Recreational boating is a popular activity. Many people enjoy taking advantage of the rivers, lakes, and ponds in Arizona. Generally, boaters return safely to shore after their time out on the water. However, a severe accident could cause devastating injuries or even death.

If you or a loved one were injured in a watercraft accident, the person responsible could be held liable for your damages. Consider asking an experienced accident attorney about your legal options. By hiring a Glendale boat accident lawyer, you could stand up to the at-fault parties with a personal injury lawsuit.

Typical Injuries in Watercraft Crashes

When a watercraft collides with another vessel or an obstruction, the injuries that passengers can suffer are similar to those a person might experience in a motor vehicle accident. Traumatic brain injuries, whiplash, spinal cord damage, cuts and abrasions, fractures, and amputations are common injuries resulting from boat collisions.

Other types of watercraft accidents might produce burns or injuries due to exposure to toxic or caustic substances. Hundreds of people die every year from injuries sustained in boating accidents. People who are injured in this manner may be eligible to recover compensation if another person caused the accident.

What Are the Most Common Types of Boating Accidents in Glendale?

There are many types of boating accidents in which passengers and operators can sustain injuries. A water vessel could collide with another boat or a fixed object, such as a dock. Additionally, passengers could fall overboard, or the vessel could sink. In either of those situations, an individual could drown or develop hypothermia.

Immediately after a boating incident, the cause of the event may be unclear. It is essential to work with a local attorney who could examine relevant evidence to identify the cause of the watercraft accident and determine who bears legal responsibility for the damages.

Compensatory Damages Make Watercraft Accident Victims Whole

Anyone who suffers harm in a boating mishap could collect compensatory damages from any negligent parties whose conduct contributed to the situation. Damages are monies paid to put the injured person to offset the emotional, physical, and financial costs of their suffering.

Economic damages cover items with a fixed price, such as medical expenses, incidental costs related to seeking treatment, lost wages, and projected future expenses related to the injury. A plaintiff needs to provide documentation to prove their economic damages.

Non-economic damages compensate for subjective losses like physical pain, mental anguish, disfigurement, disability, and other impacts of the injury that do not have a set monetary value. A savvy plaintiff’s attorney could present pharmacy records, testimony from medical professionals and family members, and other evidence that demonstrates how the plaintiff’s daily life has been affected by their injury.

Punitive Damages Could Be Available

In the rare case where someone acted intentionally to cause an injury or behaved with intentional disregard for the harm their conduct might cause others, it could be appropriate for a plaintiff to seek punitive damages. An injured person must specifically ask for punitive damages and must present clear and convincing evidence of the defendant’s intentionally reckless conduct.

In some mishaps involving watercrafts, punitive damages might be available, such as if a vessel operator was drugged or intoxicated when the accident occurred. Punitive damages have been awarded in drag racing cases and could be allowed in cases where recklessly speeding or racing boats caused a serious crash.

Punitive damages are meant primarily to punish the defendant for egregious conduct, rather than compensate a plaintiff for documentable losses. As a general rule punitive damages will not exceed four times the plaintiff’s total compensatory damages. A knowledgeable legal professional in Glendale could evaluate the evidence in a specific case to determine whether it supports a claim for punitive damages.

Acts of Negligence Related to Watercraft Wrecks

Most boating accidents in Glendale occur due to a mistake made by the operator. Those who use watercrafts primarily for recreational purposes often do not take as much caution as they should.

Inexperience operating a boat is one of the most common causes of accidents on the water. Many other boating mishaps are caused by errors such as:

  • Operating of the boat while distracted
  • Failing to watch for obstacles ahead of the boat
  • Drinking excessively or using drugs while operating the vessel
  • Speeding

A skilled lawyer could speak with witnesses and review relevant police, medical, and coast guard reports to determine if the operator acted negligently or recklessly in handling the boat.

Is the Boat Operator Always At Fault for an Accident?

The boat owner or operator is not always at fault for the accident. Other parties could be liable, depending on the cause of the wreck. For example, if a passenger took control of the boat without the operator’s consent, they could be responsible for any resulting accident.

There might be no clear negligent party if an unexpected storm or other weather event caused the accident. An experienced legal advocate could determine if anyone bears liability for the boat wreck, even if it seems as though no one is at fault. Once a lawyer has established negligence, the injured parties could recover damages to compensate them for their losses.

Plaintiff’s Negligence No Bar to Damages

In some cases, an injured person’s negligence was a contributing factor in the mishap. In some states, plaintiffs who are primarily responsible for an accident cannot collect damages, but Arizona allows all plaintiffs to seek damages, regardless of their degree of fault.

Arizona Statute §12-2505 permits any plaintiff to seek damages from any other negligent party. However, a court will reduce a negligent plaintiff’s damages by a percentage equal to their degree of fault for the incident.

Let a Glendale Boat Accident Attorney Help You

If you sustained an injury while on the water, you should seek legal help as soon as possible. These cases can differ from typical motor vehicle accidents you may have experienced.

Reach out to a Glendale boat accident lawyer today. At our firm, we have the experience necessary to successfully manage your case and guide you through the legal process. Make an appointment today to learn how a dedicated attorney could help you.

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