The lakes in and around Phoenix offer residents a great opportunity to spend time on the water. While boating can be a relaxing activity, dangerous accidents on the water can leave boaters with severe injuries.

If you or a loved one were recently injured in a watercraft incident, contact a Phoenix boat accident lawyer as soon as possible. A skilled personal injury attorney with extensive knowledge of state boating laws could review your case and help you fight for financial compensation.

Boating Safety Equipment Requirements in Phoenix

Individuals boating in state waters must operate their watercraft in accordance with the law. According to Arizona Revised Statutes § 5-331, all watercrafts except sailboards must have U.S. Coast Guard-approved floatation devices onboard. Children under 12 are required to wear proper-fitting floatation devices whenever the watercraft is in operation, and all safety equipment onboard must be usable.

Any boat carrying fuel must also have fire extinguishers. Though these safety regulations are meant to prevent accidents, boating incidents still occur. An injury lawyer could represent boaters if safety measures failed to stop an accident.

Common Causes of Watercraft Accidents

MMDAF awards_logo1Boating accidents cause numerous injuries and fatalities every year. Most accidents are avoidable and occur due to the negligence of a watercraft operator. Some of the most common causes of boating accidents include:

  • Inexperience
  • Speeding
  • Overloading the boat
  • Lack of adequate safety equipment
  • Operating the vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Turbulent water
  • Bad weather
  • Excessive water traffic

Other situations that often result in boat wrecks include equipment failure and restricted vision. A lawyer who regularly handles watercraft accident cases could analyze the details of a cause to determine who is liable.

Steps to Take After a Boating Incident

AzTLA awards_logo4The moments immediately after an accident are chaotic, but especially so when it occurs on the water. Help might not be available immediately, so boaters often must handle the initial consequences alone.

The first action of anyone involved in a mishap on the water should be to conduct a headcount to make sure no one fell overboard. If someone is missing, boaters should attempt a rescue if it is safe to do so. They should also be sure to tend to any injured people and make sure that authorities are notified. The Arizona Fish and Game Department requires boaters to report incidents that cause injuries or property damage to them within five days.

Injuries could seem minor at first, or people may believe they suffered no injuries. Even so, everyone involved should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Injuries might not become apparent for some time after the incident, but immediately seeking medical attention could be evidence that the plaintiff’s injury is related to the accident.

Take Steps to Preserve Evidence If Possible

Boating mishaps often occur away from shore, and law enforcement officers might not arrive immediately or might not come to the scene at all. Thus, it is important for people involved in a waterborne accident to secure any evidence immediately.

Take the names and contact information of anyone who was present or witnessed the incident. Take pictures, if possible. Make notes about what happened soon after the incident while memories remain fresh. A savvy accident attorney could use this information to determine whose negligence might have contributed to an accident.

Negligence and State Watercraft Operation Regulations

ASLA awards_logo3The state closely regulates watercraft operations in an effort to keep its boaters safe. The state prohibits certain activities such as sitting on the bow of a watercraft in a way that obstructs the boat operator’s view, speeding, and dumping waste.

The laws also expand on activities such as water skiing. Under A.R.S. § 5-346, there must be at least two people on any boat towing a water skier—an operator and an observer.

Individuals who fail to abide by state laws, causing an accident, are considered negligent and can be held liable for damages in a civil suit. With the help of a boat accident attorney, plaintiffs could recover compensation from the negligent party for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional anguish, and disfigurement. If the watercraft incident is fatal, the families of the deceased can file wrongful death lawsuits for damages such as funeral expenses and loss of companionship.

Discuss Your Boating Accident Case with an Attorney Today

Doug Zanes

Doug Zanes, Phoenix Boat Accident Lawyer

If you suffered injuries during a day of water recreation, contact a Phoenix boat accident lawyer. It is crucial that you and your family review your legal options.

You might be entitled to compensation for your losses. Contact our law firm today to speak with one of our compassionate injury attorneys.

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