. Call today.