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Can A Boater Be Held Accountable For Passengers Falling Overboard?

On Behalf of | Aug 15, 2022 | Firm News

You probably know that you can claim compensation if someone injures you in a car crash. You might also know you can file a wrongful death claim if another driver kills one of your family in a vehicle collision. But what about if the problem occurs on a boat?

Yes, you can claim in certain circumstances

If you want to seek compensation after you or a loved one fell overboard, you need to show the person you are trying to hold responsible was negligent. While it is not always easy, statistics are on your side.

Each year the U.S. Coastguard releases a list of statistics that look at why boating accidents occur. Year after year, they find that human error is the main cause. Let’s break that down for 2020:

There were 152 boating accidents in Missouri, of which 13 were fatal, with 14 people dying. Here are the top five causes:

  • Operator inattention
  • Operator inexperience
  • Improper lookout
  • Excessive speed
  • Machinery failure
  • Navigation rules violation
  • Alcohol use

Any of those things could cause someone to fall overboard. For instance, if the boat operator is not paying attention, they could hit a rock, flinging you over the side. If they are inexperienced or traveling too fast, they could turn too sharply, causing you to fall.

Even a mechanical failure could send people overboard if it causes the boat to stop suddenly, or to lose power and hit something at a vital moment.

You might need to claim against the person operating your boat or perhaps another that crashed into you. You might even need to claim against someone who was not there. For instance, a boat yard that rented out an unsafe or poorly equipped vessel.

If you believe that someone’s negligence led to your injury or a family member’s death in a boating accident, seek legal help to understand the steps you need to take to hold them accountable.