Boating and water sport activities are both adrenaline pumping and fraught with unique dangers. There is always the risk of drowning. When a water related accident occurs, a thorough investigation and evaluation of its cause(s) by an experienced legal team is always the best way to proceed. Complex legal and safety issues may be involved. Like other types of accident cases, no one formula can be applied but legal and factual issues should be thoroughly considered, investigated and resolved.
Legal claims involving water accidents can involve complex legal and technical issues. The following are a few important legal, factual and evidentiary matters that should be considered when evaluating a claim.
- What was the specific activity being performed?
- When and where was it being performed?
- What were the circumstances of the accident?
- Was it age appropriate for the person involved?
- Was the activity properly supervised?
- Was the activity private in nature or was it business related?
- Was the activity part of a commercial rental business?
- Were operator’s trained in lifesaving techniques, such as CPR?
- Was safety equipment available?
- Was there an ability to immediately notify medical personnel in the event of injury?
- Was there any special equipment being used?
- Was the equipment in disrepair or properly maintained or otherwise unsafe or defective?
- Was the equipment subject to any recalls?
- Did the injured participant sign a waiver or release of liability before engaging in the activity?
- Were they competent to do so?
- How long did the injured party wait before pursuing their claim?
- Are there any peculiar legal requirements for the jurisdictions where the accident occurred?
- Were there any witnesses to the accident?
- Were any photographs or videos taken of the accident?
- Was the accident investigated by government authorities?
An injury that occurs on or with a boat is considered a boating accident. A boating accident can occur on someone’s privately owned boat, a cruise ship, a personal watercraft (Jet Ski), or a ferry. It is a general rule of the law that the operator of a boat and its owner have a duty to exercise the highest degree of care in order to prevent injuries to others. The most common boating accidents are collisions with other boats, slip and falls on the boat, sinking and boat disappearance. Boating injuries usually occur because of a reckless or careless operator, boat malfunctions or an inexperienced operator. The Law Offices of Nadrich & Cohen have handled numerous lawsuits against the owners and operators of private boats, personal watercrafts and cruise ships.